Simon Bookish is the stage name of Leo Chadburn, a British musician and composer, known for his work in experimental, electronic, pop and classical music. Originally from Coalville, Leicestershire, he moved to London and trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1997 to 2001.
Work as Simon Bookish
To date, Chadburn has released three solo albums under the name Simon Bookish. The first two, Unfair/Funfair (2006) and Trainwreck/Raincheck (2007), combined his voice with synthesizers and laptop computers. His use of spoken word on Trainwreck/Raincheck and in live performances drew comparisons with "Bowie and Baudrillard, Burroughs and Byrne". His third album, Everything/Everything (2008) featured an ensemble of brass instruments, saxophones, Farfisa organ, piano and harp. Chadburn describes this album as "a big band song cycle about science and information".
He has provided remixes of songs for bands and artists such as Grizzly Bear, Franz Ferdinand, The Organ, Owen Pallett, Seb Rochford and Late of the Pier. He has also contributed tracks to the compilation albums Worried Noodles (2007), a compilation of songs with lyrics by artist David Shrigley, and The Wall Re-built! (2010), which celebrated the 30th anniversary of Pink Floyd's The Wall, for Mojo Magazine.
Work as Leo Chadburn
Under his real name, Chadburn has written several works for classical music groups. These include Unison: Things Are Getting Worse for a large ensemble of pianists, performed at the showroom of Markson Pianos in 2010 and X Chairman Maos, written for the ensemble Apartment House and performed at the De La Warr Pavilion to coincide with their Andy Warhol exhibition in 2011.
His string quartet, The Indistinguishables was performed at the 2014 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and his piece for chamber ensemble, Freezywater, commissioned by The Wigmore Hall and performed by Apartment House, won a 2016 British Composer Award.
Chadburn has collaborated on a number of projects with visual artists. In 2009, he wrote the score for Richard Grayson's video installation The Golden Space City of God (exhibited at Matt's Gallery, London and Artpace, San Antonio), which featured a choir shot on location in Texas singing cult religious texts.
In 2012 he collaborated with the artist Tanya Axford on a piece entitled The Path Made by a Boat in Sound (Three Down) for the Whitstable Biennale, and with video artist Jennet Thomas, on her work School of Change, a "sci-fi musical film", again exhibited at Matt's Gallery.
He went on to work with the conceptual artist Cerith Wyn Evans on a choral work for performance at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2013, based on Samuel Beckett's prose text Imagination Dead Imagine.
Chadburn has also written music for the theatre, working with the Royal National Theatre on a new musical score for their 2007 production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, in which he also played the part of "The Singer".
As a performer, he has contributed to the albums of Leafcutter John, Max de Wardener, Patrick Wolf, Serafina Steer and Saint Etienne, credited with recorders, bass clarinet and vocals. He is also credited as a producer on classical percussionist Joby Burgess' album 24 Lies Per Second (2013).
He has occasionally performed works by other experimental composers, including John Cage and Frederic Rzewski, whose piece Coming Together he presented at the first London Contemporary Music Festival in 2013.
Albums as Simon Bookish
- Unfair/Funfair (2006, Use Your Teeth)
- Trainwreck/Raincheck (2007, Use Your Teeth)
- Everything/Everything (2008, Tomlab)
Albums as Leo Chadburn
- Epigram/Microgram (2013, Library of Nothing)
- "Simon Bookish Takes on Everything on Third Album". Pitchfork Media. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Scott, Neil. "The Mind's Construction Quarterly > Simon Bookish". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- Leo Chadburn (16 February 2010). "Guest Blog: Simon Bookish on His Favorite Album of the Decade". Under the Radar. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
- Brainlove, John. "Review / Simon Bookish @ Nog Gallery, Durham". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- Luke Turner (7 November 2008). "Simon Bookish Goes Big Band To Sing Particle Physics And Linguistics". The Quietus. Retrieved 30 October 2009.
- "tomlab". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "The Quietus Reviews Simon Bookish". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
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- Cunningham, David. "a lot of pianos..." Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "Apartment House + Simon Bookish". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "Composers – LSO Soundhub". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
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- "Leo Chadburn Composer's Kitchen 2014". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "BRITISH COMPOSER AWARDS". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "Matt's Gallery – Richard Grayson: The Golden Space City of God". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- Januszczak, Waldemar Januszczak (13 August 2013). "Give credit to the crunch; A rewarding trip to East End galleries proves to Waldemar Januszczak that at least our bad times beget better art". Sunday Times.
- "Tanya Axford". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "Matt's Gallery – Jennet Thomas: All Suffering Soon to End". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "An exhibition exploring art and cinema at the Irish Museum of Modern Art". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- Sam Marlowe (13 March 2007). "The Caucasian Chalk Circle". The Times. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- "Leo Chadburn Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "24 Lies Per Second – Joby Burgess, Powerplant | Credits – AllMusic". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "Kammer Klang: Sebastian Roux + Jennifer Walshe + Lucy Railton/Leo Chadburn: 21 May 2013". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "LondonJazz: Review: Final Two Days at the London Contemporary Music Festival, Peckham". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "LEO CHADBURN – WRITING". Retrieved 13 August 2013.