Category Archives: Video

digitalDIZZY – MERZ Funder

merz-crop-edit-2k

The absolutely huge MERZfunder compilation was released on Friday 28th October. 114 original tracks by some highly creative individuals & bands, many pieces made specifically for the project. As well as offering two tracks, one with Peter Wullen, I was very honoured to be asked to put together some cover artwork for this.

The piece took specific reference from the many collages of Kurt Schwitters, whose Merz Barn in Langdale is the point of this fundraing project. More about the Barn can be found in a previous post HERE. The project is a digitalDIZZY production, an independent net label and promoter of all things anarchic and free thinking. Kudos to Ruby Black and the Devotional Hooligans.

Here’s a small selection of pieces by Schwitters that informed my cover design.

The MERZunder is on Bandcamp now and for a small number of 5 British Pounds it can be yours.

There is a huge diversity of music here. Most of the featured artists also have their own Bandcamp or Soundcloud page.

various-artists-merzfunder-merzinfo

UPDATE: Press Release

MERZfunder press release
31 October 2016

It is 100 years since the Dada movement first rocked the art establishment and paved the way for every oppositional and groundbreaking cultural force that followed, from surrealism to pop art, situationism to punk. Yet in the recent BBC celebrations of the anniversary, no mention was made of Kurt Schwitters, the man seen by many as a major force in and beyond Dada – and the only one to leave a lasting physical legacy of his work in the UK.

MERZfunder brings together more than 100 musicians and experimental noise makers to raise money to support and preserve the Schwitters Merz barn in Cumbria. This was where Schwitters made his final Merzbau installation, a sculptural collaged wall, which he worked on in the last years of his life, walking five miles each way from his home in Ambleside to get there.

The MERZfunder digital download – available for a minimum donation of £5/€6/$6 at merzfunder.bandcamp.com – comprises 114 exclusive tracks, delivering more than 10 hours of Schwitters-inspired creativity. Contributors include:

The Astronauts
V4V (Charles Hayward/This Heat)
Ob
NIk Turner’s OUTRIDERS OF THE APOCALYPSE (Hawkwind/Inner City Unit)
Geoff Leigh (Henry Cow/Warrior Squares)
Richard Youngs
Rapoon
Neil Campbell (Astral Social Club/ Vibracathedral Orchestra)
Hagar the Womb
Band of Holy Joy
The Shend (The Cravats/Very Things)

Money raised will go towards the rebuilding and shoring up of the Merz barn at Elterwater in the Lake District, which was damaged by one of last winter’s storms.

Kurt Schwitters was an outsider everywhere – not just as an exile in the Lakes, in London, in Norway, but also in Germany, where the Berlin Dadaists wouldn’t let him join their club because he broke their rules as well as everyone else’s. That inspired him to develop his Merz style of artwork, which he applied to poetry, performance, and abstract expressionist sculpture, collages and installations.

Schwitters was an artist in exile for most of his life, and he worked wherever he was. He ended up in a barn in the English Lakes. This was a working building that was not designed to house an internationally important artwork. It has not weathered well, and is now buckling under the onslaught of age and climate change. It was the last place of work for one of the world’s most influential artists and it continues to inspire others today. For that legacy to continue, the barn needs to be made sound.

That’s what this MERZfunder is raising money for. Please pay what you can to help make this happen – and, as a bonus, treat your ears to a wealth of wonderful sounds created by 100+ of us who want to thank Kurt Schwitters for showing us that creativity is about finding the artist within each and every one of us in whichever medium feels right, the more primal and abstract the better.

https://merzfunder.bandcamp.com/releases

NOTES

As one of the originators of the cut-up collage technique, which he applied to sound, poetry and 3D installations in his famous Merzbau projects, Kurt Schwitters inspired countless others to explore their creativity outside the confines of the fine art tradition. Think Brion Gysin, William Burroughs, David Bowie, Lydia Lunch – all gave a nod to Schwitters for setting them on their path.

