The Age Of Spiritual Machines

The Age of Spiritual Machines is a new work for cello, violin, electronics and two dancers by composer Daniel Elms and choreographer Alexander Whitley.

Exploring the philosophy of transhumanism, which seeks to enhance the capabilities of the body using technology, both artists have stripped away the technological components that they regularly employ in their work. The soft tissue of movement and music is revealed beneath, irreversibly altered by its past interactions with electronic and mechanical devices.

Whitley’s dancers embody principles of machine intelligence; their movements and relationship to each other informed by the way technology, rather than the human gaze, sees the world.  

The sources for Elms’ tempo, rhythms and harmony derive from his recordings of the hidden frequencies of electronic devices, made with a coil microphone. Once they had been used to create the form of the work, these sounds were removed to leave a freestanding musical structure. Live cello and violin are electronically processed, sustaining the tension between natural and artificial. 

The tightly-focused score is reflected in the movement of dance artists Hannah Rudd (Michael Clark Company, Scottish Ballet, Rambert) and Jonathan Savage (Rambert, GöteborgsOperans Danskompani) with lighting by Sarah Ward.

The Age of Spiritual Machines is funded by Royal Philharmonic Society’s Drummond Fund and Arts Council England.

Manchester Collective presents the premiere of The Age of Spiritual Machines at Southbank Centre on Saturday 14 May as part of their Neon programme, which also features works by Hannah Peel, Julius Eastman and Steve Reich. Neon tours to Lakeside Arts, Nottingham (18 May) and Howard Assembly Room, Leeds (19 May). 

Consolations in Travel, Friday 4th February 2022

BBC Radio 3’s Unclassified Live will premiere “Consolations in Travel” this Friday 4th February at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth. Tickets available here.

New Tour & New Website

Daniel is preparing for a May 2022 tour with Manchester Collective and Alex Whitley. Full details will be available on the new website — coming soon.

Consolations in Travel & Unclassified Live

With music venues reopening across the UK, Daniel’s new work “Consolations in Travel” will premiere at the Southbank Centre in March 2022 on Unclassified Live.

The Age of Spiritual Machines

For the past week, Daniel has been based at Studio Wayne McGregor, London, with Alexander Whitley to develop their new work The Age of Spiritual Machines. This was the first public workshop of the new piece, which was funded by the RPS Drummond Fund. The Age of Spiritual Machines will be developed during the year, with explorations into motion capture to trigger both visual and audio material.

New Music in 2020

The New Year marks the start of a busy year for Daniel Elms, who will be working in the first quarter on a new work for the BBC Concert Orchestra, as part of Unclassified Live, and a new work for the RPS Drummond Fund with choreographer Alexander Whitley. Soon afterwards, Daniel will be starting work on two further concert pieces (yet to be announced), and a collection of electroacoustic explorations for release later in the year.

RPS Drummond Fund

Daniel has received the prestigious RPS Drummond Fund 2020. With this award, Daniel will develop a new work for music and dance with choreographer Alexander Whitley. The work will feature musicians from Manchester Collective and will tour in late 2020.

BBC CO & Unclassified Live

2020 will mark the premiere of a new work by Daniel, written for the BBC Concert Orchestra as part of BBC Radio 3’s Unclassified Live with Elizabeth Alker. The work will be performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall alongside a variety of new arrangements and works by composers including Anna Meredith, Daniel Avery, Caroline Shaw, Koreless, Rafiq Bhatia and Nicole Lizee.

Daniel Signs to Agent Air Edel

Daniel has signed with agency Air Edel to represent his multimedia work and collaborations — exciting things to come. You can find more information here.

Apple’s Contemporary Classicist

Title track Islandia is heading up Apple’s contemporary classical playlist this week. Limited-edition heavyweight vinyl and CDs are available from Bandcamp.

The White Hotel & BBC Radio 6

If you missed this morning’s broadcast of Bethia on BBC Radio 6, then you can catch it here. The Islandia tour concludes this evening in Manchester at The White Hotel. Come and join us for an unforgettable night. Tickets available here.

Islandia Album Release — Vinyl, CD & Digital

Islandia is here! Now available on all major digital services with limited-edition heavyweight vinyl and CDs available from Bandcamp. Come and join the celebrations this evening as the album-release tour continues at Penny Red Arts, Hull. Tickets available here.

Islandia Tour

The Islandia album-release tour gets underway this evening at CLF Art Cafe, Peckham. Daniel will be performing along Manchester Collective’s tour of Paradise Lost by Vessel and Rakhi Singh. Tickets available here.

Soft Machines Video

The exclusive premiere of the Soft Machines video is now available through Stationary Travels. Check out the video, by long-term collaborator and visual artist David Briggs, here.

