7.30pm to 9pm
An Introduction to Professor David Toop by Beth King:
David Toop, newly appointed Chair of Audio Culture and Improvisation at UAL, is a legend in arts and particularly music circles. A musician, writer and critic, Toop is one of the UK's most influential names in experimental electronic music both as a journalist and a composer. For those who are unfamiliar, his journey started way back in the 70's and he has since worked with an incredible roster of influential musical pioneers from Brian Eno, Ryuichi Sakamototo, John Zorn and Bjork. He’s collaborated with artists spanning many disciplines including theatre director/actor Steven Berkoff. As a critic and columnist he’s written vitally influential pieces for numerous publications, including The Wire, Dazed And Confused, The Face, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Arena and Vogue to name but a few.
As a leading authority on music he has lent his inimitable voice to books on a variety of genres. He’s responsible for one of the earliest, ground-breaking books on hip-hop culture, Rap Attack (now on its third edition and highly collectable), which documents the origins of hip-hop and its genesis in New York City's South Bronx. Many old-school hip-hop and electro pioneers, producers and entrepreneurs were interviewed at length, including Afrika Bambaataa and Arthur Baker. It remains a fascinating and truly absorbing read.
As a visionary music critic and musicologist, Toop explores and dissects everything, he explores and explains the connection between Debussy, Hendrix, Kraftwerk, Lee Scratch Perry, The Orb and Miles Davis. Just as John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’ was revolutionarily, at the time, in analysing the way we view art, Toop’s book, Ocean of Sound, explores how ambient isn't a genre so much as a 'way of listening'.
Highly respected by artists and critics alike, David Toop has a reputation for innovative, immersive performances, where he creates an atmosphere rather than what one might describe as mainstream music in a traditional sense. His improvised performances are possibly as visual as sound can get. As he explains, when describing his latest series of events, 'these are best imagined as a means to connect with methods of making and remembering, unmaking and forgetting. They are more concerned with the unfinished or in-between, that which is difficult to articulate or impossible to exhibit; each one will involve offerings of different kinds, opportunities to listen, to watch, to speak, to be silent.'
An evening in the company of David Toop really is a unique experience. If, like Toop, you share the same frustrations with ‘conventional concerts’ and event formats: discussions, chaired roundtable conversations and keynotes, then you are in for a treat. He is a leading light in experimental music and analysis, so sit back and enjoy, David Toop will free your mind.