Kurt Schwitters was an outsider everywhere – not just as an exile in the Lakes, in London, in Norway, but also in Germany, where the Berlin Dadaists wouldn’t let him join their club because he broke their rules as well as everyone else’s. His creativity wasn’t bound by the values of the art world, his work never belonged in galleries. He had built Merz installations inside an ordinary house in Hanover, and when he had to leave them there (there was no place for ‘degenerate’ artists in Nazi Germany), he found somewhere else to make his mark: inside a cold, dark, little barn, buried in the most awe inspiring natural landscape. In the last years of his life, he walked five miles each way through those breathtaking mountains and valleys to get to his wall from Ambleside and make Merz.

The MerzBarn Langdale is under the care of the Littoral Arts Trust, which encourages artists inspired by Schwitters to continue his legacy by working at the site. http://www.littoral.org.uk / https://merzbarnlangdale.wordpress.com / @MerzBarnLangdale

The Schwitters Wall was cut out of the barn in 1965 and taken to the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, where it remains part of the permanent display. https://hattongallery.org.uk

For more details, contact digitalDIZZY through Facebook or email: algonne@hotmail.co.uk

And to close this post and great video & sound from Sequential

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Comment, Fine Art, Music, Video

Glove of Bones – Mabinogi

taith-hir-02

This from my on-going project site The Glove Of Bones. I’m really happy with this outcome. It’s exactly as I planned – long, narrative free, a visual drone, a tied in soundscape (which I was really pleased to persuade Cousin Silas to help with). It’s a long piece at 72 minutes and I’m unsure how many might make it to the end, it is however in three easier to digest sections, each with their own character. I hope you take the leap and click on the link.

A film by The Glove Of Bones.

Taking it’s title from the Medieval text, The Mabinogion (a loose translation of this being Juvenile Distractions), this new work of film and original music takes on non-narrative considerations about passing time, the joy of travel & landscape, musings on history and our broader connection to our ancestors through reflection and our progeny through creative acts.

tonnau-araf-01

tonnau-araf-02

In recent years I’ve collected materials when taking the annual Summer break holidays. These often return as blog diaries with pictorial content, and more recently as associated songs & sounds. This year, on the 4 1/2 hour drive to Wales some vague project came to mind, fragments, ways of collecting content, some notional endpoint started whispering.

taith-hir-01

From the point of arrival, in the rain, with this sat-nav avoiding single track road as our entry point, it started to come together. The piece would directly connect to the place, the local elements, history and the joy of distraction that comes from being away from your natural home.

Filmed in August 2016 around Pembroke in Wales with some underlying sounds either recorded in the area or made during the trip.

Additional tone and texture in the soundtrack was provided by acclaimed ambient musician Cousin Silas.

As with the original text which has four ‘Branches’ or short stories (additional tales where added later), the film is split into three sections, each bearing a Welsh language title. These link to Earth, Water & Air in some ways.

This is the Mabinogi as dreamed by the Glove Of Bones

The piece is split into three sections, or branches.

1- Taith Hir (Long Road) – 20mins
2- Tonnau Araf (Slow Wave) – 30mins
3- Breuddwydion mewn carreg y Pentre Ifan (Stone Dreams at Pentre Ifan) – 20mins

pentre-ifan-02

pentre-ifan-01

Please anticipate after thoughts to be added below.

Useful links below;

https://www.gloveofbones.com

http://www.mabinogion.info

Leave a comment

Filed under Comment, iPhonography, Music, Video

God Speed You Black Emperor – Warwick Arts Centre

GSYBE Warwick

So it’s been a little while since I posted here. My day job is fulfilling many of my WordPress hungerings and the Glove of Bones side dish has been occupying my down time. September & October have also been quite a gig fest – King Crimson, Hey Colossus & Kogumaza, The Sisters of Mercy, Space Lady, the Sun Ra Arkestra in a couple of days and last night the stunning God Speed You Black Emperor. I’ve been looking all day for some comment but nothing so far. So I’m here to hang around in a temporarily empty space.

It’s apparently been 13 years since the last time they played the Warwick Arts Centre. Whilst nowhere near main stream the band has a fairly legendary cult status. Formed in 1996 in Canada and broadly tagged ‘post rock’ they are still a large ensemble of skilled and dedicated noise makers. The last album Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress from earlier in the year is their first single platter, all previous productions being expansive long form albums of everything from riffing & crushing guitars, folkish violin & cello to drone, static & tape loops.

