“Here?/Secret” out now digitally and on limited edition cassette

Here?/Secret (Shame File Music) is anew work of tape compositions reimagining voice and the reverberant influence of collaboration.

The seeds of this project were planted during Melbourne’s hard COVID lockdown of 2020, when I could not access my studio and the majority of my equipment. After several months of not making any new music, I felt it imperative to do SOMETHING, and looked at what I had around me at home:

An old Tascam 4-track cassette porta-studio
– Some cheap Walkmans
– Some cassettes that had been generated over several performances and rehearsals around 2015-16.

I devised a compositional procedure for laying out excerpts from these cassettes on the 4-track tape, including changes of tape speed, panning, tape reversal (by flipping the master cassette), changing tracks, etc. I also included some field recordings of local frog populations, and a recording of record gifted to me by Kerrie Farnsworth, who had found it in a drain in Kiev. I transferred the results in bulk to digital and slowly edited them down with a more conscious and less-process driven aesthetic driving the resulting compositions. The results regularly astounded me as I played them back; this feels like something completely different from what I’ve previously created, and in that spirit I’ve decided to share them.

Voices include Jen Callaway, Chun-liang Liu, Michael McNab, Shani Mohini-Holmes, Elnaz Sheshgelani, Tony Yap, and others unknown/anonymous.Available digitally and as a limited edition cassette/art object hand-made by visual artist, Simon Fisher. Each cassette case has been transformed by into a unique object d’art, with a painted cassette case featuring a unique cover, containing further unique full colour sleeve and inserts, plus liner notes. Hand-numbered edition of 17 copies only.

THIS Ensemble “My Umbrella Is Another Word for Community” digital/CDR out now

“My Umbrella Is Another Word for Community” is a kind of appendix to THIS Ensemble’s sprawling “Brown Paper Business” double album released earlier this year. “My Umbrella…” was recorded live in 2014, and like the group at the time, is alternatively frenetic and deeply meditative. “My Umbrella…” is available on CDR, which neatly fits inside the “Brown Paper Business” limited edition wooden box as well (purchase the “Brown Paper Business” boxset and get “My Umbrella…” free if you haven’t already).

New release: “Relativity/Only” LP/digital

My new solo album Relativity/Only (Nice Music/Shame File Music) has had a bit of a journey. It is my first solo 12” vinyl release, which makes it a bit special for me, so it seems appropriate that it’s had a winding path to realisation.

The album’s beginnings came from attempts to sonically document the main sound sculpture from my Stability exhibition of 2019. Basically, I was not happy with my own recordings of this complex sound sculpture, so I started fishing around for an engineer who had the skills and interest to record this multi-turntable driven beast. Ernie Althoff recommended Michael Hewes, who has done a lot of work recording Speak Percussion. Michael and I communicated by email in late 2019, when I sent him some demos and videos of the work, and it was obvious from those early exchanges that he got what I was trying to achieve.

We made tentative plans to record in his Richmond studio in early 2020. Throughout the summer, I honed the sculpture in my own studio space, working on sketches (see end of this post) to make it easier/quicker to set up in Michael’s recording studio. I also created and demoed several variations on the initial sound sculpture. By February 2020, I was in the studio with Michael, setting up for four different pieces, all based around 3 turntables and a suspended/swaying horizontal pole, and various percussive objects suspended from/placed on each.

Setting up mics in the studio

I’ve since come to understand what I’m aiming at as a kind of percussive episode that is free from human intervention or ego, yet has enough variation and chance at play that the rhythms constantly shift. “Everything Is In Motion” documents a more honed version of the original sound sculpture from the 2019 exhibition, whereas “Drum Circle” is more kit focussed (‘egoless drummer’). The two flipside tracks “Only (Two)” and “Only (Four)” are more reductive, where the hits/beats have much more space between them.

Our initial mixing session was in March 2020, just as the Melbourne lockdown was looming. Later tweaks were done remotely. I was very pleased with how the recordings came out. Michael’s knowledge of mic placement especially bridged the gap in what my own amateur recording skills lacked. These recordings all involve five microphones around the sculpture, covering different perspectives and conveying a sense of physical space.

I really didn’t know what, if anything, I would do with these recordings. The exercise was initially for documentation, but I was thrilled with the end product. When Simon J Karis of Nice Music expressed an interest in co-releasing them with Shame File Music, I was very happy at the prospect of these recordings having a public life on vinyl.

And now here they are, with Tim Panaretos’ photography large and stunning on the front cover, hot off the magnificent new Program Records press in Melbourne and sounding crystal clear. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I do.

Relativity/Only is out now on limited edition vinyl LP and digital formats from Shame File Music and Nice Music, and on all streaming platforms.

Many thanks to Ernie Althoff, Michael Hewes, Simon J Karis, James A. Dean for mastering, and Nat Grant for generously donating some of the drums used.

Reviews of “The Interstices Of These Epidemics”

As I am sitting in my comfy chair, reading a book and drinking afternoon tea, I play the new release by Barnaby Oliver and Clinton Green… [Oliver] plays violin and piano…Green plays bowed metal bowls. With these limited sources they set out to play long-form pieces, and they have been doing so since 2017. As I sit back and do all the things mentioned, I listen to music and feel blown away. On the first piece, ‘The Interstices’, they keep bowing the strings and bowls in a very delicate drone-like piece that works very well with acoustic overtones. Think a bit of Organum or Nurse With Wound’s ‘Soliloque For Lilith’, but acoustic. It is refined and rough and works very well. It lasts nineteen minutes but for me, it could have lasted an hour. It is minimally changing and that’s enough. ‘Of These Epidemics’ is four minutes longer, twenty-three minutes in total and here Oliver plays the piano and Green keeps striking and bowing the bowls. Oliver plays chords, loosely and spacious, reminding of the best jazz works from down under I heard before; think Spartak, Gilded, 3ofmillions and Infinite Decimals but also The Necks, I would think. It’s smooth, it’s a bit of jazz and with Green’s backdrop on the bowls, it is spacious as it roughly edged. As I am sitting in my comfy chair, reading a book and drinking afternoon tea, I play the new release by Barnaby Oliver and Clinton Green again. I get up and just play it all over again. It’s melancholic, it’s sad, and I might think this is the best release I heard this week – Vital Weekly 1250

In “The Interstices” the coalescence of metal and strings produces a series of semi-dissonant, never-too-loud organic stratifications. Imagine David Jackman’s rawer output sounding decidedly more moderate – say, as on an Another Timbre recording – and you’ll have a faint idea of what I’m meaning here. The relative fragility of the pitches enhances the release of specific harmonics from their combination, placing the music in a niche between contemplative mood (always with an eye open) and slight uneasiness.”Of These Epidemics” is strongly characterized by Oliver playing peaceful sequences on the piano, a resonance reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Rick Wright circa “The Great Gig In The Sky” but with an entrancing repetitiveness à la Charlemagne Palestine. The fluctuation of those chords along the strident mantra of Green’s bowed bowls is uniquely delightful. Without the need of revolutions, the duo’s interaction remains accessible to most everybody. Overall, an appreciably unadulterated work  – Touching Extremes