Martin Heslop is a composer, writer and sound artist based in Newcastle Upon Tyne. He collaborates across art forms, with poets, playwrights, film makers, visual artists, composers, actors and dramaturgs. He has written words and music for publication, for release on record and for performance.
3/10/20 – TO THE END OF THINGS RELEASED ONLINE
To To The End of Things is a narrative sequence of audio-visual poems by Martin Heslop and Helen Tookey begun during a residency at The Elizabeth Bishop House in Nova Scotia in September 2019. The work uses sounds recorded in Canada, films made in north-east England, early recordings of Nova Scotian Gaelic songs, and Martin and Helen’s writing. It was made in response to vivid, evocative land- and soundscapes on either side of the Atlantic, both still echoing with the remnants of industry, the marks it has left and the effect of its loss on the people that live there. Parts 1 – 5 are released by Newcastle Centre For Literary Arts during November 2020. Click on the page above (in the work menu) to watch and listen to the films.
8/6/19 – TWO WEEK RESIDENCY IN NOVA SCOTIA, SEPTEMBER 2019
Martin and poet Helen Tookey have been awarded a prestigious two-week residency at Elizabeth Bishop’s childhood home in Great Village, Nova Scotia, Canada during September 2019. They will be developing a new music and text work using field recordings made during their stay. More to follow.
31/4/19 – LISTEN TO SQUALL HERE
New text and sound work, Squall by Martin Heslop and Helen Tookey. Listen here:
4/4/19 – SQUALL TO BE PREMIERED ON RADIOPHRENIA 2019
Martin and Helen’s new work Squall will be premiered on Radiophrenia 2019 during May. Find out more information here: https://radiophrenia.scot/
5/12/18 – NEW WORK IN DEVELOPMENT
New sound and text work in development – working title Squall – uses text from Helen’s upcoming collection City of Departures forthcoming with Carcanet in July 2019.
*UPDATE* – City of Departures has been nominated for the prestigious Forward Prize for Best Collection. Well done Helen! More information and see the other shortlisted collections here: http://www.forwardartsfoundation.org/2019-forward-prizes/
9/10/18 – ALTERNATING CURRENTS: NOW ONLINE
ALTERNATING CURRENTS | featuring voices of W. N. Herbert, Fiona Sampson, Sean O’Brien, Helene Gelens, Elma van Haren and Menno Wigman.
Commissioned by the Poettrio Experiment for Newcastle Poetry Festival 2018.
7/7/18 – THE LIGHTHOUSE INVITES THE STORM: ALBUM RELEASE
Music/Text/Song/Visual work by Alan Dunn, Martin Heslop & Jeff Young in collaboration with Mariners’ Park.
This new album captures The Lighthouse Invites the Storm performances and has been produced in a numbered edition of 1000.
To request a copy of the CD, email Alan Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org
The CD is free, but any contributions towards p&p are welcome and can be made here: http://alandunn67.co.uk/lowrycd.html
See here for The Lighthouse Invites the Storm project page with audio-visual documentation.
16/3/18 – NEW POETRY/SOUND WORK FOR NEWCASTLE POETRY FESTIVAL
New work ALTERNATING CURRENTS: TRANSMISSIONS FROM THE NORTH SEA to be presented at Newcastle Poetry festival at Sage, Gateshead on Thursday 3rd May.
Commissioned by the Poettrio Experiment (more info: here), a new immersive sound work in response to collaborative poetry translation from leading Dutch and British poets. Imagined as an intercepted cross-border broadcast, Alternating Currents explores the intersection of language, code and music.
See here for more info and tickets: https://www.newcastlepoetryfestival.co.uk/
16/3/18 – UPCOMING RELEASE – THE LIGHTHOUSE INVITES THE STORM
Album of electronic composition, spoken voice and song to be released in July.
Drawing on the stories of merchant seamen, sea-voyages, journeys through the Liverpool night and the rise and fall of Mersey tides, this experimental cross art form composition, was initially commissioned by the Bluecoat and Liverpool John Moores University for live shows in July 2017.
