Is He Deep then? The Art and Music of Adam Stewart.

This is the second post of late that dedicates itself to the work of others. The reason is that this year I have been sorting through my vast archive of work (various boxes and carrier bags stuffed with drawings and tapes in no particular order). In doing so, I also came across art by a few other people that I have worked with or that have influenced me over the years.

The work here is by my close friend Adam Stewart. We met in 1996 at Dartington College of Art. Like many friendships, it started while chatting about music over a few drinks in the student bar. Punk rock and Manic Street Preachers if I recall correctly. I knew he made his own music, but it was at least a year later before I heard any of it.

He had made a compilation called 'The Guts of Warrior' chronicling several years of adolescent creativity with his brother Max under the name Warrior resulting in nine albums between 91 and 95 (first album 'Stranded in Paris' completed 1992) Others included 'Umbrella Aisle' and 'Blood Drip' Recorded at home on a keyboard they won on the eighties kids TV show 'Wakaday' by writing a song about the show.'

The music is an open circuit of daft, varied and frequently brilliant ideas and a few good tunes too. 'Below Zero', 'The Governor' and 'Tales of a Cautious Court Composer' are just a few that spring to mind. The musicianship at this point was enthusiasm over ability, which perhaps is the reason why a portion of the material is made up of surreal comedy skits like 'You ain't Listening to Me Mr Peters' Humour is central to Adams work. Very English humour; something of 'The Goons' and a macabre, Gothic  baroque sensibility. Perhaps he would explain it better than I; but he never would, because he doesn't seem very interested in promoting his work. He makes it purely for his own pleasure it would seem and there is something to be said for that. He makes a lot of it too!

The Warrior project officially ended circa 1995; except that it never really did as Adam and his brother continued their boyhood playtime via Son of Warrior; the follow up band that has now also amassed a large back catalogue of obscurist rock. Adam has also worked in more straight ahead band formats with The Zouaves and The Waxworks, but his persistence of vision and commitment to his art shines through whatever he records and really these projects are a just a more well crafted , sophisticated take on what he begun with Warrior. He is now a top muso, but his songs are still formed by concepts and ideas in a self taught artist, come art school rebel sort of way.

He still uses a lot of synths on his albums; especially the Son of Warrior and solo Jake Delone albums (that's his stage name). Dozens of blasters have followed 'The Lost Negative' 'Somnambulance' and 'All that is Unknown' are just a few. They contain a treasure trove of well crafted rock/pop that recall some of the catchier post punk experimenters like The Soft Boys and The Swell Maps as well as a lot of influence from some band called The Beatles. I think I told him I hated the Beatles when we first met because it seemed like the correct punk stance to have (I didn't hate em really, who really does?)
You can buy and listen to some of his music here.....

Adam at one point used to do some great drawings. Below you can see a handful that were published in a series of comics we published circa 1999. Some of his pics are actually very funny, but I chose these as they work together. They are all on the darker end of the scale and have a haunting , disturbing quality. It was these and his music that drew me to this man who works, for the most part outside of public view. I admire his strength of character and his commitment to his craft. He doesn't seem to seek validation for his art from others. He knows he makes great art and indeed he does.

Adam and I have collaborated on various things over the years. Probably most notably on the Cogs 2008 album 'New Primitive' which I recorded with his guidance in a studio he was working in at the time. He produced it, played on most tracks and we co-wrote some of the songs as well. It had a no wave, early industrial sort of sound, reflecting the kind of  music I was interested in at the time. It was done for the most part on Thursday nights over a six month period between 2005 and 2006. 

He has always been very generous with his time. Giving his all to any project of mine if I asked and I lean't a lot from the experience of recording 'New Primitive' with him. Toward the end of the sessions he played a highly emotive and catchy melody on the piano which became the song 'New Year Black'.  He does not hold back songs! Another mark of a great artist and songwriter in my view.
The pictures below are Warrior album covers to 'Umbrella Aisle'(pic re-used for 'The Lost Negative') and 'The Guts of Warrior' Jake Delone 'Somnambulance' ,a self titled Zouaves album and The Waxworks 'All that is Unknown' plus Cogs album 'New Primitive' Other pics show a list of imaginist Warrior albums and the teenage genius Adam Stewart hiding out somewhere at sea.