The hall at WAC is mainly standing, a modern campus theatre space with a single balcony (I vaguely recall watching Bauhaus & the Southern Death Cult here in the 80’s in its previous life). The stage is low with dark curtain drops at the back. This was littered with equipment, two drum kits, double bass, stacks of amps and complex daisy chained effects peddles.

Warwick Uni

The opening band was The Dead Rat Orchestra, two contemporary chaps doing what I can best describe as post Tudor revolutionary ambient folk drone. Honestly, look them up. They were really engaging and idiosyncratic. Have a look here.

Dead Rat Orchestra

Just a little before 9.00pm the lights went down and the back drop flickered with shadows. A low bass drone hung in the air indicating the volume we should anticipate. Many sensible folks plugged in their ear defenders. Sophie Trudeau & Thierry Amar came out first, hooking up to the electricity and drawing sound from their instruments. The remainder of the band came in from the shadows slowly, Aidan Girt & Timothy Herzog on drums & percussion, Mauro Pezzente on bass, David Bryant and Mike Moya on guitars and effects – both seated, and finally notional band leader of the anarchist collective Efrim Menuck also on guitar, tapes & loops and a mountain of effects. From there on in its anyones guess. The band play, they don’t do show, no guitar faces, no ‘Hello Warwick and the surrounding areas!”, (in fact no vocal mikes at all). The songs are long pieces that build & evolve, the band know the pieces inside out and pass cues between them selves, and when they let fly the sound is internal and external, it shakes your boots and soul, glorious sweeping violin, growling distorted guitars and gut punching bass. Although I was on the frontline I didn’t in the end reach for ear plugs. It was loud but it was perfectly placed for the room. I could mainly hear the sound from the bands back line rather than the halls PA and their evident skill with sound manipulation would have been lost with a restricted plugged up dynamic range.

GSYBE Warwick Uni

Its not impossible that they improvise around some pieces, I don’t know the songs by name, more by feel. They certainly played the four songs from the recent album:”Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!’ Lambs’ Breath, Asunder, Sweet & the monstorously huge Piss Crowns Are Trebled. If I find a set list I’ll add it in.

EDIT – Setlist as promised;

 

  1. Hope Drone
  2. Gathering Storm
  3. Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!’
  4. Lambs’ Breath
  5. Asunder, Sweet
  6. Piss Crowns Are Trebled
  7. Mladic
  8. unknown
    (new song)
  9. The Sad Mafioso

 

This is ‘Hope Drone’ from 2011

 

I was as anticipant to see this as I was King Crimson – ultimately very aligned bands, equally about the music – but for pure visceral eye watering impact GSYBE took the edge. If you get the chance they really should not be missed. Its a fine line between GSYBE and Swans as to who’s the most affecting. Swans damaged my ears more…. but that was equally worth while.

Here’s GSYBE from earlier in the year

4 Comments

Filed under Comment, Gigs, Music, Video

Glove of Films

GoB 03

On one of the ‘other’ channels of my on-line time frittering I did this. Please feel free to follow The Glove of Bones if you don’t mind inviting this kind of occurrence into your digital file. If nothing else it uses a very nice theme.

Information in relation to work flow.

When I started planning the musical aspect of 50/50 it was under the A4+ brand, as per previous issues. The theme of biography was implicit, the format (five 10 minute songs, each broadly representing a decade of life) was built in, and other intentions of continuity (all the visual content would be monochrome for example) seemed reasonably attainable.

As with all such grand schemes it seemed likely that supplementary materials would emerge so the idea of an epilog sprang to mind (and in fact inspired the ‘segue’ pieces), cutting in existing references into a mash-up, sweeping the floor, exhibiting good recycling practices. At some indeterminate point the ‘Glove of Bones’ phrase gained traction and from that the idea of a filmed piece. This is the outcome.

GoB 02

“The tooth root and aching backbone of the Glove of Bones creative project was an idea for a road movie without a road, a biography without a chronology or subject and an imaginary soundtrack for a film, based around a real movie.”

Almost a film in five equal sections with both structured musical content and more abstract found, soundscapes, atmosphere. Holmes would have a field day with the evidence but like all good conspiracy pedlars, I prefer to protect my sources.