Music and songs by Martin Heslop
Visual art by Alan Dunn
Text by Jeff Young
With Jack Roberts, Mersey Wylie and Vidar Norheim.
More information to follow in the next few weeks.
16/3/18 – UPCOMING TOUR: HORNY HANDED TONS OF SOIL
Horny Handed Tons of Soil, with words by Lizzie Nunnery and music by Martin Heslop, Martin Smith and Vidar Norheim, goes out on tour in a few weeks. Here are the dates and links:
2/7/17 – THE LIGHTHOUSE INVITES THE STORM – LIVE AT THE BLUECOAT, LIVERPOOL AND MARINERS’ PARK, NEW BRIGHTON
Reconnecting Malcolm Lowry to his New Brighton birthplace, each side of the Mersey will play host to a new commission marking the seventieth anniversary of his seminal novel, and the sixtieth anniversary of his death.
The performance The Lighthouse Invites the Storm will encompass live music, film, spoken word and songs. Drawing on the stories of merchant seamen, Lowry’s sea-voyages, his journeys through the Liverpool night and the rise and fall of Mersey tides, this experimental cross art form composition will be performed at Mariners’ Park Care Home in New Brighton and the Bluecoat over two nights, Fri 28th July (Bluecoat) and Sat 29th July (Mariners’), alongside an exciting programme of events.
Commissioned by the Bluecoat and Liverpool John Moores University, artist Alan Dunn, composer Martin Heslop and writer Jeff Young have been working with retired seafarers at Mariners’ Park over the past six months, uncovering hidden stories and adventures which have inspired the work.
More info here and full programme of events here: http://www.thelighthouseinvitesthestorm.com/
Tickets for the Bluecoat here: https://uk.patronbase.com/_Bluecoat/Productions/4SR/Performances
Tickets for Mariners’ Park here:
2/7/17 – HORNY HANDED TONS OF SOIL – LIVE AT THE UNITY THEATRE, LIVERPOOL
The city is alive. Wandering the streets, The Child, The Poet and Death trace memories and map dreams onto a landscape shifting under the spell of time.
Inspired by the eclectic work of Adrian Henri in the 50th anniversary year of The Mersey Sound, ‘Horny Handed Tons of Soil’ fuses beat poetry with folk song; electronic composition with live brass and percussion; documentary film with theatrical storytelling.
Extract performed live on Front Row on Radio 4:
20/02/17 – UPCOMING: 3 NEW PROJECTS
The Lighthouse Invites the Storm will be a large scale installation and live performance by Alan Dunn, Martin Heslop & Jeff Young in collaboration with poet Helen Tookey, retired seafarers from the Wirral and sound artists from Mexico.
Fort Perch Rock & Lighthouse, New Brighton, 24-30 July.
More details to follow.
(Image copyright Hidden Wirral 2014)
Horny Handed Tons of Soil at Unity Theatre, Liverpool, 13th – 15th July 2017.
A theatrical collaboration combining poetry, live music, storytelling and film, exploring themes of destruction, construction and memory within the stories of what has been lost and found in the re-sculpting of the Liverpool landscape over the last fifty years
Written by Lizzie Nunnery, Martin Heslop and Vidar Norheim with Martin Smith.
Film and Video by Tim Brunsden.
Tickets and more info here: https://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/whats-on/hornyhanded-tons-of-soil.html#about
The Sum is a new play by Lizzie Nunnery, directed by Gemma Bodinetz, with live music from Vidar Norheim and Martin Heslop, at Liverpool Everyman, 6th – 20th May 2017
More details to follow – more info and tickets here: https://www.everymanplayhouse.com/whats-on/the-sum
29/11/16 – LONDON ROAD – THE BALLAD OF RAY AND JULIE
Photo by Alan Dunn
To mark the last few months of RAY + JULIE, artist Alan Dunn, composer Martin Heslop and writer Jeff Young have produced a limited edition 7″ single LONDON ROAD ’66 + ’81. The record, with photography by Vesta Hex and design by Martyn Rainford, brings together two spoken word RAY + JULIE pieces from Electronic Voice Phenomena and Composers’ Laboratory at METAL. With additional voice by Emma French, it is released in an edition of 300.
