|Project Adorno have produced a number of short films and
||Dennis Potter in the
Present Tense (2016)
dramatist and playwright Dennis Potter was the ultimate Marmite
figure – one minute delighting millions with musical plays such as
The Singing Detective and Pennies From Heaven, the
next causing outrage and controversy with productions such as Blackeyes
and Brimstone & Treacle.
mixture of hard-hitting themes (death, religion, sexual fantasy) was
married to the mass medium of prime-time terrestrial TV. He was as
much fascinated by the thought of his audience sprawled across
settees amongst the cups and living room detritus, as he was to the
impact and reaction provoked by his work. A doyen of the 60s/70s
Play For Today school of drama, his work was designed to make one
stop and think as well as be thoroughly entertained in the bargain.
this performance piece Project Adorno present a contemporary
interpretation of Potter, the man and his work, through an ambient
segue of original songs, samples, spoken word extracts and visuals
charting his journey from miner's cottage in the Forest of Dean to
international mass media acclaim - and ultimate redemption. A
cubist biographical sketch told through live songs, electronic
music, original video footage and pre-recorded voice extracts from
people who knew or had some connection to Potter and his work.
“Project Adorno have to be admired by their tenacity and
thorough research, thereby generating a unique and very enjoyable
Buxton Fringe Review 2016
||Jarman in Pieces (2014)
Adorno's cubist portrayal of Derek Jarman, capturing
his poetic visual imagery, love of super 8 film and enduring
painter, gay rights activist, author, gardener – Derek Jarman
packed many roles into a short life. Since his death in 1994, his
standing has never been higher. And yet he remains a contradictory
figure: a self-effacing exhibitionist, a well-to-do RAF child
who embraced the possibilities of punk. For decades, he was a thorn
in the establishment’s side and yet is now dangerously close
to something he would have hated – the status of national
Jarman In Pieces is a performance collage comprising original songs,
film, interviews, ambient sounds and spoken word that aims to
celebrate these contrasts rather than reconcile them.
See video extracts here:
from Jarman In Pieces performed at Dodo Modern Poets event in August
earlier version of Jarman In Pieces performed at Merton's Colour
(originally premiered at Holloway Arts Festival 2013)
(videos courtesy of PR Murry)
and catchy songs, super 8 video and original interview pieces. Fresh
aspects of Jarman,plus a good deal of entertaining and
thought-provoking music" ScotsGay
Our first film which like proud
parents we still hold in high esteem. Shot in black and white super
8 Fickle was foisted onto an unsuspecting public at Morley College,
London during 1994.
In undertaking electronic music courses
at the time we were invited to contribute an "electro-acoustic" composition
for the "end of term" concert. Whilst those around us grappled with
Baroque style arrangements, familiarised themselves with the intricacies
of MIDIfying bass guitars, or used ancient synthesisers to provide passable
impersonations of the BBC radiophonic workshop, we on the other hand
decided to bring visuals into the equation.
Thus Fickle was born embodying all that
is transitory in our lives. It is a film very much in the tradition
of Bunuel and Dali's "Un chien Andalou" and owes much also to
"Meshes of the afternoon". The emotions of the central character,
the androgenous engineer, are displayed within the various settings
that he/she/it? finds itself. (The drudgery of walking up and down stairs
as opposed to the adrenalin rush of a fairground joyride). The exploration
of opposites such as the work/leisure, freedom/conformity, inside/outside,
open/closed, up/down, choice/no choice dichotomies are discussed. Images
ebb and flow with the music (a discarded wardrobe on a beach, oily globules
of paint running down a canvas of confromity, television as deity and
its subsequent execution), exploring the relationship between the individual
and the surrounding internal and external architecture. It is a film
embodying the maxim "as one door closes another one opens".
One door leads to another, however some
will always remain "doors of perception" leading to nothing but dead
ends or vicious circles.
Click here to watch Fickle on You Tube
(Best viewed in the dark, late, loud & alone)
We were approached to make a film to accompany
Erik Satie's "Relache" opera/ballet for the 1995 Merton Arts
Festival. After the successful screening of Fickle at the previous year's festival, what could be better we thought, than
to make this sort of thing an annual event and finally put Merton on
the celluloid map so to speak. The whole thing turned out to be a very
bohemian affair, the event taking place at a venue called The Lantern
Cafe (which in actual fact was a church), and the film being screened
alongside a live performance of the piece by an orchestra.
Satie was a rather eccentric figure by
all accounts with a penchant for umbrellas and a collection of twelve
identical grey suits among other things. We decided to include such
elements of his personality into the film which ended up becoming a
somewhat surreal biographical portrait of the man himself. In addition
it borrowed heavily on the themes of artists such as Salvador Dali and
Disaster almost struck on the day of the
performance/screening when five minutes before we were due to "go on"
there was a power cut rendering the whole of the Lantern Cafe in darkness.
This was somewhat ironic bearing in mind that "Relache" roughly
translated into English means "non performance"! It also threatened
to add insult to injury in that we had already been forced
to cancel a previous (and rather rare) live appearance on the opening
day of the Festival due to rain! However, one replaced fuse later and
it was on with the show, our celluloid Satie glaring garishly in all
its super 8 glory across three monitor screens and providing a fitting
accompaniment to a vibrant live orchestral rendition of the piece.
