‘Masculinity is a wonderful thing’ is a dense, sculptural clutter of gauze-thin cut up samples, loops and embellished found sounds. It’s an intense, and incredibly direct listen. Louis Johnstone seems resolutely artless and at the same time all the more an artist for it. He would no doubt hate a sentence like that. I just can’t think of a better way to describe the incredible way his collages make all formal music ideas seem worthless whilst you become lost in his world.
Henry Plotnick is an improvisational musician, creating long, drawn-out, ambient pieces using the most basic of Yamaha keyboards, and a Line 6 DL-4.
His pieces evoke the arpeggio based minimalism of Steve Reich, Terry Riley and Philip Glass. If not maybe possessing as much in the way of the sophistication as these composers, he still has an ambition and playfulness not to be overlooked.
Henry Plotnick’s album, ‘Fields’, is an ambitious, patient and ever evolving series of ideas, charmingly simple, but genuinely startling. Released on vinyl through ‘Holy Mountain’ on the 23rd July, it can already be downloaded here:
He has recently been performing improvised pieces in art galleries, as well as posting videos on the internet which are tragically under-viewed.
Sometimes it’s too easy to get stuck in a rut, talking about things which reference the past. In those moments of retromania, it’s simple to forget how quickly ideas and tastes accelerate today when compared with say, 100, or even 50 years ago. I mean this culturally and sociologically. When sounds that were of a very particular taste from 20 or maybe 30 years ago, then disappear into silicone heaven following an untimely cultural death, become appropriated into a new context today, does it matter if we can’t remember what those sounds and feelings were the first time around? In this way, is it right to assume people of a certain age have no right to declare their disdain for recently deceased political figures, regardless of their own current gross economic situation?
Nostalgia is not an accurate reason for a love or hate relationship with particular sounds and aesthetics. What it says about today, and tomorrow is important. What it said yesterday may go some way in telling us where it came from, but not why that matters now. By developing a new language of their own for the future, these precognitive dreamers are shaping a musical landscape that owes nothing to the past but its own optimistic design of the future.
Justin Walter is a scientist of sorts. His new album ‘Lullabies and nightmares’ stretches the sound of this instrument, to the most beautiful conclusions. Experiments in sound that have been dissected into ambient fragments and soldered back together again.
The animation for ‘How Things Are Made’ was completed after a lengthy process, whereby learning simple animation techniques involved over-complicated and unsatisfactory PC software that wouldn’t be considered by those of a professional standard when making an animation of this length.
It was, however, still an enjoyable experience, which I will be repeating; Particularly when Anti-Ghost Moon Ray start making trails for the forthcoming soundtracks for science-fiction films night on October 13th.
Part of the video was initially devised as a concept for a performance piece in May 2007, involving buckets of coloured water, and was due to take place outside thirtyfive-a gallery in Brighton. At that time, I had also considered conducting an event where passengers would fill a bus to its capacity at the start of a journey and remain there for the duration. Both were a conceptual response to the work of contemporary situationist artists, particularly Francis Alys. Neither event happened in real life.
Alys conducted a physical displacement event in which 500 volunteers, standing in a line on a sand dune located in Lima, Peru, were instructed to move a single shovel of sand forward, thus moving the whole dune forward from its original position. It contains the power of mythology and storytelling in its simplicity, singular conception and execution.
‘How things are made’ was the title of a solo graduate exhibition in December 2004. My graduation came later than my fellow students due to an inconveniently timed bout of glandular fever which left me bed-ridden for 1 and a half months during the preparation for our final show together. The work I produced for this show was a combination of video, sculpture and installation, in which I attempted to have a maddening amount of objects and information all vying for the attention of the viewer all the time.
The title of the show itself was a reference to the 1970s National Geographic book of the same name, which fuelled my particular obsession with making, and processes of all kinds.
The song itself was not written when I devised the animation, and the animation was not fully realised by the time I had completed the song. Neither were initially made with the other in mind. The title was solely for the album I am currently making, but eventually I found all these elements held together well as a centrepiece for the whole work. I often find that these things come together eventually from disparate places, even when they are not intended to co-exist when they are first made.