In an age when music is so readily available everywhere in an instant, Musicity rewards those who choose to seek it out: “We want our audience to venture out, to be active not passive consumers of contemporary music, to explore cities, and to experience the urban environment in new and unexpected ways, through music that is entirely connected to it,” says broadcaster and Musicity founder, Nick Luscombe.
In late 2017, the capital of South Korea, Seoul, played host to the sounds of three innovative British artists. Steve Hellier, Hannah Peel and Gabriel Prokofiev visited Seoul earlier in the year, supported by the British Council, to gather ideas for compositions inspired by the cityscape. The music that they created was then made available to the public, who were able to listen via their mobile phones thanks to Musicity’s use of geotag technology - once a destination is reached, the music for that location begins to play.
“To come here and be invited to write a piece of music … is really exciting,” said Hannah Peel. “I feel quite honoured be a part of this beautiful collaboration between these two countries.” You can find pictures from Hannah's research trip here.
The Connected City
Musicity in Seoul was part of a wider arts programme to encourage communities to re-engage with parts of the city through music, art and performances in public spaces. Find out more about the programme, including music and conversation with artists from the UK and South Korea, in the short films below.
After studying fine art at Goldsmiths, Steve Hellier formed Death in Vegas with Richard Fearless. Their debut album Dead Elvis earned commercial success and critical acclaim. Steve has spent the last few years making audio pieces for Musicity at Tallinn Music Week 2016, Museum of London “Deed and Prosper” and, more recently, a residency at WORM in Rotterdam and sound installation work at Resonant Edge festival 2017 (Edge Hill University). Steve has also been involved in Turner Prize winning Mark Leckey’s recent film Dream English Kid.
Steve has composed music in response to the Hoehyeon Citizen Apartment in Seoul.
Northern Irish artist, singer and electronic composer Hannah Peel released Awake But Always Dreaming to great acclaim at the end of 2016. Drawing on personal experiences with her grandmother ‘awakening’ from dementia with music, Peel has described the album as “a dive into the rabbit hole of the brain” and the album won Electronic Album of the Year by Electronic Sound Magazine. She has collaborated with John Foxx (Ultravox), The Magnetic North and OMD. Her latest album, Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia is a collaboration with a traditional Colliery brass band.
Hannah has composed music in response to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul.
Gabriel Prokofiev is a composer, producer, DJ and founder of the Nonclassical record label and club night of the same name. Composing music that both embraces and challenges western classical traditions, Gabriel has emerged at the forefront of a new approach to classical music in the UK at the beginning of the 21st century.
Gabriel has composed music in response to Seoullo 7017 in Seoul.
- Musicity is one of several other arts projects in Seoul at this time, running under the banner of Connected City, looking at how artists respond to and help shape the cities they call home. Find out more about Connected Cities and the wider UK-Korea season of arts projects here.
- In September 2017, Musicity called on William Doyle, Sean O’Hagan, Hejira, Throwing Shade, Moses Boyd, patten and Stick in the Wheel to write music inspired by the London borough of Southwark. Listen to the results here.