Experimental musician Claire M Singer is a music director at Union Chapel, London, home of Henry Willis’s majestic 1877 pipe organ, which features on her album Solas. Courtesy Martin Gray.
Experimental musician Claire M Singer is a music director at Union Chapel, London, home of Henry Willis’s majestic 1877 pipe organ, which features on her album Solas. Courtesy Martin Gray.

Album review: Claire Singer’s organ music and the pipes of Brexit



We tend to think of technology in an ever-present state of the gleaming and the new. In the age of now, anything in the realm of the technological is digital, miniaturised or plastic in either a literal or figurative sense. And so it must have always been, at least in a way that would have pointed forward to the mono-directional march of history.

But what of the organ? What of that huge, heaving machine from a distant past when machines weren’t anything like what the notion of machinery calls to mind now? There’s an organ of the sort in London, at Union Chapel, that is nothing if not a technological marvel – even at an age approaching 140 years old.

Built in 1877, its legacy owes to a number of distinctive features. It was designed by Henry “Father” Willis, a pivotal figure among those who admire masterful Victorian-era organ builders of yore. It’s the sole remaining example in England of an organ with a fully operating hydraulic power system, meaning the air coursing through its pipes can be blown by water. Of the pipes, there are more than 2,000, ranging in sizes from a few inches to the height of three people standing on end, with extra reach for arms at the top.

Emblems of archaic church services and rituals from before the advent of electricity, organs of the sort sound old, almost ancient in a way. But then they also sound beamed back from some distant time that has not yet transpired, a signal from the future and a past still stirring in our bones.

The organ at Union Chapel, historic but actively played, features prominently on a new album by Claire M Singer, and it would be hard not to hear it in mind of the news roiling England of late.

England never lacks for a certain pull between the present and a deep past, but there has been no escaping it in recent weeks, after the Brexit vote upended a nation and threatened to break apart allegiances and détentes ages-old.

The Molendinar, a standalone 25-minute track that takes up one of two CDs for Singer's album Solas, showcases the Union Chapel organ in a grand fashion. The song was recorded in the chapel (as songs involving enormous and thus immobile organs must), and there is an otherworldly power in hearing several, many, even dozens of drastically different musical moods being expressed all at once, in any one cluster or cloud of notes being summoned in any one given moment.

That’s what pipe organs are uniquely suited to do: scramble the signals of what might inform an elementary musical language of tidy binary sentiments like happy or sad, dark or bright, quiet or loud, mournful in a minuscule way or celebratory in a scale fit for the high heavens. A note on an organ summons all of those couplings simultaneously and complicates what it would mean to consider any one without the other.

The Molendinar opens with a spell of silence slowly filled out by a sound that patiently, portentously rises. It's like you can hear the air making its initial way through hollow metal pipes of gigantic size, the early digestive stirrings of an instrument that will spew. From there it's a methodical folding-in of notes in a droning manner, with an interest in subtly undulating masses of sound and ethereal overtones. It is an organ of incredible stature and Singer knows her way around the instrument as the acting music director of Union Chapel and public programmes offered there.

Singer is also an avant-gardist, as suggested by Solas's release on the UK label Touch, one of the premier labels for experimental music and sound-art in the world. Other tracks show her range, such as A Different Place, a tense and swooning swirl of strings from a cello recast abstractly in an electro-acoustic fashion. Cello and organ sounds come in for electronic treatment in places, but the whole of Solas maintains a grounding in the past as much as intimations from a musical future.

A certain reliquary air hangs around experimental electronic music of late. Love Streams, the new album by ace Canadian agitated-ambient artist Tim Hecker, is said to have been inspired by 15th-century choral scores, particularly ones with origins in polyphonic composition (read: many musical voices at once). It comes with an irresistible quotation line from Hecker aligning it with a stated curiosity in "liturgical aesthetics after Yeezus", imagining a kind of postmodern church music after the famously brash and electronically antagonised album by Kanye West.

