On the Joyzine Advent Calendar we’re giving away free downloads of tracks by artists that we love (including plenty of exclusives and a fair few festive favourites) every day until Christmas Eve on what, as far as we’re aware (and we’re always happy to be corrected), is the longest running such calendar on the web.
As always, the tracks are completely free to download and there’s no need to sign up to any mailing lists to access the songs (though if you’d like to you can join ours here), but if you’re enjoying the tunes we’d love you to make a donation to the wonderful charity Child Poverty Action Group, who work on behalf of the more than one in four children currently growing up in poverty in the UK by providing support to families navigating the social security system, taking legal action to challenge unjust decisions and campaigning for change. You can make a donation on this link.
On today’s Advent Calendar window we have a pair of tracks from electonic explorers. The first, ‘Queens Lane Shuffle’ comes from Oxford’s The May, formerly one half of Joyzine favourites Vienna Ditto but know ploughing his own digital furrow using found sounds and electronic wizardry. The second, ‘Yes, Yes …’, is the fruit of a collaboration between electronic composer Xqui and multi-media artist Bettina Schroeder from their album Up Beat. We asked them all what they’ve been up to over the past 12 months.
What have you been up to in 2022?
The May: I have been experimenting musically, with wildly varying degrees of success! I have a small but engaged Patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/themay, thanks for asking) where I put all my nonsense, it’s nice to have an outlet like that. I’ve also started playing a few gigs, some of which have gone quite well. Others less so.
I released the Rhythm EP on All Will Be Well Records in October, which is here if you want to have a listen: https://themaythemay.bandcamp.com/
I’ve also been writing the music for a theatre production of Measure for Measure, but set in 1920s Vienna and written/directed by Derek Coe, who is a stunner. It’s on at the Abbey Theatre, St Albans, next year.
Xqui: A lot. My latest album, Hymns For Terry Francis, is my fourth of the year. I’ve worked with several heroes – Vince Clarke, Neil Arthur, Mark Stewart and, helped assemble Alpha by Mark & Lee Scratch Perry along with Adrian Sherwood. Several remixes for people like SINE, Helen McCookerybook and Misled Convoy. Also managed to get played on mainstream radio a little.
Bettina Schroeder: To name a few, in 2022 I played at diverse events like INTOX EXTRAVAGANZA at AMP Studios, CINESONIC immersive live audio/visual performance at IKLECTIK, international SKRONKFESTS 2022 at New River Studios, LONDON IMPROVISERS ORCHESTRA , SCALEDOWN#164, THE NOISY PEOPLE’S IMPROVISING ORCHESTRA + live visual arts, spoken word, dance, Cambridge, TWO TRIOS & ONE SEXTET improvised acoustic and synthetic sounds with dance at Hundred Years Gallery, THE NOISY WOMEN PRESENT improvisations, Cambridge, at BOA-TING with Steve Beresford at Bar&Co, Temple Pier, London and more.
As member of the band THE BEACH BULLIES: January this year saw the Release of album ROAD TO HEAVEN on Musclebound Records, and a flurry of radio plays on Resonance FM. In November in collaboration with Xqui I had the pre-release of the album UP Beat on the Wormhole World record label, recently featured on BBC Introducing.
There was further radio play this year of the 2021 album VERSUS (Jude Montague & Bettina Schroeder) at THE OTHER WINDOW, Australian radio 2BOB RADIO, at FUNDERGROUND on Beachhead Radio, Uk and various radio shows at Resonance FM, UK
I also took part at poetry events such as MULTIPOLYSCRIPTOSCRIBBLE poetry in Soho and at CaveSpace, Pimlico and several art Exhibitions by THE TUNNEL artist group at HUNDRED YEARS GALLERY, featuring my paintings and installations, with live performances at the openings.
What do you have planned for next year?
The May: I think I might change my name to Old Man May because it’ll be easier to find on the internet. I also will probably have a baby! And an album! I’m not quite sure how compatible the two things are… Anyhow, the curious can follow my adventures here on https://linktr.ee/themay.
Xqui: The album with Bettina is released at the end of January and I have another album currently being mastered. I hope to continue where 2022 left off with more collaborations and hopefully extend my remix portfolio. I’m also working to get my entire back catalogue up on streaming serviced which is quite a task!
Bettina Schroeder: Next year, on 27th January will be the full release of the album UP Beat on Wormhole World record label with accompanying videos. I am also taking part in an international art exhibition touring Cuba, Switzerland, Germany, UK through 2023/24. In March I will be performing at a poetry event at the Electric Palace in Hastings, as well as diverse music events throughout the year such as SKRONKFEST Amsterdam and Sicily, SCALEDOWN, performances with the London Improvisers Orchestra, and other groups, etc.
What can you tell us about today’s track?
The May: It’s an instrumental exploration of the Nativity through the lens of a street in Halifax where my wife comes from, where they also invented the Rolo.
Xqui: It’s simple but really effective. I approached Bettina to work with her as I love her accent and tones of her voice. ‘Yes Yes’ is often funny but also has a dark side to it I think. It was one of the first album tracks we completed and I find it very infectious.
Bettina Schroeder: ‘Yes, Yes …’ focuses more on the sound of the spoken word. It’s about the finer nuances that emerge when you use the same expression with the same meaning, but in so many variations of tone. I was fascinated by how much you can express, and even change the meaning of the word, just by saying it differently each time. It was interesting how ‘yes’ – a positive, affirmative word – can also be threatening, questioning, ridiculing or even express utter boredom during a conversation, depending on its pronunciation.
What makes the perfect Christmas song?
The May: Too much booze and a furtive office snog. Also ‘Jingle Bells’, which is why ‘I Wanna Be You Dog’ is such a festive favourite.
Xqui: The same as any pop song really – catchy, good chorus and one you don’t get tired of (useful now that Xmas seems to start in October for most people). My current favourite is ‘Christmas Wrapping’ by the Waitresses, it turns all Xmas records on their head. I’m also a massive fan of ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ by Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, still a beautiful message and still relevant today.
Bettina Schroeder: For me a favourite Xmas song would have to be positive, out of the ordinary and with undertones of reality. Failing that, Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ works on most levels!
Download: The May – Queens Lane Shuffle / Xqui x Bettina Schroeder – Yes, Yes…
Find out more about The May here
Follow Xqui on Twitter and find out more about Bettina Schroeder on her website
Photograph of The May performing at Port Mahon by @pittoad
If you enjoy the track, we’d love you to consider making a donation to Child Poverty Action Group
Check back every day until Christmas Eve for more free music – if you’ve missed a day, you’ll find all of this year’s tracks so far on the links below. Merry Christmas everyone!
Day One: Piney Gir – Do Good For Goodness Sake
Day Two: Lost Map Records present Firestations – Swim Under The Winter
Day Three: LOUD WOMEN present Killdren – Expect a Crimewave
Day Four: Scratchy Records present The Rocks, Jonny Cola & The A-Grades, Bromide + Coach Hop
Day Five: Deux Furieuses – Bring Down The Government Home Demo
Day Six: Extradition Order – Bold
Day Seven: Blang Records present Thomas Truax + Faux Fibbers
Day Eight: Alcopop! Records present Dream Nails + Helen Love
Day Nine: MiKey & The SkEletons – On and On
Day Ten: Ben Fox Smith – Human Rights
Day Eleven: Nini Bong + The Fades
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