Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

IAN BLAKE: Home


Hello: I'm a composer, producer and bass player. Bass singer and bass clarinettist too: I seem to feel at home with those more relaxed frequencies. And home is where the studio is: you can listen to some of my productions here.

See below for news of the latest shows and recordings: hear some of my latest work, plus music from way back. And acquire delicious Blake product secure in the knowledge that as well as being beautiful and worthwhile, most of this stuff is so obscure that it'll supercharge your collection with ineffable coolth. 

You can contact me at:  ian(at)ianblake.net

March 18, 2017

I've been reading Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac in the Glyn Maxwell adaptation: I'll be doing the music for a production by Theatre in the Square which starts off in London in July, then goes to The Minack in Cornwall in September.

There'll be another piece for carillon and nonhuman performers coming up for a performance by Thomas Laue on July 2nd at the  World Carillon Federation Congress in Barcelona. This one, Multiplex of Wing and Eye, features the backyard bees. My previous carillon works, Blood Sugar Fairy and Matins, had their first outings on an instrument firmly planted in Lake Burley Griffin: the latest will be played on this roving carillon.

It's fifty years since the release of Sgt Pepper, so Shortis & Simpson are celebrating with a well-researched lecture recital in Queanbeyan on March 18th. I'm attempting those McCartney basslines and dusting off Ethel the wind synthesiser to do a piccolo trumpet impersonation (Penny Lane).

SANS reconvenes in May to play at the Seoul Music Week, followed by a gig at Cheongju's Jazztonic festival. When the farflung members of SANS can't get together, there's still the gathering of the trio of Cronshaw, Alexanyan and Blake. We did a video shoot at The Preservation Room recently - here's a specimen:


Someone pointed out that nineteenth century Australia was, per capita, the most piano-infested country on Earth. Having recorded and composed for a semi-feral Renardi and a rather relaxed Victorian Broadwood in Canberra I was pleased to discover another nicely backslid vintage Broadwood in Llanwrtyd, mid Wales. So I recorded lots of improvising on this one: it clangs and groans well, and I expect it'll emerge in a new soundwork...

At the end of March there's a Sound Heritage Sydney event celebrating the musicking that went on in historic houses: following on from the Performing the Past project, we'll be heading to Elizabeth Bay House for the day and I'll be playing How many  ships sail in the forest? on the resident Collard & Collard square piano and a historical laptop.

July 6, 2016

The SANS Sessions, in June, in London, attracted a nice line-up of musical guests including Louai Alhenawi playing ney and daf, fiddler Ric Sanders, and voice from Erika Hammarberg: all adding to that element of surprise that's essential to a SANS gig. (The only constant seems to be that - according to singer Sanna Kurki-Suonio - all the songs are about porridge. None of the rest of us have good enough Finnish to know if this is true…)

SANS visits Poland in July for the EtnoKraków festival on the 7th.

The soundworlds for the ACT's Historic Places are coming together: I've been recording pop music from the 1920s sung around the Calthorpes' House piano, and folksong in the kitchen of Lanyon Homestead along with fiddling on the verandah and some parlour music on the recently restored Broadwood. There'll be a concert in November featuring new music for this piano: all part of this project, Performing the Past, initiated by Canberra musician, curator and historian Jenny Gall.

Jenny, plus Canberra-connected composers Sandy France, Alistair Noble and myself will be writing and performing for this event. I'm working on a couple of pieces using recordings from the pianos at two of Canberra's historic houses, Lanyon and Mugga Mugga: the pianos had been left to themselves for years, preparing their own distinctive soundworlds, and recordings of them in this state contribute to an electroacoustic layer in compositions for those same instruments newly-restored. Here's a clip of Erin Helyard at the Lanyon Broadwood after its rejuvenation by piano whisperer Chris Leslie.

At this year's National Folk Festival I indulged in noisily nostalgic folk-rock, playing suitably trouserflapping bass lines for The Bluetongue Dance Band, while the bass ukulele had a bluesy outing with the Guitar Cases. And in the studio, I'm continuing with Lynne Pilbrow's FunMusic for Little Kids project. We've been working together on Animals, Transport and Christmas themes: now it's Down in the Garden, which means lots of fun field recording without going far afield. Here's a taste of the Transport collection: 

(It's a Welsh seal, by the way: from Ynys Enlli...)

Lynne's Olympic song Light the Flame is youtubing well in the runup to the Games with around 28 kiloviews so far... another Blue Bear Studio production.

October 20, 2015

On October 30th Thomas Laue will be playing a new piece of mine for carillon and soundtrack, which is based on a recording of an insomniac magpie singing beautifully outside my window in the wee small hours. Hence the title, 'Matins'.


The Electrillon concert is a programme of new works by ANU School of Music people, and starts at 12.30pm, on Canberra's Aspen Island, home of the National Carillon.

<< Previous Page   

RSS feed