Hecker's music, made with computers and analogue gear, has little to place it in the past, with textures and habits of movement that could only come from technologically abetted compositional means. But the atmosphere of Love Streams suggests a kind of strategic anachronism and mustiness, too, a way for new music to explore a curiosity about eras unfamiliar to more contemporary musical understanding.

Castrati Stack, a haunting track with high-pitched, angelic voices floating and flitting through a densely data-mapped soundfield, alludes in its title to a long-abandoned practice of binding male singing voices in Italy by castrating singers before puberty. It's a centuries-old phenomenon and the thought of it is enough to make one wonder, backward, through the puzzle of time.

The organ in Singer’s music makes for similar occasions. Falling under the sway of its entrancing effects, rising and dropping in time with its waves of melancholy and exaltation, offers a poignant accompaniment to thinking through the prospect of England’s fated present and past. No one knows how it will all play out. But there’s little question that, even among voters who vociferously supported it, the move to leave the European Union has aroused a crisis of identity and conscience on all sides. Is the makeup of England changing irretrievably – not to mention what has for so long constituted Great Britain and the United Kingdom? Is history happening right in front of us, as it always does, in messy, irrational real-time?

One more question to mull, for the road: can the churning of tectonic plates in the geopolitical firmament be heard in the airy utterances of old organ sounds?

Andy Battaglia is a New York-based writer whose work appears in The Wall Street Journal, Frieze, The Paris Review and more.

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Terra
Started: 2021
Based: Dubai
Founder: Hussam Zammar
Sector: Mobility
Investment stage: Pre-seed funding of $1 million

Why your domicile status is important

Your UK residence status is assessed using the statutory residence test. While your residence status – ie where you live - is assessed every year, your domicile status is assessed over your lifetime.

Your domicile of origin generally comes from your parents and if your parents were not married, then it is decided by your father. Your domicile is generally the country your father considered his permanent home when you were born. 

UK residents who have their permanent home ("domicile") outside the UK may not have to pay UK tax on foreign income. For example, they do not pay tax on foreign income or gains if they are less than £2,000 in the tax year and do not transfer that gain to a UK bank account.

A UK-domiciled person, however, is liable for UK tax on their worldwide income and gains when they are resident in the UK.

Story behind the UAE flag

The UAE flag was first unveiled on December 2, 1971, the day the UAE was formed. 

It was designed by Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah, 19, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi. 

Mr Al Maainah said in an interview with The National in 2011 he chose the colours for local reasons. 

The black represents the oil riches that transformed the UAE, green stands for fertility and the red and white colours were drawn from those found in existing emirate flags.

How the bonus system works

The two riders are among several riders in the UAE to receive the top payment of £10,000 under the Thank You Fund of £16 million (Dh80m), which was announced in conjunction with Deliveroo's £8 billion (Dh40bn) stock market listing earlier this year.

The £10,000 (Dh50,000) payment is made to those riders who have completed the highest number of orders in each market.

There are also riders who will receive payments of £1,000 (Dh5,000) and £500 (Dh2,500).

All riders who have worked with Deliveroo for at least one year and completed 2,000 orders will receive £200 (Dh1,000), the company said when it announced the scheme.

UAE’s revised Cricket World Cup League Two schedule

August, 2021: Host - United States; Teams - UAE, United States and Scotland

Between September and November, 2021 (dates TBC): Host - Namibia; Teams - Namibia, Oman, UAE

December, 2021: Host - UAE; Teams - UAE, Namibia, Oman

February, 2022: Hosts - Nepal; Teams - UAE, Nepal, PNG

June, 2022: Hosts - Scotland; Teams - UAE, United States, Scotland

September, 2022: Hosts - PNG; Teams - UAE, PNG, Nepal

February, 2023: Hosts - UAE; Teams - UAE, PNG, Nepal

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

LOS ANGELES GALAXY 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 5

Galaxy: Dos Santos (79', 88')
United: Rashford (2', 20'), Fellaini (26'), Mkhitaryan (67'), Martial (72')

WITHIN SAND

Director: Moe Alatawi

Starring: Ra’ed Alshammari, Adwa Fahd, Muhand Alsaleh

Rating: 3/5

UAE v West Indies

First ODI - Sunday, June 4
Second ODI - Tuesday, June 6
Third ODI - Friday, June 9

