Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Soprafina in the Water

A trip on the Bridgwater Taunton canal with Tim Hill and Jules Bushell recording sounds, including hydraphone in the water whilst Tim blew his Soprafina, in the water. I haven't heard the results yet but can hardly wait.......good day!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Pole

So amongst the gales, the rain, the onset of winter, I have been seeking solace in my weatherbeaten studio at Hurstone. I have been making more instruments to play, to create a noise, as one is finished so it informs another..Here we have the first attempt at an acoustic chamber, a trip into the wood, a large fallen oak and chainsaw in hand the bottom part is cut and hollowed out, plunge cutting a cone to remove and finishing off with an arbourtech.

A large Hazel pole is cut to hold the piano tuning keys and then the wires, a spiral of wires of differing lengths to enable different sounds.

I also thought that it would be rather good to have a circle of glass marbles at the top of the chamber so that a light source could be put inside and the marbles will glow with the light when performing..Yes the visual element is important as well, the theatrical element onstage. These are sculptures too, the aesthetic that I bring to all I make both visually and aurally. So to the playing, so far I haven't amplified or used any means of tone generator, this little beast has plenty of sounds, bowing it brings a range, plucking and striking too. The first gig I can bring it out will be the 21st January at the Congregational Church in Wiveliscombe..so there is one for the diary already. I can't wait to get this beast into the performing arena.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Fifty years

To celebrate John Moat's occupancy of Crenham Mill I have made a small sculpture for him and Anni.
So a celebration to the mill with love

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Gimlet Eyed Mariners

The Gimlet -Eyed Mariner's CD is now available on the Slightly off Kilter label details here on how to get your copies!!!!
go in your hundreds and I'll wear glitter!.

Thursday, 1 December 2011


It is december the first! the first day of the advent doors is alive. go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yY9aVBazV0
and watch

Monday, 21 November 2011


Oh yes a new venture with Rupert Green.....The advent calendar has a new look online. Behind each of the 24 days before chiristmas will be a numbered door for you to open on the vimeo website, links will be shared via facebook, this site, email and hopefully spreading virally so please do your bit. Behind each door is something different, something beguilling or scary or sweet or? You open the door and discover

Monday, 7 November 2011

Long Bow

The Whitley Festival film makes it very difficult to see the "long Bow' instrument I was playing and the image of it outside my studio is also fairly tricky so I thought I might put these images up just to show it in more detail.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Whitley Arts Festival Reading

In the evening of the 29th October 2011 I played a solo gig at the Whitley Arts Festival due to an illness in Jessica Curry's family. I was to play alongside the film 'The Colour of Pomegranates' for 30 minutes. After an splendid evening watching an array of wonderful and strange short movies it was my turn. To close the evening and the festival, I have made a number of instruments recently, see old posts as well as the 'long bow' just completed. This was to be my first show where I wouldn't play a laptop, ipad or korg kaosillator to create a bed or loops, this was to be just my instruments through various effects. At the soundcheck all sounded good, the room had a dynamic and all was set. I clunk on stage and the evening went well, the sound of the instruments filled the room with ethereal otherworldly sounds, the audience bewitched by the wonderful images of the film and the sounds seemed to be enthralled. So a great evening, the instruments were stroked and plucked by an inquisitive audience after the show. My appetite set for more shows and more instruments what a few weeks this has been for music. I drove back to somerset late through the night, thoughts bouncing through my mind, darkness and motorway....very rock and roll...Let's have more!!!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Friday, 21 October 2011

Long Bow

Another instrument for bow mainly: This one is 2 metres tall and not only can the string be bowed, but also the oak sticks from the side, a plaintive sonic sound is heard from all complimenting the deep bass string. The instrument can be bowed by two bows.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

West Bay Carving

Nick Durnan standing in front of the fantastic carving he is doing for me, for the West Bay project which is nearing completion. Installation will begin on the 24th October, if you are in the West Bay vacinity please have a peep.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Water and Islands

Private commission:
Carved from a piece of elm I have had around my studio for many years.
the burrs become the islands saved from the seas around them or are they marooned?

A Night of Light

A Night of Light at Hestercombe Gardens: One night only part of Somerset Art Weeks.
I installed my piece of video and sound in a tunnel. When I created this piece in 2001 as part of 'Genius Loci' a year of the artist project this tunnel hadn't been dug out and the original was shown in the orangery, (not very satisfactory). Now the piece has come home and the setting was perfect. The sound rang around the tunnel and the resonance of the Water's Journey was now complete, especially the big booming sounds of the waterfall. Now that was another issue, the water course has changed so much over the ensuing 10 years, the waterfall doesn't. Some of the rills have no water, the video of the Water's journey has become an historical document by mistake. But this was to set the record straight and my how well it worked in that tunnel especially as the evening got darker and darker, the visual display hang in the darkness and the aural sound filled the space. I can go home happy now after those tens years.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Gimlet Eyed Mariner's gig

Well that went well.
A huge thanks to everyone that came
To Billie-Daisy and Solly for their cameo roles
and of course to Barry for his intuitive playing .
To David Bond for letting us use the church which was a great venue.
The initiation of my new instrument went down really well and I think this is a new avenue of work and playing, it adds a unique sound and creates a focus for the audience.
I have a recording of the second half of the show if anyone is interested, it does include the new instrument.

Our debut cd has arrived on the slightly off kilter label (http://www.slightlyoffkilterlabel.blogspot.com/)
unfortunately a day late for the gig.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Gimlet Eyed Mariners

The gig, the gig
Tomorrow the 23rd of September is the gig in wiveliscombe at the congregational church at 7.30
The 'must do' event on the calender.
I have made a new instrument to play...not even a pic on the blog it's that new!!!!!
electro acoustamatic improv music
barry witherden and michael fairfax
not to be missed.