The Art of Catherine Wray

Here is a handful of paintings my mother did as part of an college course in the late nineties/early noughties. She has not pursued art throughout her life, but she enjoyed painting when she was at school and enjoys occasionally visiting exhibitions. At the age of 42 she had a life changing stroke which took her speech and ability to read and write properly. These have never fully recovered, but despite all her trials she has retained a cheerful outlook on life and I think that comes across in these vibrant, expressive paintings.
 While on her course at Keighley College mum also, with the help of a tutor wrote down her life story, as well as the story detailing when she had her stroke. Back in the early noughties I recorded two musical pieces using the text from these entitled 'Stroke' and 'Memories' (the titles are those that mum originally gave them). The text was read by my sister; the crime writer Sarah Wray; author of the novels 'Reported Missing' and 'Her Best Friend'
A further track; an improvised number entitled 'When I Was 42' was also recorded which featured mum on vocals. 'Stroke' and 'When I was 42' appear on the Cogs album 'Laughter and Footsteps' while 'Memories' is on ''Afternoons' You can listen on the spotify link here....

Sina Sparrows Atash Comic

I was recently asked by my friend; artist and illustrator Sina Sparrow to do an interpretation of his homoerotic, super hero character Atash. Here is what I came up with. You can buy the comic and see some of Sinas other work on his website linked below. I have known Sina a few years; we met when he spotted me doodling in a London Bookshop and we struck up a conversation from there. His work combines colourful pictures of female pop icons as well as his brilliant, poignant diary comics that remind me a little of the punk artist Raymond Pettibon. He also runs the popular club night Debbie.

New Drawings for Sale

All A3 size and created 2018....
A3 Drawings/Paintings

Tapes and Tee bundle

Now on offer exclusively on this site. Get two tapes at a reduced price and/or 'Noughts and Crosses' printed t-shirt.The tapes are the recent reissue of Athena 'Museums EP' as well as last years 'ICU on Telephono 1986' You will be emailed a download code on purchase of the tapes. The picture below is a still from the video to 'My New Image'. The video was shot in 1999. T-shirts are either small or medium size. You can listen to both tapes at:
Tape + Tee Bundle Options

Athena-Museums EP Reissue

During the late nineties between 1998 and early 2000 I was a member of a minimal synth band with my friend Asim Butt at a time when the genre was deeply unfashionable. I was either ahead of my time, behind the times or somewhere in between. Any hey, there has been a bit of interest in this EP over the years; most recently when two tracks were featured on the influential compilation series 'Bedroom Cassette Masters Volume 9' With the resurgent interest in minimal synth in the last few years I thought this might be a good time to present this music again and so here is the album again with one track re-recorded and new artwork (the original cover which you can see below is terrible!)
Below is a reprint of an article printed about the band in Nude Magazine 2010. I had to cut it up a little bit to make the text legible on here. The album is £4 and comes with a free download when you buy on bandcamp. The download features extra bonus track.

You can listen and buy the tape here....

