Thursday, July 06, 2006

There's been quite a lot of fantastic music emanating from Down Under for the past several years, little more deep and beautiful than that created by Philip Samartzis. I first heard his work in duo with one of my very favorite musicians, Sachiko M, on their "artefact" [sic] from around 1999. I've kept up reasonably well since then and have consistently enjoyed what I've heard. If I can generalize about the sound organization that seems to occur "down" there, I'd say there's a strong emphasis on spatial separation. Many of the musicians are involved in installation work and that sense of roominess, of air between sounds, often permeates their recordings and to wonderful effect. Michael Graeves, Arek Gulbenkoglu, Will Guthrie (now in Nantes), Thembi Soddell and many more are all producing outstanding, vibrant work.

I recently received Samartzis' "Unheard Spaces" (a review will appear at Bagatellen in the next day or two, and I was especially bowled over by the second of the two "suites" on the disc which consists of collaged field recordings from Venice. Along with what I've heard from Toshiya Tsunoda, the best I've heard in this area since the classic Luc Ferrari "Presque Rien" series. The art of choosing which tapes to use, which ones to abut against others, how to overlay them for the most poetic/exciting effect, etc. is utterly beyond me yet you can fairly clearly hear what succeeds and what doesn't. I hope to get more into this idea later as it seems more than a little paradoxical to me. ie, why this bit of children playing works but this other one doesn't. I imagine it's about context and immediately prior memory.....

No comments: