Paul Rooney is an artist working with film, video and literature, but primarily music, sound, song. Rooney’s work has been exhibited internationally. It has a social-realist dimension, in that Rooney acknowledges that myth, fable and fantasy are kinetic elements that whir around relentlessly beneath the surface of quotidian reality like the currents of the sea.
Rooney’s latest musical project is the album Surface Industries II. The conceptual focus of Surface Industries II is the service industries. According to a research briefing published by the House of Commons Library on August the 23rd, 2023, service industries account for 79% of the UK’s total economic output and 83% of employment. Across Surface Industries II’s twelve stylistically varied tracks Rooney sets the thoughts, memories, dreams and sensations of people who work in service industries to music.
Surface History II is a work of oral history. We hear a Bradford & Bingley bank employees’ thoughts on crowds, the dreams of shop workers from West Bromwich, accounts of the working lives of hotel employees, library staff, a Big Issue vendor, a waiter, a postman, a professional nightclub singer. Richard Thomas, The Wire Magazine.