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A Moon That Lights Itself

New release by
Michael Begg

CD / Digital (Bandcamp)

Release Date – 14th November 2016

Early in 2016 Michael Begg was commissioned by Scottish National Galleries to compose a new musical work based around the 19th century painter Charles François Daubigny. Daubigny has in recent times been recognised as one of the principal figures contributing towards the emergence of the impressionist movement.

The resulting work, A Moon That Lights Itself, was premiered at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh on September 16th 2016, with Begg being accompanied by cellist Clea Friend.

this studio recording of the work was completed by Michael Begg immediately following the performance.


During the 1870s, Charles François Daubigny, in the last years of his life, took increasingly to painting nocturnal scenes en plain air from his boat studio, Le Bottin. This was a period in time when the idea of the musical nocturne had progressed from being an indication of what point during the evening a particular piece of music should be played, towards becoming an articulation of the unique atmosphere and emotion occasioned by moonlight.

At this time, elsewhere in France, Edouard-Lean Scott de Martinville conceived and produced the phonautogragh. This device, appearing years before Edison’s phonograph, enabled sound, for the first time, to be captured. Unlike Edison, however, de Martinville neglected – or saw no need – to provide the means to playback the recording. Rather, a visual representation was captured on a lamp black cylinder.

It wasn’t until 2008 when researchers at Berkeley University used digital technology to recover the audio. The recording, the first ever made, was of a human voice singing Au Clair De La Lune.

For further background on the context of this recording the National Galleries blog published an article by Begg in which he discusses his approach to the commission:

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London Show. ICR:35. Begg | Coleclough | Liles | Potter

Michael Begg, Jonathan Coleclough, Andrew Liles and Colin Potter will perform in London, at Cafe Oto, on September 30th 2016. The event, ICR:35, is our way of acknowledging the contribution of Colin Potter’s ICR to the European experimental music scene over an astonishing 35 year period (so far!)

Full details/tickets at the Cafe Oto website:

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A Moon That Lights Itself

Commissioned by National Galleries Scotland, A Moon That Lights Itself is a new piece of music, for electronics, strings and moonlight, by Michael Begg. The work evokes the nocturnal life of the French painter Charles François Daubigny in his later years, floating on his boat studio, addressing, directly, the moon.

The work will be premiered in the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh on September 16th 2016. Michael will be accompanied by cellist, Clea Friend.


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World Fair – now shipping

“This latest album is astonishing even by the high standards I would have held Michael Begg to… World Fair is a formidable work… they have made manifest an album of rare power.”
Brainwashed (USA)

“A peerless masterpiece”
Caleidoscope (Netherlands)

“World Fair is a devastatingly beautiful release from a much under-appreciated group… At the hands of Human Greed obliteration has never sounded so enticing”
Compulsion (UK)

“World Fair is an incredible achievement… Human Greed are criminally undervalued; Begg is one of our most significant contemporary experimental composers. The scale that he has imagined and created with World Fair is testament to this. It is a masterwork.”
Active Listener (UK)

World Fair, charged by both the music of faith and science, is perhaps the most sublimely saddest of all their work to date”
Quietus (UK)

“An excellent release”
Vital Weekly (Netherlands)

Ahead of the retail release date of October 27th, World Fair is shipping direct from Omnempathy Mail Order…

NOTE – the extra Ltd “Heat Death” edition is sold out.

The “Singularity” edition, including a ltd edition additional disk of material by Michael Begg, Deryk Thomas and Colin Potter is still in stock, as is the standard “Entropy” digipak CD edition.

A digital release is available exclusively through our Bandcamp store –



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Human Greed – 2nd World Fair preview video

A second preview clip has been released in advance of World Fair’s formal release date of October 27th.

The clip, “Waiting In A Car” was directed, using stock footage, by Cnada’s Dominic F Marceau, and also features the voice of Nicole M. Boitos Hayworth, the painter and tattoo artist whose Lamb No. 5 adorned the cover of Fortress Longing.


Human Greed :: Waiting in a Car

from the album WORLD FAIR (OMCD05)

Music – Human Greed
Text – Michael Begg
Reader – Nicole M. Boitos Hayworth

Video Edited and Directed by Dominic F. Marceau

Finally, the night has come,
You have kissed goodnight to everyone.
Time has led you
To this tiny singularity

Orion pilots the underworld above
And will absorb your passing
In pitch curtains and black aeons
Fleeting as a fallen eyelash

There is a shadow on the shoreline
A ship bites against her anchor
Fresh blood beads on your lip
Around a fishhook of lost years

Carry on through the morning
With your cut lip
The spilled milk in the grass
And your simple repast

You move inexorably
Towards your supper of coal
And a cot in the snow
The vespers chase the starlings into the night

Finally, the night has come
And you say goodnight to everyone
And look up alone
To feel the night move

“I believe in heat death
I believe in counting stars
Entropy, and lies
We aim so high”

With fishhook and eyelash
With a bead of blood
You make a closed system
Of love, pain and purpose

Your contribution is noted
And instantly forgotten
In the mildewed salon
of wedding gifts

A ship bites against her anchor
The fishhook tugs at your lip
Your father wipes a bead of blood
from your mouth, no longer immortal

Your mother keeps your baby teeth
Among her earrings
Beneath her mirror
No longer immortal

You became a creature of a bigger world
When you saw milk stream from the calf’s mouth
And onto the grass
No longer immortal

The system opens up
Entropy pours through
There is nothing so clean as a mountain
There is no embrace like the snow

Your ecstasies, brief as photos
Fleeting as a fallen eyelash
Sharp as a hook
The ship tugs on your lip

The starlings ride the vesper bells
Your father holds a tissue
You swallow charcoal
So black amidst all this snow

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New Writing. Setting Sounds: Wayward Music and Imagined Space in the Age of Recording

New writing from Michael Begg has been uploaded to his personal blog…

Setting Sounds – Wayward Music and Imagined Space in the Age of Recording

“With recording came the portability of sound. We created the potential for making music nomadic, homeless, a passenger, or familiar to carry with us into our own spaces, our own contexts and settings, in order to satisfy transitory emotional or intellectual need.”