This week sees more dissociative identity disorder. Whilst searching for Bill English jazz drummer, I discovered yet another Bill English or in this case Billy English, also a drummer, who played with Willie Nelson on Across the Borderline. To further confuse matters, Billy turns out to be the same Bill English and is accompanied on this record by another percussionist by the name of Paul English (no relation to me or Bill) on two tracks. Willie Nelson was christened Willie not William but the thrash band known as William English made a track called Nelson’s County so we can include that in today’s repertoire. Full tracklist (not in strict order): Fly me to the Moon, Rollin’, and Seventh Avenue Bill, all by Bill English, first released in 1963 on the Vanguard label. If I were the man you wanted, and Farther down the line, both from Across the Borderline by Willie Nelson. Nelson’s County, and Random Obscenities by William English (thrash band). Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life by William Davis on the organ of the Granada Cinema, Tooting. Nous les Vivants, by Winter Family. Invisible Whispers, by Cosey Fanni Tutti and Philippe Petit. Eyes, by Paul Rosales. Vanity Kills, by Mark Stewart on a new CD called The Politics of Envy (this particular track includes filmmaker Kenneth Anger on Theramin) and finally Motherless Child, by Jonathan Kane from the CD; February.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet.”…on the particular Sunday in question, several years ago, one of the performers inside the aforementioned warehouse was a certain Mr Richard Thomas who has since risen to become Content Manager of Resonance and he is one of the guests on Wavelength today. Welcome Mr Richard Thomas. Our second guest is a noted sound artist by the name of Richard Thomas. Hello Richard, thanks for coming in today. Our third guest is a noted cinematographer by the name of Richard Thomas and the fourth guest (who didn’t actually arrive) is of course Richard Thomas. Thanks Richards for coming in… sorry, I was talking to Richard…
Songs of Sense and Nonsense – Tell It Again, by the unlikely combination of Moondog and Julie Andrews (and Martyn Green) first recorded in 1957 and then re-issued on CD in 2009. The Seasons from the BBC Schools Radio Series Drama Workshop presented by Derek Bowskill with poems by Ronald Duncan and Radiophonic Music by David Cain, originally recorded in 1969, now available again on the Trunk label. The Electronic Record For Children created by Bruce Haack and Esther Nelson also from 1969 and just re-issued
Today sees the start of extended 60 minute Wavelength programmes, beginning at 14:30. “Cambridge 1969” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono from Unfinished Music No.2, Life with the Lions, lasting just over 26 minutes, the last section accompanied by John Stevens on percussion and John Tchicai on saxophone. At the time of its release, George Martin commented “No Comment”. During the programme; two calls for missing persons or at least persons missing to me: Artist Janice Kerbel, author of “15, Lombard Street” published by book works in 2001 which outlines a detailed plan for robbing Coutts Bank in the City of London. The second call goes out to Orin Anderson from South Carolina who studied English Literature at Leicester University in the 1970s and donated a demo single for my wooden Bal Ami jukebox. The single “Adam” might be unique, on the Richland label. Any information about either of these people would be appreciated. The programme finished with “Objects and Spaces” by Audio Arts, a flimsy transparent flexidisc issued with the catalogue for The Sculpture Show in 1983.
