New track composed and recorded for this themed percussion compilation from Italian label tsss tapes Free Percussion/Water. The compilation also features Ted Byrnes, Jeph Jerman and other exploratory percussionists of note.
I’m also looking forward to releasing a collaborative album with Ian Andrews (Astasie-abasie, Cut With The Kitchen Knife, The Horse He’s Sick, etc) on tsss tapes later this year.
The 10th and final instalment of the Surface Noise series is out today. Wow, what a journey. The first volume of this split series between Shame File Music and Iceage Productions came out in 2014, each one is a split between two artists contributing live recordings. How it worked is that me and Peter James would invite the initial artist, then that artist would nominate someone else to share their release with, a concept I always liked. And the final one, Surface Noise Vol. 10, appropriately is a split between me (with Barnaby Oliver) and Peter. Mine and Barnaby’s track is a live recording from an intimate performance at LongPlay in 2019 (seems so long ago now), and Peter’s is from Make It Up Club in 2012 (that IS a long time ago!) Get your copy through Shame File Music.
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.
Here’s Undecisive God’s 2003 monolithic ambient/drone guitar album, on Bandcamp for the first time. CDR version also available. Maybe a misstep including a cover of Sonic Youth’s “Mote”, but credit to their influence at the time should be paid, I guess. The rest of the album I still like a lot, and can listen to it now like it came from someone/somewhere else
I have a previously unreleased track on the just-released New Weird Australia compilation “Space Between Space”. It’s a Pay What You Feel download with all proceeds going to the Barpirdhila appeal, which supports Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander artists & community affected by COVID-19.
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 Stabilityexhibition 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.
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 Musicand 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.