Strange Dance is the name of an exhibition that opens on March 1st at Gallery 11, Cromwell Place, London sw7, an exhibition that sees the culmination of a longstanding collaboration between Radiohead’s drummer Philip Selway (b.1967) and painter Stewart Geddes (b.1961). The exhibition features the artwork for Philip’s new solo album of the same name – his 3rd venture outside Radiohead – which is due to for release in February 2023 (around about now then)
The pair began the project remotely during the lockdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, with weekly conversations by video link. The two men had met before the pandemic: but it was in their isolation, speaking studio to studio, that Geddes and Selway developed a creative friendship that quickly flourished into collaboration. ‘You had to occupy one space, you had to slow down,’ Selway says of lockdown, ‘which allowed these conversations to grow.’
Selway was working on new songs at his home in Oxfordshire, Geddes commuting through the vacant streets of Bristol to paint in his studio in Bedminster. They talked of their work and its challenges, about their families, about football. Selway might play early versions of new songs, Geddes pan the video camera around the studio to show his paintings in progress. Selway invited Geddes to create the album art for Strange Dance (2023). What was unusual about this collaboration, beyond its unfamiliar circumstances, was that the visual elements were by no means an afterthought: the paintings and the music developed in parallel to each other.
Geddes set out not to illustrate the songs, but to respond to their mood as it increasingly came into focus. He listened to tracks before Selway had added lyrics to them, but with the chord structures and melodic arcs in place. And then he started work, painting with the canvases laid horizontally and raised slightly from the floor, the seep of the music into his mind echoed in the spread of acrylic paint across their dampened, unprimed surfaces.
“The paintings celebrate the process of collaboration, with its shared willingness and its openness”.
The Strange Dance Exhibition happens at Gallery 11, Cromwell Place, London SW7 2JE. The exhibition runs from 1st until 5th March. The gallery is open 10am until 6pm. The show is hosted by Tin Man Art…
In terms of the album the Bella Union website tells us, “Philip Selway returns with new solo album featuring guest appearances from Hannah Peel, Adrian Utley, Quinta, Marta Salogni, Valentina Magaletti and Laura Moody.
Philip Selway has announced news of his new album Strange Dance released 24th February via Bella Union and available to preorder here. To accompany the announcement Selway has shared a visualizer for beguiling lead track “Check For Signs Of Life”.
When Philip Selway approached some of his favourite musicians to play on his third solo record he said he imagined it as a Carole King record if she collaborated with the pioneering electronic composer Daphne Oram and invited him to drum on it. Unsurprisingly they were all sold, and so began the bringing together of an extraordinary number of gifted people, including Hannah Peel, Adrian Utley, Quinta, Marta Salogni, Valentina Magaletti and Laura Moody…..” read n via the Bella Union website