In 2008 the Satie film was dusted down and digitally
restored. It was screened at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to the accompaniment of a
new, original score as part of the Project Adorno/Steve Lake show,
Tales From the Cutting Room Floor.
Despite commitments at the Edinburgh Fringe
Festival we managed to complete our third short film in as many years for
screening at the 1996 Merton Arts festival. This time we provided visuals
to be run alongside Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Gesung der junglinge". Stockhausen
may be justifiably regarded as one of the pioneers of electronic music and
someone whom we've come to admire in the last few years.
We decided to use black and white super
8 film once more, the idea being that this was the final part in a trilogy
begun with Fickle. Each film can be seen as a "stand alone" piece but
taken together can also justifiably be regarded as a complete work...
Stockhausen: Near and Far has a more sinister
edge to it than the previous two and may best be described as an essay
on mortality touching on themes of birth, the various stages of life through
childhood to adulthood, and ultimately death. In amongst this we are asked
to question the relationship between religion as state and suicide as
The film was screened at Mitcham Parish
Church (which had been previously touched by the hand of Anneka Rice of
all people!) accompanying a four track recording which allowed the audience
to hear the work as originally intended in quadraphonic surround sound.
||Cheap Sweets & Sequencers
In 2001 Project Adorno contributed a multimedia
installation entitled "Cheap Sweets & Sequencers" to
an art show organised by Lost Property Arts. The installation
featured all the usual Project Adorno trademarks including music,
sound samples and poems. It also featured slide projections and a
large quantity of sweets....(Soundtrack available on Project Adorno CD "Cheap Sweets &
The work was just one of a number of exhibits on display at
the avant-garde art show taking place in the undercroft of the
Read more about it here
Watch Project Adorno's "private view" tour of the exhibition here
|No Need To Worry
collection of songs which turned into a film - a spoof biopic about
the life and times of The Keynotes (who were to become Project
Adorno). A period of intense creativity - the songs were diverse,
colourful and shambolic! Notable memories: Trains at Waterloo East,
the "No need to worry" theme tune - part Monkees, part
Banana Splits, epic acoustic guitar recording session for
"Memories of now", "band rehearsals" at a local
church hall which we filled with dry ice for filming; the spoof
"press conference" and of course cut away shots of SM in
the "mixing booth" - we laughed 'til we cried.
Click here for music video of "All things must change"
featuring images from the film
|Chunnel Vision & Art-Space
threw everything we had into "Chunnel Vision" a multimedia
work of staggeringly "operatic" proportions. It was a
concept seriously beyond our abilities (and our budget!). Featuring
electronic music, sound samples, choral singing, "treated"
violin and de-tuned TVs it was showcased to an audience of one at
the Merton Civic Centre in 1995, pre-dating Brian Eno's "Music
For Civic Recovery Centre" by some years. Positively Wagnerian.
Here's what the local newspaper said by way of promoting the event:
March 1995 - Mitcham & Morden Guardian
Multi-media day at Centre
An audio visual celebration of twentieth
century European culture, art and music is being staged by a brother
and sister [sic] at Merton Civic Centre. Keynotes are performing
the multi-media show on April 8 under the title Chunnel Vision. Entry
is free and pieces will be performed at regular intervals throughout
the day starting at noon. Anyone interested in performance art, the
avant garde and the use of new techonolgy in sound and vision is invited.
Chunnel Vision was briefly resurrected the following
year as part of Project Adorno's 1996 Edinburgh Fringe show,
Millennium Suite, although technical glitches prevented it from
being fully realised.
In 2002 the Chunnel Vision piece was revisited and
re-worked to include elements of spoken word performance poetry. It
was performed at Artspace, an art show taking place in a terraced
house in North London.
Read more about it here
One day we vow to return to Chunnel Vision and perform it as it
appears & sounds in our heads.
||Project Adorno's A-Z of the London Underground
which Project Adorno found themselves scampering round London via
the tube. The brief was to visit 26 stations going from A-Z writing
songs about each place visited. The songs were performed at the
Edinburgh Fringe in 2004 accompanied by a Power Point presentation
featuring photos taken during the whole escapade. In many ways the
journey took on a life of its own... A number of videos (courtesy of
TubeDragon1) have since
sprung up on You Tube to accompany some of the songs and one
creative individual (the Underground Masker) has even done a cover of our "Goodge Street
Shuffle" song! We are flattered, and thank you all.
Click here to view the "Central Line" song-video
(There are others - follow Project Adorno's You Tube link at the
bottom of the page for more)
Click here to read Project Adorno's A-Z of the London Underground:
the full story
|Tales From the Cutting Room Floor
Adorno's 2008 Edinburgh Fringe show saw them teaming up with anarcho-punk
legend Steve Lake for a series of short films and accompanying
"live-performance" soundtracks. Project Adorno's
contribution to the proceedings consisted of 2 separate shorts:
- a re-working of the super8 film originally produced in 1995 with a
new, original sound-score. Best described as an
abstract biopic on the life and work of Erik Satie, featuring filmic
images shot in gaudy, Jarman-esque super-8 welded to a lively
sound-collage mixing song, spoken word, found-sound and
Ministry of the Mundane - a short film in the vein of Patrick
Keiller's "London/Robinson in Space" series. With a nod to
Gilbert & George it is a tale of Kafka-esque beaurocratisation
putting the "Eighties" into "1984" with an
Orwellian take on news, views & (dis)information all accompanied
by a pre i-pod soundtrack that is entirely their own.