GoB 01

I would like particular to credit the use of the ‘Holcombe Tarot’ by Wayne Burrows. I’m continually impressed by his diversity of creation. The Tarot can be seen in use somewhere around the 25 minute mark.

There are a small number of filmic references which movie geeks will spot. They are cited as points of reference for the various immersions the biographical subject has encountered and soaked up. I do not and would never claim any rights to these reflections.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comment, iPhonography, Music, Photography, Uncategorized, Video

The Loke (Revisited)

Loke Brushes 04

Closing the circle on the previous post here. Taking the motion blur pictures into the Brushes App on iPad and what can only be loosely described as drawing over the pictures, then exporting the actions from the drawings into .mov files, slowing them down and then splicing them together to make a short animation.

Loke Brushes o3

The process is much like that that goes into creating the music. It’s aim and intention is very open. It doesn’t have an end point or desired conclusion. I might make an infinity gif next time and rather than bookending a song with a fadein/out to join them up, work on perpetual repeat. I wonder if theres an app for that?

Loke Brushes 01

This is the finished piece.

2 Comments

Filed under Fine Art, iPhonography, Music, Photography, Uncategorized, Video

Sea Song and other fictions….the album.

Sea Song Project

I can now report that my third musical venture has landed. ‘Sea Song and other fictions’ is available to buy and download from my Band Camp page. You can find it here.

Logo

I have written an epilog / postmortem /sleeve note for the project which has its own page here . I hope this goes some small way to explain the project.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comment, Hipstamatic, iPhonography, Music, Video

Sea Song (Water In My Eye) Revisited

I’m posting this for house keeping as much as interest. This has been on the blog as page for quite some time. That particular page will be replaced to reflect the larger project in the next few days but I didn’t want to lose this entirely. So, step back in time to November 2013 and dive into ‘Sea Song’.

IMG_2728

This piece started life in the back of my mind a month or more before we went on holiday in September. I used some ‘field noise’ in a few of my previous audio creations and broadly had in mind something in the ambient vein, lengthy and unstructured, painterly if at all possible.

As I’m not bound by the need to be taken seriously or to generate income from these exercises I’m blessed with the freedom to let the process happen. As with many good intentions I collected far less environmental noise than I had hoped and ended up with only limited material. From the beginning of the piece there is an almost white noise wave hiss, this has been chopped, echoed, stretched and spliced through out the piece.

IMG_2725

The rhythm track is built up using 60bpm sequences created in DMX#1 on iPad. The intent being to slow down the heart rate, much like the calming experience of watching waves hit a beach or as is used further on, watching the flow from a water fall hit the pool below.

IMG_2727

Further related images and sounds were gathered from both Wollaton Park and Newstead Abbey. Newstead in particular has a feature lake that feeds a number of water features, falls & streams that have all given poetic and meditative pleasure for many years. Like the wind effects I used in the Gib Hill piece these environmental backdrops provide an anchored and enduring point of reference for deep lying human experience.

IMG_2729

I had very much intended to create a single lengthy work and the overall extent of the final item (which runs to a little over 24mins) was determined by a 4x stretch of the base wave noise recorded in Majorca. True speed usage of the sound also reveals the only human noise, the voices of children jumping waves.

Through the more intense third quarter the sounds from the waterfall at Newstead take precedence, that absorbing crushing flow (recorded from behind the fall), linked with the guitar feedback and single note bass.

IMG_2726

The still images included here are shot on an iPhone using the Hipstmatic app. Hipstamatic was the reason I first got an iPhone four years ago and still find it to be a hybrid of dice and sketch pad when it comes to snatching an affected memory. In the first instance these had a monochrome sepia tone but this has been removed for a pure grainy B/W final image.

IMG_2731

In much the same way the video content has been captured on the iPhone and processed, de-coloured, filtered and slowed down using iMovie. The hypnotic effect of letting your eyes  defocus whilst staring at the sea or a reflecting pool, Narcissus face flowing into the weeds and pebbles under the surface of the water. The movie was shot in HD and all credit to You Tube for taking the best part of 24hrs to cook the file into a viewable movie.

This is the full audio version of Sea Song (Water in my Eye)

This is the video.

Please enjoy, download and share freely.