…This particular Bill English LP was displayed on the wall in the basement of Harold Moore’s Records in Soho. I had seen it there about 3 weeks ago and made a beeline for the shop, down the stairs and up to the wall. It had gone. I asked the staff who had no knowledge of it. The owner of the shop who used to do a show on Resonance passed by so I said: “What happened to the Bill English LP which is my name too”. He said “I didn’t know that was your name, I have nothing to do with Jazz if I can help it”. Foyle’s Jazz shop have never heard of Bill English and couldn’t find any trace of it on DiscOgs or any other web site. This is a track by William English the thrash band:(T-H-C from Home). Continuing with my researches into Art and Language and the Red Krayola I have brought along an LP by them from 1981 on the Rough Trade label called Kangaroo. The cover shows a painting of a Kangaroo upside down in the manner of Baselitz. The following quote by Michael Baldwin of Art and Language, not Coronation Street, is priceless: “One of the more memorable observations made to us recently was by someone in New York who said ‘It’s so interesting that in relation to your earlier work you have become so lyrical’. At some point I have to regard that statement as first order. The displacements in the work were successful enough to direct that person into a 180 degree (mis)interpretation. That (mis)interpretation is as it were one of the ironies internal to the work. The attempt to produce a stable, non-radical, non-sceptical, non-ironic, non-self-inconsistent interpretation of the work must be doomed to failure, or the work has failed. This is not charismatic solipsism. The work requires the prosecution of conflict, not the luxury of the play of contrasts. This conflict may always remain ordinal. You may never get a sense of the whole. This is reality – the only chance against manipulative barbarism. The ontological problem is that a work of art tears itself apart having worn the clothes of unity. Adorno’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis is entirely germane. I think we can extract more hope than Adorno, I don’t think I have to resort to quite the same artsy pessimism as he insists upon. The radical incompleteness of what he called the human project, the necessity for the radical interpretation at any and every moment in the unfolding of that project, and therefore the dry necessity of taking risks with aesthetically incomplete and self-uncompleting works, is what hope there is for a human project. This is entirely distinct from the solipsistic play of contrasts authorised as a secure cultural moment. That’s Tony Hancock”.
This week we continue the investigation into the liaison between the conceptual Art group “Art and Language” and The Red Krayola, naming the members of each outfit would take up the remaining 25 minutes of the programme. Previous programmes focussed on the Red Krayola and the Familiar Ugly up to 1976 when they combined with Art and Language to produce the LP Corrected Slogans. The following quote is by Charles Harrison, himself a one time member of Art and Language from the book Essays on Art and Language: “The artists who were to form Art and Language were among those who had an intuition of what a modern and non-provincial practice might be like, and who desired something of the kind. Yet to ask in the normal places what might be the price of achieving such a practice was to discover that one’s resources were in the wrong form of currency: that the prevailing medium of exchange was “pigges bones” (Chaucer). Though the supposedly magical significance of the objects in question was belied by the fraudulence of their provenance, this fraudulence was itself a function of the magic-authenticating system. As Benjamin said a propos the work of Brecht, the task was to get rid of the magic.” Today I’m leapfrogging a few decades to the latest release by The Red Krayola with Art and Language in association with Drag City Incorporated: “Five American Portraits” recorded in 2008, mixed in 2009 and released in 2010. Once again, I need a magnifying glass to read the ever diminishing texts on a CD cover unlike the easily legible LP covers of old. The personnel on this record are Gina Birch; vocals and bass, Alex Dower on drums, Jim O’Rourke, Tom Rogerson, Mayo Thompson, and Tom Watson. There is no explanation of why these five were chosen from all the Americans in the world: Wile E. Coyote; the cartoon character who never catches up with Road Runner, President George W. Bush, President Jimmy Carter, John Wayne and the artist Ad Reinhardt who started out as a political caricaturist and then turned to painting ever minimalist canvases of black on black squares. The lyrics of each portrait describe the details of each person’s face as though one were looking at the features whilst drawing them perhaps… for example the opening lines of Wile E. Coyote: “The lower region of the inner surface of the left ear. The iris of the left eye. A bit of fur at the extreme upper right of the cheek. A highlight on the nose. Of Wile E. Coyote.” This eccentric formula is repeated for each character. In each case, a bald presentation of the facial characteristics of each person is accompanied by music.
Part two of a series about Art and Language and their musical collaborations with The Red Krayola. Today’s programme starts with two tracks by Cornelius Cardew from his Maoist phase. Readings from Charles Harrison’s Essays on Art and Language and then several tracks from Corrected Slogans (1976).
Adham Fisher interviewed. Adham has tried to enter the Guinness Book of Records by visiting every station on the London Underground in record time i.e. something less than the present record of approximately 16 hours. He’s also toured the underground rail networks of Chicago, New York and Paris and along with several collaborators produced an EP based on these journeys called 1000 stations.