For more, and to listen to the tracks, see http://alandunn67.co.uk/londonroadtheballadofrayandjulienovember2016.html.
24/11/16 – THIS THURSDAY LIVE AT THE EVERYMAN, LIVERPOOL
15/9/16 – LIVE AT METAL WITH IMMIX ENSEMBLE
Immix Ensemble present Invisible Trains and other works, including A552 HEX by Martin Heslop and Jeff Young.
Metal, Edge Hill Station, Liverpool – 19.30
More on Immix here: http://immixensemble.co.uk/
Ticket info here: immixensemble.eventbrite.com
15/7/16 – LIVE AT PROTOHOME
New works being performed live from 18.30 – 20.00 – Protohome, Stepney Bank, Newcastle
PROTOHOME is open to the public to visit and plays host to a programme of events including talks, exhibitions, public forums, film screenings, artist residencies, performances, workshops and more, examining the collaborative design/build process and wider issues concerning housing and homelessness in an austerity context, participatory alternatives and the politics of land and development.
18/3/16 – LIVE AT THE PHILHARMONIC
First outing for a newly commissioned work, Liverpool, I Love Your Horny Handed Tons of Soil. Words by Lizzie Nunnery, Music by Martin Heslop and Vidar Norheim.
It will be premiered as part of Liverpool Acoustic Festival tonight 18th March at 19.05. Find out more about the night here:
Photos courtesy of Edward Chambre Hardman and Liverpool Records Office.
8/3/16 – A552 HEX
A552 HEX by Jeff Young and Martin Heslop for Translating the Street – Birkenhead, March 2016. Listen to it in full here:
And an interview with Frank Cavanagh (cobbler) and Jeff Young (writer) here:
Images by Rept0n1x
4/3/16 – TRANSLATING THE STREET
New audio work A552 HEX by Jeff Young and Martin Heslop commissioned by Alternator Studio, Birkenhead, as part of Translating the Street, taking place on Sat 5th March, 10.30 – 17.00, in various shops around Oxton Road, Birkenhead.
A552 HEX will begin at Frank Cavanagh’s Cobbler Shop, one of the last remaining businesses on Borough Road, Birkenhead. Frank has been a cobbler for over 60 years.
For more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/976244515783695/
4/2/16 – SCHWITTERS
Two new sound works by Alan Dunn, Jeff Young and Martin Heslop.
Broadcast as part of CITIES AND MEMORY, to mark the centenary of the founding of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. curated by Stuart Fowkes, February 2016.
See post to listen to the pieces.
20/1/16 – FOUR WORDS
Four Words – curated by Alan Dunn, Liverpool Media Wall, 3.00 – 4.00pm on Wednesday 20th January 2016, supported by Arts Council England, Seedbed, Metal Liverpool and Ocean Outdoor.
Four Words is one of the Liverpool Provocations, a series of four new public-realm artworks for Liverpool city centre taking place during the January sales season. The project has been developed by Metal Liverpool in conjunction with artist Alan Dunn.