Matches at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. All games start at 4.30pm

UAE squad
Muhammad Waseem (captain), Aayan Khan, Adithya Shetty, Ali Naseer, Ansh Tandon, Aryansh Sharma, Asif Khan, Basil Hameed, Ethan D’Souza, Fahad Nawaz, Jonathan Figy, Junaid Siddique, Karthik Meiyappan, Lovepreet Singh, Matiullah, Mohammed Faraazuddin, Muhammad Jawadullah, Rameez Shahzad, Rohan Mustafa, Sanchit Sharma, Vriitya Aravind, Zahoor Khan

WandaVision

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany

Directed by: Matt Shakman

Rating: Four stars

Brief scoreline

Switzerland 0

England 0

Result: England win 6-5 on penalties

Man of the Match: Trent Alexander-Arnold (England)

The bio

Date of Birth: April 25, 1993
Place of Birth: Dubai, UAE
Marital Status: Single
School: Al Sufouh in Jumeirah, Dubai
University: Emirates Airline National Cadet Programme and Hamdan University
Job Title: Pilot, First Officer
Number of hours flying in a Boeing 777: 1,200
Number of flights: Approximately 300
Hobbies: Exercising
Nicest destination: Milan, New Zealand, Seattle for shopping
Least nice destination: Kabul, but someone has to do it. It’s not scary but at least you can tick the box that you’ve been
Favourite place to visit: Dubai, there’s no place like home

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire

Director: Zack Snyder
Stars: Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, Ed Skrein, Michiel Huisman, Charlie Hunnam
Rating: 2/5

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Simon Pegg
Rating: 4/5

Dr Amal Khalid Alias revealed a recent case of a woman with daughters, who specifically wanted a boy.

A semen analysis of the father showed abnormal sperm so the couple required IVF.

Out of 21 eggs collected, six were unused leaving 15 suitable for IVF.

A specific procedure was used, called intracytoplasmic sperm injection where a single sperm cell is inserted into the egg.

On day three of the process, 14 embryos were biopsied for gender selection.

The next day, a pre-implantation genetic report revealed four normal male embryos, three female and seven abnormal samples.

Day five of the treatment saw two male embryos transferred to the patient.

The woman recorded a positive pregnancy test two weeks later. 

SANCTIONED
  • Kirill Shamalov, Russia's youngest billionaire and previously married to Putin's daughter Katarina
  • Petr Fradkov, head of recently sanctioned Promsvyazbank and son of former head of Russian Foreign Intelligence, the FSB. 
  • Denis Bortnikov, Deputy President of Russia's largest bank VTB. He is the son of Alexander Bortnikov, head of the FSB which was responsible for the poisoning of political activist Alexey Navalny in August 2020 with banned chemical agent novichok.  
  • Yury Slyusar, director of United Aircraft Corporation, a major aircraft manufacturer for the Russian military.
  • Elena Aleksandrovna Georgieva, chair of the board of Novikombank, a state-owned defence conglomerate.
Should late investors consider cryptocurrencies?

Wealth managers recommend late investors to have a balanced portfolio that typically includes traditional assets such as cash, government and corporate bonds, equities, commodities and commercial property.

They do not usually recommend investing in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies due to the risk and volatility associated with them.

“It has produced eye-watering returns for some, whereas others have lost substantially as this has all depended purely on timing and when the buy-in was. If someone still has about 20 to 25 years until retirement, there isn’t any need to take such risks,” Rupert Connor of Abacus Financial Consultant says.

He adds that if a person is interested in owning a business or growing a property portfolio to increase their retirement income, this can be encouraged provided they keep in mind the overall risk profile of these assets.