1 Comment

Filed under Hipstamatic, Music, Photography, Uncategorized, Video

The Lost Children of Dol Tor

Crop01-Dol Tor

The keen eyed will notice that this is my second reference to Dol Tor. I had been messing with Korg Gadet noises and DMX1 drum tracks around the same time that I took the road trip a couple of weeks ago. It made sense to connect them.

Crop02-Dol Tor

Within the song notion was an intention to use the flowing drone and tidal wave of Korg Gadget noise and a fast, almost drum’n’bass rhythm element. This came through with some degree of satisfaction fairly easily. The trip to Dol Tor bought to mind the connection between that ancient landscape appreciation of environment, natural space, transient sky and a tribal community spirit of absorption in the previous, joined with a not insignificant degree of hedonism and party spirit.

I’ve tried to blur the disparity of the two main sound elements in the track using some additional rhythmic elements and three pieces of guitar noise made with Ebow, one of which is reversed and echoed. It’s very much like drawing with two media – say charcoal & watercolour – and then using your thumb to soften the edges. In relation to some of the previous sound projects I’ve made it’s fairly sparse in tracks.

Crop03-Dol Tor
The final element which is only subtly present is a piece of ‘field recording’.
Recently Cousin Silas questioned the use of field recording or more accurately the definition of this. In many cases it might be a texture, a sonic layer with direct and illustrative reference, waves, thunder, rain, chattering voices. I would say there is a difference between a sound effect whether self sourced or researched, and a piece of content used for its particular connection to the piece. In this piece some where in the first and third minute there is a slight fluttering sound. Whilst it runs through the whole track it’s only barely noticeable but, it being the sound of the wind in leaves at the time the video was made – in that time and place – I hope it ties the audio to the theme, a voodoo hair in the hand of the shaman.

The video elements are made on iPhone using the iSupa8 app in HD. I’ve used all but two pieces of film and worked them chronologically. It’s come out as a kind of archeological scrapping of the site or a forensic investigation of events – a Will Graham mind palace of association – looking for clues and getting into the consciousness of the previous inhabitants.

 

The most recent users of the site most likely had a similar respect for the environment and expressed a connection to the architect ancestors. They have left small tokens and signs of their activity including crystals, Ojibwe, ribbons and the evidence of fire.

The pictures that accompany this are multi-exposed analog 120 film shots from a Holga camera. Using the constraint of the film I tried to form four specific sequences, joined by over exposure. I enjoy the high level of chance in this process and have yet to be disappointed by the out come.

 

 

Given a greater freedom of time to construct these pieces I might be more focused on the amount of content and material I create and more selective in the elements that I use. Every element is a roll of the dice and thus far I have been lucky with the numbers facing up.

1 Comment

Filed under Comment, iPhonography, Music, Photography, Video

//We tHrEE aND tHe DeAtH Rattle //

WTATDR01

In a slightly irresponsible move We Three and the Death Rattle suggested I might like to review their eponymous first full album. This is dangerous because I’m not a music critic and am liable to use the opportunity for some kind of self vindication of cultural back story and would probably use the sort of snarky and convoluted turn of phrase a professional would never employ. Oh well……

WTATDR are a Leicester based trio of musicians who I’ve seen a couple of times. The first time supporting Josh T Pearson, the second time supporting Mike Watts Il Sogno Del Mariano project. They are an excellent live band. They are loud, committed, skilled and without overt pretence. The singer fills out the sound with maracas and a skill for Theremin teasing as the the others pound out primal bluesy, ripped up r’n’r without the hint of an affected accent. They prowl on their musical references avoiding pastiche and obvious reference. You might find the odd sign post in the lyrics – witchery, black cats, jackknife truck wrecks, swamp dwellers, playboy dolls suicide – more colour than narrative. The broken hearts seem grateful for being given a sense of purpose, alligators bite as it’s in their nature and bombs are built to explode – so lets get on and do this thing.

