Bastard Assignments are Timothy Cape, Edward Henderson, Caitlin Rowley and Josh Spear, four composer-performers making experimental music that explores performativity, movement and live art. We work collaboratively and are developing a shared creative practice. We organise performances in London and show work across the UK and internationally. In 2019 we have performed at the Aldeburgh Festival, Spor Festival in Århus, and Konsertserien Periferien in Oslo, alongside two showcase performances of our work in London and multiple appearances on BBC Radio 3. 2018’s highlights included touring to the USA to work with Mocrep in Chicago, and recording a session for BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction with American electronica artist Swan Meat. In 2020 we return to Oslo and travel to Lithuania for Jauna Muzika.
Thick and Tight A Happy Birthday (2018)
A Happy Birthday is based on Harold Pinter’s Birthday Party and explores the play through sound, choreography and lip-syncing. Thick & Tight are an award winning dance duo who are interested in collaborating with a variety of artists with a particular focus in creating new links between sound and movement.
Tim Cape Sugar Cage (2018)
“Depressive hedonia”, an inability to stop consuming entertainment which we know ultimately makes us feel terrible, is one of the concepts that stuck with me after reading Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism. The book is about the contemporary belief that there is no realistic alternative to our current economic system, despite its destructive and exploitative nature being acknowledged by almost everyone. In Sugar Cage I am also trapped – below an image of my own face looming huge above me, hand outstretched. The moment of connection between finger and screen, between flesh and interface is the focus – the moment this “depressive hedonia” is transformed into data, and ultimately profit. The process of making the piece was a different type of obsessing in front of a screen – spending hours making rhythmic and melodic material from tiny fragments of footage. The footage was made by engaging with my smartphone (almost) as I am supposed to – with voice and touch. In this sense Sugar Cage is part of a group of recent pieces of mine that use playfulness to subvert and negotiate situations of control.
Caitlin Rowley Quiet Songs (2019)
Quiet Songs for viola, voice and video explores the composer-performer’s modes of work, imperfect working environments, and self-silencing of some types of work as a response to disruption to the ostensibly ‘private’ workspace. The piece juxtaposes video footage shot in the composer’s studio – which is either silent, or recorded via a contact mic on the window, which foregrounds ambient noise that is characteristic of the space – with live performance which suffers no such sonic restriction. As the piece progresses, the live performance becomes independent of the activity in the studio, but never quite escapes that connection with where and how the piece was made.
Josh Spear FEED (2019)
FEED was made collaboratively with the group. It is tornadic in structure and started life as an exploded horror movie whereby the characters in the story were at once in the action as well as watching themselves on film. The performers lipsync and mime to audio and go on a tour of fear and violence. Each scene is paired with another scene through sound, movement, or expression.