Friday, 16 September 2011


Yesterday was the private view of the work at West Coker. Three very lovely girls were helping Simon with car parking and the like, I asked them to have a lie on the cloud bench, this first young lady did and she exclaimed she could see a rainbow,

we all looked up and there wasn't a rainbow in site just a beautiful sunny evening with a scattering of clouds, she insisted she could see a rainbow, so after cajoling I lay on the bench and blow me down if I could see the fragment of a rainbow amongst the cloud base, blimey you are right I exclaimed and we tried to figure out how this might be in a sky with no hint of rain. One of the girls muttered something about rain droplets in the sky, or ice crystals.
Later more people came to lie on the cloud bench which was proving to be very popular, I got talking to a woman as she was waiting and she said, " did you see the Parhelion tonight" of course I had to ask her what a Parhelion was, and very basically it is ice crystals in the autumn cooling sky that gets hit by the sun and produces a spectrum usually in pairs.

Of course I was able to exclaim "yes, you bet" and in a rather over excited schoolboy fashion I blathered on about how we saw it, I then of course went off to find the three young woman and told them of their find. Naturally they were delighted to hear of such a phenomena and that they had seen it.
There are many reasons why everyone should own a 'cloud bench' anyway, but I feel that this has strengthened my position and expect the commissions to rush in: so please email me at michaelfairfax@eclipse.co.uk with your orders.

the wikipedia definition of a Parhelion is:
A 120° parhelion (plural: 120° parhelia) is a relatively rare halo, an optical phenomenon occasionally appearing along with very bright sun dogs (also called parhelia) as ice crystal-saturatedcirrus clouds fill the atmosphere. The 120° parhelia are named for appearing in pair on the parhelic circle ±120° from the sun.[1]

Monday, 12 September 2011

Cloud Bench at West Coker

The work for West Coker has been delivered and installed.

Simon Lee Dicker working hard to help with the installation.

The 'cumulus cloud bench' in its new formal setting at the Lanes hotel.

Awaiting you to come and lie down and look at the clouds
the stars and moon.

Opening event at West Coker this thursday 6.00 - 9.00pm
at the Lanes hotel and Simon's gallery next door.
Open during somerset art weeks
for details.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Fish Bass

The latest instrument for the 'under a new sun' show in West Coker. SAW starting next week on the 16th September.
This instrument is amazing to play.

The very heavy piano wire when hit with the felt beaters reverberates around ones body, with a gently agitation of the wood the struck wire produces curious harmonics, it is a joy to behold and so satisfying to play.

To get the agitation one has to sway and so playing is almost a choreography, this is surely going to tempt everyone to the gig at West Coker on the 2nd of October with Philip Heyman viola, Jessica Curry piano, Jules Bushell bass, Tim Hill, saxophone and others, Barry Witherden korg kaosillator, keyboard. Rupert Green vocals, Michael Fairfax, assorted made instruments, guitar, korg kaosillator, ipad, laptop. Starts at 7.30pm. See: http://underanewsun.wordpress.com/about/ for details.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Rosliston Cloud Benches

They came from the sky

two clouds

cirrus and cumulus

The boys came to install

they lay

They spotted cirrus and cumulus

The boys dug out the turf

to lay the benches

The boys are happy with their handiwork

The boys left

a good job done

Cirrus and Cumulus

have found their sacred ground

So please now visit Rosliston Forestry Centre

lie on the cloud benches and watch

the clouds scudding by.

You can also watch the stars at night.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Cloud Benches

The Cloud benches are made......tomorrow they will almost certainly wreck my car, they are very heavy, solid oak, but probably no heavier than 3 of me in the car so I am sure it will be fine!!
They are called, Cirrus and Cumulus, and I resisted the temptation to call one Christopher!
Pics will go up next week. Just heard the my band Gimlet-Eyed Mariners first independent Cd is out soon in time for our gig on the 23rd september in Wiveliscombe. That's great news and the line up for the gig at West Coker is now formed. I have Tim Hill, Jules Bushell, Barry Witherden, Rupert Green and WNO Principal viola player Philip Heyman all playing. Book tickets now from http://underanewsun.wordpress.com/ site checking out exhibitions and events.

Monday, 8 August 2011


I have just created a 'soundcloud' for some of my music and will upload more when time frees up.

Have a peep and a listen on : http://soundcloud.com/michael-fairfax

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Rosliston Camera Obscura 5

Day 5.
The finished piece.
Onscreen image.
The door.
In situ

Rosliston Camera Obscura 4

Day four, the turf is laid and the door is started.

Rosliston Camera Obscura 3

Day 3 and the turf is being cut and laid

Rosliston Camera Obscura 2

After the second day we had this fabulous structure, the wind blew the string and magic was in the air.

Rosliston Camera Obscura

Another 'Breath of Fresh Air' Project. This time at Rosliston Forestry Centre in Derbyshire.
The camera obscura has been made from hazel, sisal and turf, with a lens and screen. The project has been over 5 days with members of the general public booking into workshops and of course through traffic and help from many others. The help and support has been over whelming and the structure came together really well. The weather held and off we went.

Friday, 15 July 2011


The process making desk.

Page from sketchbook

The primarily drawing for the sculpture below.

Archimedes Rings Home

Probably the last in this 'noise making series' as I am off to Rosliston next week to create a camera obscura as part of the 'Breath Of Freah Air' Projects.
This one you turn the knob and the little cups hit the metal twanger and it clicks its way around.
The wood is elm for a change. Old and knarled.