Track 1: Stock Market Crash (New Version)
The first song we ever did in the music practice rooms at Dartington College of Art back in 1998. A product of what we used to call pre-millennial tension. This version is truer to the original rehearsal version we did before recording for the EP. I recorded this alone and this was recently featured under my own name on 'Bedroom Cassette Masters' but in truth could have been credited to Athena.
Track 2: My New Image
A pessimistic song. As minimal as synth can get without disappearing. I have always been interested in dystopian films and books and this one fits with that. On a more prosaic level it probably reflects my sense of anxiousness about the prospect of having to get a job at some point really soon as we neared the end of our art college party.This featured again on the early 2010 double Cogs collection 'Afternoons'  despite not being a Cogs track.
Track 3: Helicoptors
Another dystopian number that was inspired by a dream I had. This featured on the 2005 Cogs double album 'Laughter and Footsteps' despite not being a Cogs track. The song has a similar feel to the seminal song 'Private Plane' which I was yet to hear when 'Helicoptors' was written.
Track 4: Who Invented the Set Up?
This song was written and pretty much recorded in one take and never played again while recording the other songs for the 'Museums EP' The lyric was about the futurist movement and it's descent into fascism.
Track 5: Stock Market Crash (Original Version)
Track 6: The Reflective (Download Only)
A much looser song than the others. Recorded on a cheap tape recorder. By this time  Asim's brother Attif had joined on drums. This was one of a batch of songs we did in a similar style that we wrote for inclusion on what was to be a semi-improvised dada opera called 'Workathon 2' a sequel of sorts to a comic and short film I had made around this time. It was never completed.
£4+ £1 P+P

Clapton Pond: A Radio Musical

A musical I composed for radio is being broadcast on Good Friday at 11pm and repeated at 6:30am on Sunday morning on London based arts radio station Resonance FM. Inspired by the Clapton/Hackney area in the mid to late noughties. The loose concept behind the musical is that it follows a collection of disparate characters living in the Clapton/Hackney area depicting their points of view through songs and dramatised scenes. I did all the voices and most of the instruments with a bit of help from my friend Adam Stewart who also helped me edit it together.

The area has seen quite a few changes of late, but when I lived there in the early to mid noughties it was full of boarded up shops, pokey old pubs with no-one in them and fried chicken joints. 'Clapton Pond' evokes this version of the area on grey, rain soaked afternoon.

The idea for making a musical specifically composed for radio was inspired to some degree by another resonance programme; an episode of Richard Scotts show 'Opera Hour' in which composer Leo Chadburn (aka Simon Bookish) discussed the work of  artist and composer Robert Ashley. I cannot claim that the finished piece resembles Ashley's work as such, but it was the wider possibilities for opera/musicals in other mediums like radio and TV that his work suggests that sparked the idea.

Here is the blurb from the resonance site....
'Clapton Pond is a musical  devised specifically for radio written and performed by artist and musician Patrick Wray. Inspired by Hackney and Clapton in the early to mid-noughties a host of fanciful characters take center stage for a visceral, nightmarish tour of Claptons seedy inner life.'
Here is the schedule for the broadcast.....

The sections of the musical are as follows:
1. Clapton Pond Theme Intro
A short piano piece. This is designed to be like a soap opera theme in the style of the great Simon May.
2. Simon
A claustrophobic look inside the 'damp flat' of terminal bachelor Simon. Full of dark, seedy, sleazy atmosphere.
3. The Song from Inside the Pipes
A bluesy, jazzy number sung by an unidentified character.
4. Ode to Dissapointment
From outside the pipes we here an unidentified character singing this short jaded song in the shower.
5. Bailiffs Blues
As the rain pours down the window a bailiff sings this pained ballad. The music for this was written and performed by my friend Daniel Halliday.
6. I'm the Landlord!
A ruthless landlord rants out his skewed manifesto. The music on this was originally used on a track called 'Piss Flower' from my 2008 album 'New Primitive' but has been remixed and remastered for use here.
7. Ian and Lorraine
Abusive husband Ian get annoyed at his wife Lorraine when he discovers she has left daughter Jenny in the care of uncle Julian.
8. Radio Waves
Changing stations on afternoon radio. A delirious synthesiser song about nothing in particular.
9. Simon (Reprise)
We return to the flat of Simon as he contemplates venturing outside.
10. News Report (Off Licence on Fire)
An authentic sounding news report about an off licence in the area catching fire. As with 'Ian and Lorraine' and 'Bailiffs Blues' the words to this were pretty much improvised on the spot.
11. Clapton Pond Theme (Reprise)

You can listen to or buy my album 'ICU on Telephono 1986' released last year on the link below. 10 songs of experimental pop.