Robin Rimbaud is a UK based artist, record producer, and composer who works under the name “Scanner” in reference to his use of mobile phone signals and police scanners in his early performances. He has worked on soundtracks for films, sound installations, radio, dance and theater. Robin also has a passion for medium format photography, owns a Holga camera and has a unique photographic style. Get to know him in this interview, where he talks about his personal work as well as his experience with the Lomo LC-A 120.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a composer and artist who for the last twenty five years has happily survived hiding just under the surface of popularity. My work connects the points between a bewilderingly diverse array of genres – a partial list would include sound design, film scores, computer music, digital avant garde, contemporary composition, large-scale multimedia performances, product design, architecture, fashion design, rock music and jazz. You can hear my music everywhere from a working morgue in Paris, in cinemas across the USA or on the cat walk. I’ve kept a diary since I was 12 years old, never missing a day and write it in fountain pen by hand each and every night. I’ve never drunk coffee or alcohol, smoked a cigarette or taken any drugs, so have never had a hangover. I wanted to be a magician when I was younger and continue to be fascinated by magic. I’ve taken photos for many years on both analogue and digital format cameras and love to capture the world around me.
What inspires you to write and compose music?
More commonly these days my work is a response to requests and commissions so I sit with a blank page at the beginning of the day and somehow finish up with finished music some hours later. I’ve been recording since I was 11 years old and having recently moved home I discovered boxes and boxes of tapes from my awkward teenage years, and realise in some ways nothing has changed. Rather like a cook, I collect sounds, mix them up, add a few personal spices and end up with these relatively cinematic sounds. I’m fortunate to not lack inspiration, in fact rather the opposite, in that there’s simply too much music in my head!
You regularly shoot with medium format. What is it in medium format photography that appeals to you?
A whole wealth of reasons draws me to this format, from the quality of the images, the richness of tone and color, the sense of the unknown, the anticipation of waiting for the final photos to be developed and especially the framing of the image, having to consider the capture rather than just snapping away at everything and choosing from a wealth of similar digital shots. The contemplation and consideration of capturing a moment is weighted very differently with analogue rather than digital photography.
Tell us about your experience with the LC-A 120.
A beautifully easy to use camera, conveniently set up with the controls at hand that meant I could get immediately to capturing an image. Very comfortable in the hand and so perfect to drop in a bag to take out with me for the day. No issues with loading film, despite reading many reports online with people having their problems. That’s the joy of analogue though. Like all of us, it’s not perfect and it’s in the imperfections that the magic can be found. I mean who really wants perfect friends?
If your photos could have a soundtrack, what would it be? (5 songs, title and artist please)
Brian Eno : In Dark Trees
Elph Vs. Coil: Opium Hum
Daniel Lanois: Opera
Any future plans?
2016 brings a score the Dutch King in The Netherlands, a new album with pianist Anni Hogan called Scanni, and a global TV show to be seen around the world.