Result
Qualifier: Islamabad United beat Karachi Kings by eight wickets

Fixtures
Tuesday, Lahore: Eliminator 1 - Peshawar Zalmi v Quetta Gladiators
Wednesday, Lahore: Eliminator 2 – Karachi Kings v Winner of Eliminator 1
Sunday, Karachi: Final – Islamabad United v Winner of Eliminator 2

Fund-raising tips for start-ups

Develop an innovative business concept

Have the ability to differentiate yourself from competitors

Put in place a business continuity plan after Covid-19

Prepare for the worst-case scenario (further lockdowns, long wait for a vaccine, etc.) 

Have enough cash to stay afloat for the next 12 to 18 months

Be creative and innovative to reduce expenses

Be prepared to use Covid-19 as an opportunity for your business

* Tips from Jassim Al Marzooqi and Walid Hanna

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Liverpool 4-1 Shrewsbury

Liverpool
Gordon (34'), Fabinho (44' pen, 90'+3), Firmino (78')

Shrewsbury
Udoh (27'minutes)

Man of the Match: Kaide Gordon (Liverpool)

The specs

Engine: 8.0-litre, quad-turbo 16-cylinder

Transmission: 7-speed auto

0-100kmh 2.3 seconds

0-200kmh 5.5 seconds

0-300kmh 11.6 seconds

Power: 1500hp

Torque: 1600Nm

Price: Dh13,400,000

On sale: now

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Know before you go
  • Jebel Akhdar is a two-hour drive from Muscat airport or a six-hour drive from Dubai. It’s impossible to visit by car unless you have a 4x4. Phone ahead to the hotel to arrange a transfer.
  • If you’re driving, make sure your insurance covers Oman.
  • By air: Budget airlines Air Arabia, Flydubai and SalamAir offer direct routes to Muscat from the UAE.
  • Tourists from the Emirates (UAE nationals not included) must apply for an Omani visa online before arrival at evisa.rop.gov.om. The process typically takes several days.
  • Flash floods are probable due to the terrain and a lack of drainage. Always check the weather before venturing into any canyons or other remote areas and identify a plan of escape that includes high ground, shelter and parking where your car won’t be overtaken by sudden downpours.

 

RESULTS

5pm: Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 1,400m
Winner: AF Tathoor, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer)
5.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh70,000 1,000m
Winner: Dahawi, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi
6pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 2,000m
Winner: Aiz Alawda, Fernando Jara, Ahmed Al Mehairbi
6.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 2,000m
Winner: ES Nahawand, Fernando Jara, Mohammed Daggash
7pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 1,600m
Winner: Winked, Connor Beasley, Abdallah Al Hammadi
7.30pm: Al Ain Mile Group 3 (PA) Dh350,000 1,600m
Winner: Somoud, Connor Beasley, Ahmed Al Mehairbi
8pm: Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 1,600m
Winner: Al Jazi, Fabrice Veron, Eric Lemartinel

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

The essentials

What: Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

When: Friday until March 9

Where: All main sessions are held in the InterContinental Dubai Festival City

Price: Sessions range from free entry to Dh125 tickets, with the exception of special events.

Hot Tip: If waiting for your book to be signed looks like it will be timeconsuming, ask the festival’s bookstore if they have pre-signed copies of the book you’re looking for. They should have a bunch from some of the festival’s biggest guest authors.

Information: www.emirateslitfest.com
 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg
Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

When: April 25, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 1, Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Ejari
Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Founders: Yazeed Al Shamsi, Fahad Albedah, Mohammed Alkhelewy and Khalid Almunif
Sector: PropTech
Total funding: $1 million
Investors: Sanabil 500 Mena, Hambro Perks' Oryx Fund and angel investors
Number of employees: 8

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Director: James Wan

Starring: Jason Mamoa, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II 

Rating: 2/5

Company profile

Company name: Hayvn
Started: 2018
Founders: Christopher Flinos, Ahmed Ismail
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Sector: financial
Initial investment: undisclosed
Size: 44 employees
Investment stage: series B in the second half of 2023
Investors: Hilbert Capital, Red Acre Ventures

Company Profile

Name: Nadeera
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Founders: Rabih El Chaar and Reem Khattar
Sector: CleanTech
Total funding: About $1 million
Investors: Hope Ventures, Rasameel Investments and support from accelerator programmes
Number of employees: 12