Jez riley French’s Life of Listening

Kim ( Joshua Minsoo Kim )
riley French ( Jez riley French )
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Bandcamp, United States 
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Yorkshire-based field recording artist Jez riley French (the r is, indeed, lowercase), now in his 50s, has spent most of his life paying close attention to the world around him. Beyond his own recorded work, French has curated the Engraved Glass label, runs workshops, and has given lectures on his artistic practices. When asked if there’s anything he wishes he could’ve done differently, and whether he still has any long-term goals, his answer—at once a self-deprecating admission of regret and an acknowledgement of life’s brevity—gives insight into the sort of person he wants to be: He says that he wishes he could have spent “more time with loved ones”—he didn’t always “do [his] best for them.”

And so when French talks about his future, it’s not surprising that much of what he longs for involves interpersonal connections. “I suppose all artists hope to have some sort of legacy, but really all I want is to be around to see [my daughter] Pheobe grow and develop, to be a good dad and friend as long as I can, to be of use to other artists if needed or asked, and to keep having the strength to challenge what needs to be challenged.”

Pheobe riley Law is an artist, too, recently back from an Erasmus term in Denmark and currently studying in Newcastle. She and her father have worked on multiple projects together, and French says that “she’s working more and more with movement, film, and sound.” Their collaborations have led him to being more “flexible” in his use of materials, and “hyperaware of the interactions” between their respective practices. 
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