Spheric Totemic



Spheric Totemic

Spheric Totemic fuses influences from DJ Premier, Konono No.1 and the UK free improv scene. Featuring: Alexander Hawkins (keys) Neil Charles (bass) Mandhira de Saram (violin) Stephen Davis (drums) Matt Wright (compositions and electronics)   View event

Spheric Totemic

Spheric Totemic website

Matt Wright: turntables, live sampling, sound design

Matt Wright is a composer, producer and sound designer based in Kent, UK.

His diverse output across avant electronics, chamber composition and collaborations with dance, theatre and film has been presented at the Sydney Opera House, Le Poisson Rouge (NYC), Muziekcentrum ann ‘t Ij (Amsterdam), Kim Ma Theatre (Hanoi), Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City), Abbey Road Studios, Tate Britain, The National Theatre, The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Café OTO (London).

He has collaborated with some of the most dynamic artists in the contemporary sphere, including Evan Parker, Peter Evans, Ikue Mori, Claron McFadden, B’Rock Orchestra, Spring Heel Jack, Ensemble Klang, Neil Charles, Alexander Hawkins and Elaine Mitchener. He was musical director for Network at the National Theatre, starring Bryan Cranston.

Recordings of his work are released on Relative Pitch Records (NYC); Psi, Migro and Extra Normal (UK); Ensemble Klang (The Hague) and Intakt (Zurich). Scores of his work are represented by Donemus, The Hague. He studied contemporary and experimental music with Louis Andriessen, Martijn Padding and Richard Ayres at The Royal Conservatory, The Hague; with Richard Steinitz and Christopher Fox at the University of Huddersfield; with Roger Redgate at Goldsmiths and with Steve Martland in London.

He is Professor of Composition and Sonic Art at Canterbury Christ Church University, an Associate Researcher at the Orpheus Institute, Ghent and in 2023 he was guest teacher at The Royal Conservatory, The Hague.


Mandhira de Saram: violin

Mandhira is happiest bringing her playful energy and creativity to a breadth of projects across the less trodden paths of contemporary music, working with the likes of Anna Meredith, Laura Jurd and Shabaka Hutchings, and now increasingly as a solo artist.

Having left the Ligeti Quartet (Songbooks Vol. 1, 2021) – the plucky band of musical buccaneers she founded to explore the outer reaches of chamber repertoire – Mandhira’s recent creative ventures include a commission by the Ligeti Quartet, a collaboration with the cross-cultural Australian Art Orchestra (debuting in Melbourne and HCMF) and working with Jasmin Kent Rodgman on the soundtrack to the feature film ‘Bawa’s Garden’. 2019 saw her commissioned to write a site-specific piece for the Barbican’s Sound Unbound.

Equally at home leading orchestras in the world’s most prestigious concert venues, recording film soundtracks at Abbey Road and improvising at Cafe Oto, her other projects include improvising duos with Steve Beresford and Benoit Delbecq (Spinneret, 2019) and regular appearances with Riot Ensemble and London Contemporary Orchestra.

She currently plays a 1735 Sanctus Seraphin violin kindly loaned to her by Derek Clements-Croome.


Alexander Hawkins: piano and keyboards

Alexander Hawkins is a composer, pianist, organist, and bandleader who is ‘unlike anything else in modern creative music’. Regarded as one of his generation’s most innovative, his own unique soundworld is shaped by a profound fascination with composition and structure, alongside a love of chance and open forms.

His writing has been said to represent ‘a fundamental reassertion of composition within improvised music’, and his voice one of the ‘most vividly distinctive…in modern jazz’. As a pianist, he has been described as ‘remarkable…possessing staggering technical ability and a fecund imagination.’

Concerning his organ playing, critic Brian Morton recently commented that ‘[t]he most interesting Hammond player of the last decade and more, [Hawkins] has already extended what can be done on the instrument.’

He is a frequent solo performer, and also appears in groupings ranging from duo (with the likes of Nicole Mitchell, Sofia Jernberg, Tomeka Reid, Angelika Niescier, Evan Parker, John Surman, Han Bennink, and Hamid Drake), through to large ensembles. His co-led quartet with the vocalist Elaine Mitchener ‘probably [sets] a new standard for improvised music with song’; whilst Togetherness Music, released by Intakt Records in January 2021, and has been called ‘[a] masterpiece that can stand next to the best works of Mitchell, Braxton or Parker’.

Hawkins can be heard live and on record with vast array of contemporary leaders of all generations, including the likes of Anthony Braxton, Joe McPhee, Wadada Leo Smith, Marshall Allen, Michael Formanek, Rob Mazurek, Chad Taylor, Taylor Ho Bynum, Harris Eisenstadt, Nicole Mitchell, Matana Roberts, Esperanza Spalding, Jonny Greenwood, and Shabaka Hutchings. For over a decade, he has also been noted for his performances in the bands of legendary South African drummer, Louis Moholo-Moholo, and Ethio-jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke.

He has been widely commissioned, by the likes of the BBC, festivals such as the London and Berlin Jazz Festivals, venues such as the Pierre Boulez Saal, and contemporary music groups such as the Riot Ensemble. He was named ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ in the 2016 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. In 2018, he was elected a fellow of the Civitella Ranieri.

Concert appearances take him to major club, concert and festival stages worldwide.


Neil Charles: bass

Neil Charles is one of the most in-demand musicians on the scene, with a huge array of credits to his name, including Jack DeJohnette, the Sun Ra Arkestra, Mingus Big Band, Jose James, Jerry Dammers, Courtney Pine, and Terence Blanchard. His own projects have included Zed U, with Shabaka Hutchings and Tom Skinner, and the more recent ensemble Dark Days, dealing with the work of James Baldwin. Most recently, he has been heard across the international scene with Gabriels. As well as being known as a bass player with a huge sound and immaculate sense of time, he is equally renowned as a producer, going by the alias Ben Marc.

“Bassist Neil Charles went flying, from the first moment filling the space with the sound of his mighty wings Henning Bolte,” – Europe Jazz Media Chart


Stephen Davis, drums

Belfast-based drummer Stephen (DAKIZ) Davis mainly plays jazz and improvised music. He is the drummer in Anthony Braxton group ‘The New Standard’, and active in the UK and European improvised/creative music scenes. As well as Braxton he has worked with Mark Ribot, Evan Parker, Ralph Alessi, Kris Davis, Alexander Hawkins, John Taylor, Rufus Reid, Paul Dunmall, Django Bates, Van Morrison, Matthew Bourne and many others. He is a composer and has his own projects published on Babel Label London as well as Intakt records Switzerland. Steve is an assistant lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast.

For the best part of a decade, Davis has been one third of heavyweight UK free-jazz trio, Bourne Davis Kane, alongside pianist Matthew Bourne and double-bassist Dave Kane, releasing several highly regarded CDs including collaborations with veteran British saxophonist Paul Dunmall. He also leads the quartet, Human, featuring Alexander Hawkins, Alex Bonney and Dylan Bates, which released a debut album, Being Human, on Babel in 2013.

Matt Wright

Mandhira de Saram

Alexander Hawkins

Neil Charles

Stephen Davis