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John Matthias wins PRS New Music Award + announces other projects

The multi-talented John Matthias is finally getting the attention he deserves. Not content with just releasing the blinding "Stories From The Watercooler" album out on Counter Records on June 2nd, John Matthias has other exciting projects up his sleeve, such as his winning PRS New Music Award entry (the real mercury music prize?), "The Fragmented Orchestra" and the forward thinking classical of "Cortical Songs". John Matthias is a man people need to hear more about, is anyone combining music and science in such innovative ways?

As a member of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research at the University of Plymouth, he has developed a neurogranular sampler using spiking artificial neurons. The neurogranular sampler is an instrument which triggers a small fragment or grain of sound from a recorded sample when a neuron in a tiny artificial brain fires (check the rhythm on the track Evermore from the upcoming album). Using this device John has won this year’s "PRS New Music Award" for boundary pushing music for a pitch called "Fragmented Orchestra." It is the Turner Prize of art. He, Jane Grant and Nick Ryan have won £50,000 to place 24 samplers around the country and all the samples triggered will be played through speakers in the FACT gallery in Liverpool. It will be live from December 2008 -February 2009. In this version of the neurogranular sampler, the sounds recorded at the sites stimulate the neurons to fire and the instrument will learn and change according to its stimulation In addition, John Matthias and Nick Ryan will also be releasing their 'Cortical Songs' project and album on July 7th. The "Songs", based around a four movement work, are played by a 21 piece string orchestra, where each member ‘s parts are triggered by a alight in response to a computer’s promptings. The lights flash when a neuron in a 21 neuron brain network fires. The rhythms of the playing and the changing of notes therefore reflect the rhythms of the firing brain system. The album will consist of the four movements of the piece together with 11 remixes including remixes by friend and previous collaborator (Matthias played on The Bends) Thom Yorke, Simon Tong (The Verve, Gorrilaz, The Good, the Bad and the Queen) John Maclean (The Beta Band, Aliens) and Jem Finer (Sound artist and member of the Pogues). The remixers took all their material from the pieces plus a set of neural time patterns from the network. It will be released via the Nonclassical label.

So in short :
- The Fragmented Orchestra – The winning PRS New Music Award entry will be live between December 2008 -February 2009 at FACT gallery in Liverpool
- His 2nd solo album "Stories From The Watercooler" is out via Counter Records on 2nd June
- The Cortical Songs" project will be released on the 7th July via the Nonclassical label
- Catch the John Matthias band live at the Soho Revue Bar, London on Wednesday 28th May


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