Posts

Welcome to Navel-Gazers...

The James Worse Public Address Method: oxtensmoot

Image
My next interview is with James Worse who is going to talk to us about oxtensmoot . It’s not exactly uncommon for an artist to dabble in a wide variety of media formats - sound, visual, video, words - in fact nowadays, maybe that’s the norm. And yet it’s not often that we encounter a multimedia artist quite like Jim. He’s got a sensibility which is so definitive and so distinct as to be instantly recognisable… whether he’s working with instrumental electronics, abstract videos, fabric designs, homemade typefaces and fonts, or spoken recitations in his imaginary “worsicle” nonsense language, you probably know it’s James Worse, or you’ve got a hunch. (If you’re hip)! After poking through Jim’s “public address method” discography over the past year, this recent 32-track release ‘oxtensmoot’ strikes me as particularly special. There’s a confluence of different elements here - electronics with speech especially - which I’m not taking for granted as it hasn’t necessarily occurred on the

Kate Carr: The Thing Itself And Not The Myth

Image
My next interview is with Kate Carr who is going to talk to us about The Thing Itself and Not the Myth . I just got done listening to this album and it’s as though I’ve returned from some sort of murky water-world… except it was really our world. Like much of Kate’s work which - in her own words - blurs the boundary between instruments and field recording, ‘The Thing Itself…’ revolves around audio footage from select locations. And it isn’t always clear the extent to which what we’re hearing is merely or exclusively the unassuming, natural ambience of those locations - these are also compositions, with harmonic properties, with subtle instrumentation and arrangements and with a distinct air of purpose and intent. Kate’s got a way with words - there’s something that draws me in with some of her earlier album titles…. It was a time of laboured metaphors , I had myself a nuclear spring … On ‘The Thing Itself…’ it’s someone else’s voice she’s chosen to channel, that of the poet Adrienn

Constance/Nyoukis: Whit?

Image
My next interview is with Karen Constance and Dylan Nyoukis who are going to talk to me about the Constance / Nyoukis Whit? boxset. These artists are fairly new to me, and in surveying the contents of ‘Whit?’, which contains a split tape, a split lathe 7”, a CDr, a compilation album of other artists and a “pocket book” full of drawings and collages, I’m reminded of my earliest encounters with underground music and how astonishing and overwhelming it was to first conceive of all that material floating out there under the radar of the mainstream. It’s a goldmine of sound and on their website, the plot thickens further. They apparently run a label called Chocolate Monk where I recognise some of the artists such as Hannah Ellul and Aaron Dilloway … the rest sound like characters in some fantastical bizarro music world, with album titles like “Life on Bob-Lo Island” , “Bijou Bastard Box Room Suite” , “I Am With The Band Of Gurps”, and of course “Whit?” which is, amazingly, t

Goh Lee Kwang: Nerve Center

Image
My next interview is with Goh Lee Kwang who is going to talk to us about  Nerve Center . As anyone familiar with Navel-Gazers knows, each of these interviews chooses to focus on a specific album and I must say that this one was a difficult decision. Lee Kwang has literally hundreds of albums... in fact as I scroll through the  becoming shadow  discography I genuinely wonder if he's the most prolific artist on all of Bandcamp. There are so many individual items here that I need to set aside time for the page to load! I forget what caught my attention about 'Nerve Center' (after returning with a coffee) but relistening through headphones the other day I found it utterly mesmerising. Its four tracks - each of comparable length - are all completely different. And I hadn't realised it's all the way back from 2002, which means it's one of his earlier ones. 19 years later I'm feeling lucky to get a glimpse into the world of Goh Lee Kwang even though th

Cheer-Accident: Enduring the American Dream

Image
My next interview is with Thymme Jones and Jeff Libersher of Cheer-Accident, who are going to talk to me about Enduring the American Dream . Normally here on Navel-Gazers I encourage our audience to listen along to the music while reading, but I'm afraid that won't be easy with this one. It's an album which will monopolise your attention like a midwestern vacuum cleaner salesman, and I have to confess that after many repeated listens over the years this music continues to catch me off guard. Drop in at the ten minute mark, it's a prog rock epic of unfathomable complexity... ten minutes later, a moody interlude with oboes and trombones... ten minutes more and it's almost as though someone's left the tape recorder running by accident. ...then again it's all an accident, so to speak, and for the uninitiated, 'Enduring the American Dream' remains an ideal introduction to this unusual band who are a personal favourite of mine and whom I've had a p

Beatriz Ferreyra: GRM Works

Image
My next interview is with Beatriz Ferreyra who is going to talk to us about the GRM Works collection. It would truly be no exaggeration to call Beatriz responsible for some of the most groundbreaking recordings ever heard - sound recording aficionados may know her as one of the architects of musique concrète , in her days at the GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales), an organisation led by the great Pierre Schaeffer in Paris which is where Beatriz took up residence after relocating from Argentina in the early 1960s. The GRM Works collection juxtaposes two of Ms. Ferreyra's compositions from the late 60s era alongside two longer, equally remarkable pieces, produced only a decade ago. It's a tour de force through the outer limits of sound recording, not to mention a nice "symmetrical" way to look back at an extraordinary career. Now we have perhaps the ultimate way to learn more about the origins of these sounds: an interview right here at Navel-Gazers...

Fossil Aerosol Mining Project: The Day 1982 Contaminated 1971

Image
My next interview is with the Fossil Aerosol Mining Project, about  The Day 1982 Contaminated 1971 . I don't remember how I first stumbled on this music, and I actually don't know who it is I'm speaking to, as the participants in the project - which has existed since (I note carefully) 19 83  - have never disclosed their identities! Are you feeling - like me - a sense of temporal dislocation already, even before we've started? Welcome to the vast discography of the Fossil Aerosol Mining Project, where a recording from 1968, found at a thrift store in 1991, might materialise on a release from 2009... resurrected always from sources such as scratched celluloid, mildewed cassettes, or decomposing vinyl... using temperamental studio equipment and arcane procedures known, perhaps, only to the group. This album, released in - careful here - 20 14 , seems to me the best introduction to Fossil Aerosol Mining Project. It comes across like a microcosm of the territory they