A Foreign Country

Recordings from selected past performances
"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

The Road To Mount Helicon

The Muse Gallery
Notting Hill
Friday 17th April 2015

Tuesdays Post

The Others
Stoke Newington
Sunday 5th October 2014

 Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral
Lady Chapel
Thursday 4th June 2009

One of the key objectives for Map 165 is to play in spaces which will inspire their planned improvisational approach to music.

The vast stone interior of the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral is arguably the perfect place for them to perform; a vast hall of light and pale stonework with a span of forty six feet, the Lady Chapel is the largest of any English cathedral.

The building is one of the greatest achievements of English architecture and the space is famed for its seven second reverberation, something that Map 165 put to good use.

A building such as this is redolent in history and atmosphere, something that fed directly into Map 165’s performance.

St. Peter’s Church

24th February 2008

An evening of music and poetry with Map 165 and Katrina Porteous

Giving Voice To Silence

The Flea Pit
Thursday 6th December 2007

There is a rich history of providing soundtracks for classic silent films and in this way discovering something new about the pieces. This is especially true of the work of the early 20th century Surrealists. Their extraordinary and pioneering work still amazes and provides a wonderful opportunity to marry creative sound to their startling images.

To this end, Map 165 will be providing new soundtracks for a selection of short Surrealist films by Leger and Man Ray.

Using their usual ‘planned improvisation’ method, Martin A. Smith and Tim Hooper hope to unearth new meanings and deeper complexities within the films.

Click here to see the films

Union Chapel

Friday 19th October 2007

Map 165 is a performing vehicle for Martin A. Smith and Tim Hooper to explore their ‘planned improvisations’ in unique settings. Smith has worked on a number of film and television soundtracks, some of which are incorporated into their live performance, blended with live instruments, found sounds and samples. Their sound is spacious, sometimes dark but always beautiful.

“A Heaven in a Wild Flower”

William Blake

St. Peter’s Church
Saturday 8th September 2007

Martin A. Smith and Tim Hooper brought ‘pre-planned improvisation’ to a Medieval church in rural Cambridgeshire. As part of the 2007 Duxford Festival, they have been asked to provide an evening of ‘contemplative music’ to be played in St. Peter’s Church amid the flowers, candles and pews of this simple but beautiful sacred space.

The duo will play a number of pre-planned pieces based on the theme of flowers and religious devotion; including Smith’s soundtrack music to ‘The Joining of Heaven and Earth’ (a film tracing the pilgrim route to Santiago De Compostela) and Hooper’s ‘Music for a Village Passion Play’.

The performance will make extensive use of lighting and a series of specially commissioned projected images by Spine Design.

“For the flowers are great blessings.”
Christopher Smart


The Muse Gallery
Tuesday 6th April 2005

"Ground" is not a high concept piece. It is simply a "rapid reaction force" appropriate to the situation. It is also gravity resistant i.e. ignore and enjoy. Some pieces demand to be fed, others simply graze in nearby fields providing foreground interest for the more spectacular hills beyond. This is one such sheep.

The "Ground" poems were written in 1989 to try and capture the creative process of drawing and painting. They have languished contentedly since then, but now their quiet moment has come.

For this piece the twelve poems have been recorded and electronically treated.

"Ground" is designed to be presented in a noisy room. The chink of glasses and the rising inflection of desperate self-promotion is part of the piece. Voices and lines will compete with conversation, promises and lies. We would be happy for the poems to struggle against the dull thud of vol-au-vents hitting the floor, or the casual slop of warm white wine on grubby carpet. this is real life of sorts.

One would prefer to see ones children struggling in the world to a resolution of sorts rather than over-protecting them.

However, there is always the possibility that the co-habitués of the performance space will not play their part )forgetting lines they never knew they must learn) and thus the piece is bolstered and stifled by Digital Silt (dark grey tines, skin irritants and grit), Cloud Wonder (fleeting puffs of loveliness, probably pink and certainly guitar generated) and Digital Itching. As a counterpoint to the poems, there are patches of art noise - close-mike recordings of movements and activity including charcoal drawing, brushes on canvas, paper cutting, water colour painting and sketching.

All the soundbanks are set to play randomly, ensuring that any future performance will be unique.