Islandia Album Release — New Amsterdam Records

It’s here! Islandia is now available from the Brooklyn-based New Amsterdam Records. You can now have early access to the album via a subscription to New Amsterdam’s Bandcamp. On June 21st there will be a full release across all major digital platforms, plus limited-edition heavyweight vinyl (with risograph poster insert) and CD. Visit Bandcamp for further details.

UK Tour & ACE Support

The Arts Council England is supporting Daniel’s 2019 tour of Islandia. The tour will visit London, Hull and Manchester, and promote Daniel’s new album Islandia, which will be released in Q2, 2019. Venues and dates to follow soon.

Crumbling Buildings & Loud Guitars

Over 2018, Daniel produced and engineered “What Is Imposed Must Be Endured” — debut album of the four-piece doom band Blind Monarch. The group have been making waves across the UK with their music being described as “a corrupted majesty of ugliness and despair”. The album, recorded amidst the crumbling walls of the derelict Penny Red Arts building in Hull, will be released on April 5th via Black Bow Records — pre orders can be made here. A series of blogs are to follow the release in 2019, in which Daniel documents the recording process.

My Brilliant Friend

Over the late Summer and early Autumn, Daniel was between London and Rome while working on the beautiful screen adaptation of My Brilliant Friend. Daniel was editing the music and working with composer Max Richter on the eight-part series. Episode 1 premieres on HBO, 18th November 2019.

The Composer’s Fund

Daniel has been awarded the PRS Foundation’s Composer’s Fund. With this support, Daniel will work towards a series of live performances in 2019, which will feature the compositions included in his forthcoming album Islandia. Daniel will also be reintroducing the electric guitar and pedal board to these performances, to showcase the instrument as a striking voice within the chamber orchestra.

The Demons Return

100 Demons will return for performances across the UK in Winter 2018. Tickets for the King’s Place performance — Sat, 8th Dec — are available here. Full details to follow soon via Manchester Collective.

Composer Residency

As part of the Hull City of Culture 2017 legacy, Daniel is working with a collection of Hull-based music artists to introduce them to arranging their own music for orchestral instrumentation. The residency will take place across the Summer, courtesy of PRS Foundation’s Hull residency schemes, and will conclude with a series of recorded performances that will be made available via YouTube.

100 Demons

Despite the Beast from the East’s best attempts to thwart concerts across the UK, Manchester Collective premiered 100 Demons to critical success from Colin Clarke at Seen and Heard, Hugh Morris at Bach Track and Chris Flack at Get Into This.

100 Demons Premiere

Manchester Collective will be premiering Daniel’s new composition, 100 Demons, in three venues across the North of England on 1st-3rd March 2018. The new work features as part of an incredible programme of new music curated and performed by Manchester Collective. Be sure to book your tickets.

Bethia Live

The premiere performance of Bethia is now available to watch on Daniel’s YouTube channel. The performance was part of PRS Foundation’s New Music Biennial and Hull City of Culture 2017.

100 Demons & 2018 Part I

Tickets are now available for the premiere performance of Daniel’s new work 100 Demons. The work, commissioned by Manchester Collective, is an exploration of myth making and fear mongering for string quartet and tape. The work will premiere as part of Manchester Collective’s 2018 Part I season and tickets are available via the collective’s website.

Neuro Slicers & Dream Harvest

Daniel has been working with Dream Harvest Games on their debut release Failure Neuro Slicers. The game is a cyberpunk RTS, set in a dystopian future. The game is scheduled for a closed alpha release in early 2018, with a full release in early 2019. Daniel is using electronics and musique conrete to create a score quite unlike anything he’s ever worked on before. For more information about the game and Daniel’s music, join the Discord community or follow Dream Harvest on twitter.

Album Mix & The Coming Autumn

After completing the mix of Islandia, Daniel will be commencing work on a series of new commissions while the album is prepared for release. One of these new commissions is 100 Demons for Manchester Collective. He will be documenting his composition of this work through his online journal, from the work’s conceptual foundations, through to its premiere in March 2018. Follow Daniel on Twitter for regular updates.

Bethia on NMC Records

The Hull premiere of Bethia, recorded live in Hull Minster by BBC Radio 3, is now available for download via NMC Records. Click here to purchase a copy. Many other works featured in the New Music Biennial 2017 are also available.

Debut at Royal Festival Hall

Didn’t get a chance to hear the premiere of Bethia in Hull? Not to worry: free tickets are available for the piece’s second performance at London’s Royal Festival Hall on 7th July at 18:30. This will be the first ever performance of Daniel’s work at the historic venue. Book your ticket here.