WTATDR Cover

Playing the album a few times over the last week I’m convinced that there is some local Grebo DNA filtering through. That pounded out in local boozer back room sound, sticky on the floor Converse soles, tattoos and check print shirt styling (sans sleeves) & fuzzed up glam punk mid-west buzz cut reminds me off ancient Leicester band Gaye Bykers on Acid (and in turn Bomb Party & Crazy Head) all urban funsters building on their teen influences and scratching grooves in vinyl of their own. I still have a deep fondness for that period of music. The missing link between an mis-remembered antecedent and the next big thing that forgot to happen. Grebo was an industrial post-NWOBHM blip that was shouted down by Grunge. It was way to hardcore and poorly scrubbed for quiet/loud dynamics being occupied by anthemic hooks, glam zombies, broken glitter balls and fuzzed up noise.

This is Hey Detonator!

A couple of reviews I’ve found elsewhere suggest the song set doesn’t progress but there’s no need to look for that. Of the 11 tracks, four that I’m aware of have been single or EP lead songs. These are the most rounded songs with the deeper grooves (Alligators, InPatients, Hey Detonator, Split Lips) and have probably had the most studio time spent on them. There are distorted textures and layers in most of the other tracks that are worth the attention – a flute, an organ break, a particularly squally guitar, a almost utterly dog audible Theremin break, a percussive and jazzy drum fill- all well executed sketches which, give them a decent advance and bunch more studio time would fill out and and push up the pulse rate. The guitar sound is really knocking on the door of the classic Cramps – broken blues, sub-pop – and with more overdubs and Dinosaur Jr sized stacks might break out and fly even higher.

This is Alligators….

As mentioned at the beginning they are a really good live band. They look, act and sound the part & play with conviction. Give them some bigger PA, larger audiences and longer sets and they will most likely wail & growl even louder. Listen to the CD on 10, 11 if you have it, it’s r’n’r after all. And they have a Theremin which is a total win, so everything’s groovy baby. I’m looking forward to seeing them again.

Track List

01: Down Out And Deep Fried
02: Hot Neptune
03: Stitches And Winners
04: Split Lips
05: Inpatients
06: Bipolarcoaster
07: Alligators
08: Double Or Quits
09: Hey Detonator!
10: You’re My Ammunition
11: Bitten By Dust

Released by http://www.pawpurrrecords.com

You can buy it here on Bandcamp which is way more Rock’n’Roll than iTunes http://pawpurr.bandcamp.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Comment, Music, Video

Winterval Interlude

Fairground 01

Welcome to 2014 on one of the least overrated blogs on the inter web. This is my year for art, music, activism and unfulfilled promise. I will be regularly missing self imposed deadlines, relying on the the tolerance and disbelief of my audience and increasing my already embarrassing typo count by homophoning it in with scant regard for linguistic convention and spell check. Your patience is appreciated.

First up this year is a little sound scape that made it through the distractions of seasonal celebration. It will probably go with the ‘Sea Song and Other Fictions’ project although i’m still undecided in which direction to take this. I have an urge to be a little more punk in approach but I might need to hit on Amazon Local for some cheap studio time in which to do some shouting.

‘Winterval Interlude’ uses sounds and images from Ye Olde Market Square in Nottingham. They have an event called Winter Wonderland and I have to confess that I do….wonder… But the kids quite like it and you can never have enough German Markets and Ostrich Burger (or is the Austrich Burghers?).

Here is the video. It uses iSuper8 spliced up in iMovie with lots of filtering. Although its a little overused I really like the ripple drop  transition between shots. There are a few shots of Nottingham’s Victoria Centre in there as well although I’ve tried to avoid anything specifically ‘Christmassy’, aiming more for the Winter Holiday event itself.

If however you are a committed audiophile and more interested in the sonic qualities in the music, please enjoy the following link from Soundcloud.

Now, I recently read a piece on LinkedIn about how the British are often unnecessarily self deprecating when promoting their skills and creative endeavours. Currently I am free from the need to promote my ‘content’ in order to generate income or credibility. I enjoy my spare moments of creativity and don’t try to intellectualise the materials I release into the world. That isn’t to say that I don’t put a good deal of thought into them and try to produce a sequence of ideas that feed on their siblings.  Out of this sequence the thing I am most content with is the following image.

This is piece of pure app lead iPhonography, using three separate images a stew of 6 editing apps. At full resolution it would be half a meter square.

Winter Drops

Leave a comment

Filed under Comment, Hipstamatic, iPhonography, Music, Nottingham, Photography, Video