Today’s programme plunders the distinguished career of John Wynne, presenter of Up Country, and sound artist, otherwise known as Mr Speaker after his 300 speaker installation at the Saatchi Gallery, the recording of which is ruthlessly superimposed over the original soundtrack from The Big Country; John’s theme tune, cassette stuff from Material/Immaterial (1989), taking in Canadian Inuit music recorded in a Quebec hospital as well as other “Wynnonia” including early Stanley Brothers and Captain Richard Jonas.
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.
Bob Parks and the Recreationals live in the studio performing a festive rendition of We Free Kings in the style of Roland Kirk (who I saw once at Ronnie Scott’s when he performed Blacknuss and had an acrimonious altercation with a white member of the audience about Black Power and the lyrics of Blacknuss causing aforementioned white person to walk out muttering about how it wasn’t jazz as he knew it…) followed by a diatribe by Bob and ending with a loud (and quiet) version of Silent Night.
Well the cover says 30 Organ Skating Favourites, George Stone at the Organ but this has been roughly painted over with white, silver and red paint, three leaflet/prints attached with string and a cassette tied with red tinsel to the front. A strange Xmas compilation album just received. From the cassette; Xmas Medley by the New Acorns followed by Theme from Cannibal Holocaust by Cave Bears. From the LP; Santa Descending a Staircase by Bromp Treb and Deck the Halls by S.O.P.. Then 2 tracks by Morgan Fisher who I wrongly assumed to be the structural filmmaker who recently had a show at Raven Row but turns out to be another Morgan Fisher who apparently played with Mott the Hoople before pursuing a solo career in a bedroom studio in Notting Hill. The two tracks are Deck the Halls (again) and O Come All Ye Faithful (remix) from Hybrid Kids 2 (Claws) originally released in 1980 and now available again as a double CD. Finally; Ave Maria from Clara Rockmore’s Lost Theremin Album
The next three programmes are all devoted to Christmas music, some of which is strange, some of it downright morbid and some which is hopefully uplifting. Today’s track list: Joy to the World by M.V. Mathews from the 1962 LP Music from Mathematics played by IBM 7090 computer and digital to sound transducer; Xmas 1952 by Karen Kato from I.D. Art Number 2 (Paradigm Discs 2007); 3 tracks from the series Blues, Blues Christmas including Death might be your Santa Claus by Rev.J.M. Gates followed by 3 tracks in a lighter vein; Everybody’s gone Christmas by Sandra Tavernier and Steve Beresford from Joyeux Noel on Nato; Silver Bells by Moon Duo (45rpm single on Holy Mountain) and finally Just like Christmas by Low.
This week’s programme incudes records as Art by artists whose primary activity is Art, such as Pipilotti Rist (presently exhibiting at The Hayward Gallery), Cranfield and Slade whose 12″ record “12 Sun Songs” is on yellow vinyl with no label thereby resembling the sun itself, and records by recording artists whose main activity is producing music. Can you hear the difference? Tracks, not in order of playing; Soundtracks de las video instalaciones de Pipilotti Rist, Pulled Over by Paul A. Rosales and R. Stevie Moore, Sunrise and Red Rubber Ball by Cranfield and Slade from 12 Sun Songs (This record is part of the artists’ book series by Christopher Keller Editions and second in a series of artists’ records produced by the Or Gallery Vancouver), To Err is Human by The Godz from Pass on this Side, originally recorded in the 1970s and then released in 1998.
As usual, the Wavelength clock chimed eleven today; Friday 11th of the 11th month 2011 so today’s programme features 11 tracks in a countdown from 11 to zero. I failed ‘O’ level Maths so I’ve had to cheat a bit… track 8 includes track 4 and the first track by The Stanley Brothers is called “Molly and Tenbrook”, actually second track as we’ve already had eleven… and this was recorded in 1948, originally released as a 78rpm record on the Rich-R-Tone label. Track number 9 is William Burroughs from Break Through in Grey Room; “K-9 was in combat with the Alien Mind Screens” (1965) and will have to be faded out otherwise we won’t reach zero in time. Track 8, counting down, or track 3 or 4 counting the clock, includes track 4; “Eight Men, Four Women” by O.V. Wright which refers to a jury not an orgy. Track 7, number 7 of 11 on this 11th day of the 11th month 2011, is “7 Consonants in Space” by Lily Greenham. Track 6 is “Six Six Sixties” from Throbbing Gristle’s Greatest Hits. Track 5 is “Five Long Years for One Man” by Odea Mathews recorded in Louisiana Penitentiary in 1959. Track 4, or number 8 in the running order was, if you remember, also track 8 which was track 4 in the running order, by O.V. Wright who was born in 1939 and died in 1980, so we will move on to track 3; “Three Times a Fool” by Otis Rush recorded in 1957, followed in quick succession by tracks 2,1, zero; “You Can’t Love Two” by Ike and Tina Turner, a white label 45rpm single by Rude Ass Tinker which samples “One” by Nilsson and finally “Nothing” by Contraption Number 37.
Interview with William English
This week’s show includes a track by Yasunao Tone from the CD MP3 Deviation: “The MP3 Deviation album contains pieces that are results of the collaborative research by a team of the New Aesthetics in Computer Music (NACM) and myself, led by Tony Myatt at Music Research Center at the University of York in UK in 2009. My idea was to develop new software based on the disruption of the MP3. Primarily I thought the MP3 as reproducing device could have created very new sound by intervention between its main elements, the compression encoder and decoder. It turned out that result was not satisfactory. However, we found that if the sound file had been corrupted in the MP3, the corruptions generated 21 error messages, which could be utilized to assign various 21 lengths of samples automatically. Combining with different play back speeds, it could produce unpredictable and unknowable sound. That is a main pillar of the software. We, also, added some other elements such as flipping stereo channels and phase inversing alternately with a certain length of frequency ranges, which resulted different timbres and pitches. I performed several times at the MRC and I was certain that this software would be a perfect tool for performances. I have tentatively performed the piece in public in Kyoto, May 2009 and in New York, in May 2010. I also performed it successfully with totally different sound sources when I was invited for The Morning Line in Vienna in June 2011”.
A carefully planned programme which still managed to go slightly wrong. The deliberate mistake being that Rave Slime by Evol starts at 33rpm instead of 45rpm which affected the schedule. James, engineer at Resonance, preferred it at 33rpm and said he liked it so perhaps nothing to worry about. Both sides of Rave Slime are interrupted by four tracks from the soundtrack of “Drive” a new film which I haven’t seen. The score is by Cliff Martinez.