Sam Ainsley / Hala Al Alaiwat / Sean Ashton / Clarisse Aubert / Shaista Aziz (writer and journalist) / Fiona Banner / Alex Bellos (broadcaster and author of ‘Alex’s Adventures in Numberland’) / Franco Bianchini (Professor of Cultural Policy and Planning, Leeds Beckett University) / Chris Bishop / Terry Boyle / Jessie Brennan / Pavel Büchler / Billy Cancel / Jayne Casey / Matthew Caygill (Senior Lecturer, Cultural Studies And Humanities, Leeds Beckett University) / Roger Cliffe-Thompson / Clinic / Sara Clowes (community gardener) / Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (author of ‘Gigi’ 1944) / Douglas Coupland / Shaun Curtis / DaDaFest / Alan Dunn / Zak Dunn-Jurack (aged 16) / Jason K. Dy, SJ (Filipino/Artist/Priest) / Nina Edge / Jack Ehlen / Chris Erskine / Damon Fairclough / David Fairclough (Liverpool FC 1975-83) / Steve Faragher (Kensington Vision CIC and Liverpool Community Radio) / Foreign Investment / Forest Swords / Miro Griffiths (DaDaFest) / Shanaz Gulzar / David Harding / Marion Harrison / Bethany Hermitt / Julia Heslop / Martin Heslop / Roger Hill / Stewart Home / Derek Horton / David Jacques / Philip Jeck / Nathan Jones / Brigitte Jurack / Rudy Kanhye / Kath Keith, Rob Keith (retired seafarer) / Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner (economist and journalist, authors of ‘Freakonomics’) / Jonathan Lindh (eco architect) / Ollie Longhurst (DaDaFest) / LUST3R / Luther Blissett High School / Elizabeth Flanagan McCormick / Harry Meadley / Nathaniel Mellors / Mark Melvin / MeYouAndUs / Paul Morley (music journalist and author) / Simon Morris / Julie Nugent (Young People’s Domestic Violence Advisor, Cumbria) / Harold Offeh / Julieann O’Malley / Joe Fletcher Orr / Samela Otovic / Bernadette O’Toole / Ben Parry / Captain Pengelly (retired seafarer) / PIES / Leo Plumb / Claire Potter / James Quin / Jamie Reid / Rachel Reupke / The Reverend Max Ripple / Gerhard Richter / Paul Rooney / SEEDS (support for the Eastern European and Roma communities in Liverpool) / Bryony Shakespeare-Smyth / Liu Shaojun / Dr Katy Shaw (Principal Lecturer in Contemporary Writings, Leeds Beckett University) / Eoin Shea / David Shrigley / Ross Sinclair / Yann Steunou-Murray (A-level student) / Michelle Stubbs (DaDaFest) / Paul Sullivan (Static) / Superflex / Dr Zoë Tew-Thompson (Senior Lecturer in Media, Communication, Cultures, Leeds Beckett University & New Media Geographies Students) / Alma Tischler Wood / James Treadell / Nandu Ullegaddi (Age UK Wirral) / Sam Wade (DaDaFest) / Harriet Walsh (Permaculture) / Andy Warhol / Esther Wilson / beate maria wörz / Jeff Young / Jess Young & Jennifer Conway
23/10/15 – LIVE AT THE BLUECOAT
Readings from acclaimed Dublin-born poet Tara Bergin and Liverpool-based poet and playwright Jeff Young in response to the work of Niamh O’Malley whose current exhibition Glasshouse is running at The Bluecoat. Also featuring brand new music by writer, composer and sound artist Martin Heslop.
Part of Liverpool Irish Festival – See more at:
See more about Niamh O’Malley here: http://www.niamhomalley.com/
28/9/15 – ARTHUR DOOLEY’S BLACK CHRIST RESURRECTED
Arthur Dooley’s statue Black Christ is resurrected on the Princes Park Methodist Church in Toxteth after restoration work. A commemorative booklet is available to buy featuring poems by Martin Heslop and Jeff Young inspired by Arthur’s work.
There’s an article about the sculpture here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/content/articles/2006/12/22/divine_art_dooley_sculpture_feature.shtml
And about its resurrection here: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-sculptor-arthur-dooleys-black-10143897#ICID
26/9/15 – 23 ENIGMA RELEASED
Release of hand-sewn booklets with the text of 23 Enigma by Jeff Young alongside a live recording of the piece with music by Martin Heslop and Vidar Norheim on sale here:
Link to article about it here: http://www.bidolito.co.uk/content/issue-60
15/9/15 – NARVIK REVIEWS
The Guardian – 4 stars – “…..But it is the music – a skein of electronically filtered shanties and ballads performed by Nunnery and her regular collaborators Vidar Norheim and Martin Heslop – that is used to most atmospheric effect. It’s almost a tease, as fragments of melody mysteriously appear and suddenly melt away, with the confidence of a writer who has talent to burn.”
