The first collaborative works we created together, from around 2009 onwards, were based around music. We quickly composed and recorded around two albums' worth of Indie-Rock / Experimental Pop songs, most with accompanying low budget DIY promo videos. Because of our names - Swan and Simian - the MP3 blog creator Paul Kerr (The Devil Has The Best Tuna) suggested early on that we use the name The Bird And The Monkey for our musical output.
Songs by The Bird And The Monkey have aired regularly on BBC 6Music (Tom Robinson), Amazing Radio (Jim Gellatly), Acacia Radio (Ian Hales), TD1 Radio (Donald Strachan) and 92.2 Sheppey FM (Phil Crowder). One early track, Moon Moth, was used in the soundtrack of the BBC2 / digital drama, The Cut, in 2011. That same year our video work was included in the BBC Music Video Festival, featuring screenings on Edinburgh's Big Screen in Festival Square.
With the move into filmmaking and installation art from 2012, we have continued to create left-field musical works. These have tended to venture into more experimental realms complimentary to our filmic, immersive and interdisciplinary artworks.
The first of these to be released commercially was the largely improvised, Things Fall Apart; The Centre Cannot Hold, created for an installation of the same name at Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival in 2015. A 12 minute edit of this soundtrack appeared as the final track on AMPLITUDE-two, the second of The Bird And The Monkey's compilations of early material.
In 2018, having adopted the name Avant Kinema for our interdisciplinary art projects, we collaborated with Newcastle-raised handpan player Undertoad (Neil Coles) on the accompanying music for an Expanded Cinema Performance at Alchemy, Ghost Worlds (Animal Rites). The soundtrack album, put out as a limited edition CD in 2019, was the first musical release under the name Avant Kinema.
Music continues to be a vital element in Avant Kinema's creative output as we develop our work across multiple disciplines.
- Sarahjane Swan and Roger Simian
GHOST WORLDS (ANIMAL RITES) -
AVANT KINEMA / UNDERTOAD (2019)
Soundtrack to an Expanded Cinema Performance
at Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival (2018)