And other reviews here: http://boxoftrickstheatre.co.uk/news/narvik-reviews-round-up/
1/9/15 – NARVIK
Narvik is written by Lizzie Nunnery, music composed by Martin Heslop and Vidar Norheim, directed by Hannah Tyrell-Pinder, designed by Maeve Black. Produced by Box of Tricks and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.
It runs at Liverpool Playhouse from Tue 8th until Sat 19TH September. Tickets available here: http://www.everymanplayhouse.com/whats-on/narvik
12/8/15 – STUPLEX OO2 RELEASED
New story Rapt published in Stuplex 002 – a box full of writing, visual art and spoken word recordings on the theme of decadence.
Buy it here: http://www.stuplex.co.uk/shop/
1/10/14 – BRIGHT PHOENIX – PICTURES AND REVIEWS
The Guardian – 4 Stars:
“A plea on behalf of the liminal figures that give Liverpool its soul.”
“Serdar Bilis’s production provides a cascade of images, beautifully designed by Ti Green, to suggest a fault line running between the city’s derelict past and its shiny, regenerated future…….with nocturnal torch songs and aggressive punk outbursts by composer Martin Heslop forming an integral part of the action.”
Liverpool Echo– 4 Stars
“at times crazily beautiful”
“trippy, dreamy, poetic”
“Directed by Serdar Bilis, it’s both ragged and beautiful, melancholy and ecstatic, sordid and exultant”
“its audacity, swagger and reckless unpredictability keep you hooked on its intoxicating, fantastical night-flight”
“Martin Heslop’s achingly lovely live music”
What’s On Stage – 4 Stars
British Theatre Guide:
“a piece of work brimming with vitality, a theatrical firework that snaps, crackles and pops”
“Bright Phoenix roles along on adrenaline alone”
“intoxicatingly, seductive musical score”
“The humour is earthy, performances earnest and production hugely creative. It all adds up to a rather exotic blend of saturnalia”
Click Liverpool – 5 Stars:
1/10/14 – BRIGHT PHOENIX
Opens at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, 8th October. Written by Jeff Young. Music and songs by Martin Heslop. Directed by Serdar Bilis. Designed by Ti Green. Video designer – Louis Price. Lighting designer – Chahine Yavroyan.
1/10/14 – SPIDER WEB CITY
A new video-work presented at Uncharted Festival in Porto Palermo Castle in the south of Albania from 8th-11th August.
Over the course of three months Julia Heslop has been working in Bathore, an informal settlement on the outskirts of Tirana, Albania’s capital city, tracing the history of this contentious community. In collaboration with composer Martin Heslop, the research has gone beyond Bathore, to Puka, Tropoja and Kukes, searching for the traditional music and musicians and the vacant villages of the north. The video follows the roots of one 21-year-old girl, born in Puka and raised in Bathore since the age of one. Her story represents the first generation of Bathore and the area as it is now, as it has become.
The work follows the girl’s experience of growing up in a community built by people, from the ground up, from working hands and sweat drenched brows. She speaks of her aspirations for what the youth of Bathore can build, can change – the endless possibilities of place. Through a converging dance of image and sound the viewer is invited to trace the emergence, expansion and reimagining of place; of a town coming to maturity.
A sealed A5 box containing signed and numbered hand-sewn booklets, prints, poetry, music and sound on the theme of decay.
Contributing to Stuplex 001 are Geoff Bunn, Alan Dunn, Damon Fairclough, Martin Heslop, A.E. Pearsall, Paul Simpson, Will Sergeant and Jeff Young.
Limited edition, available to buy here – http://www.stuplex.co.uk/product/stuplex-001/