On 15th June 2013 Bang the Bore presented Displacement Activity, a concert inspired by an exhibition of work by land artists Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt at the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton. It featured compositions by Manfred Werder and James Saunders; a publication by Neil Chapman and David Stent; a sonification of Smithson’s mirror displacement methodology by Seth Cooke; and a special edition of Compost & Height’s Wolf Notes journal. This article collects the documentation of that event.
VA AA LR | Stephen Cornford | Seth Cooke
The Cube Cinema, Bristol
8pm | Wednesday 21st January 2015
Bristol’s premier promoter of sonic experimentation presents an evening of hacked tvs, 4 screen cinematic drone & electroacoustic experimentation.
VA AA LR: Any means to create a spectacle, whether rescue flares or crackling piles of consumer junk. Vasco Alves, Adam Asnan & Louie Rice have performed around the world, releasing on more labels than my word limit allows.
Stephen Cornford: Sound artist with work in galleries & labels around the world. Tonight hacking TVs & assorted electronics into an hypnotic, audiovisual action.
Michael Pisaro’s “Was, Was and Is”: Seth Cooke bends the Wandelweiser composer’s minimalist score into an immersive drone piece for four screen video, cymbals & performers.
Seth Cooke returns to the fold, worshipping the glitch via 3D printer and Infinite Jukebox. “Eternal World Engines of the Demiurge is a twenty minute quick & dirty blast of Jack Kirby tribute, evocation of thoughts and sensations accompanying childhood sleep paralysis and continuation of my interest in botched modelling. Infinite Jukebox was designed by Paul Lamere. It endlessly extends and reconfigures MP3s by calculating probabilistic routes through the sound file based on pitch, timbre and metric position. A 3D printer eternally misprints a glitched universe. A corrupt MP3 sings gibberish forever.” – Seth Cooke
Hand-sprayed mini-CDR, full colour sleeve.
It’s odd writing this, trying to transmit a feeling that’s really only going to connect with people who knew Nick, because Nick was less a part of this crowd and so I have no idea how many of the people who’ll read this knew him.
I guess most people will know him best via his singer songwriter project Gravenhurst, but he was in lots of other ways too a central presence in Bristol music, and for as long as I’ve lived here. He was part of what held the scene together, 10-15 years ago when Bristol was all scratchy rock bands sharing bills with wide eyed noisers, electronica and fingerpicked post-folk; he was playing Gravenhurst shows, running Silent Age records, creating fake scandinavian psyche-rock band and nearly getting them signed by accident, and making forum posts more erudite and hilarious than most peoples’ novels.
An incredibly sharp, funny guy; Nick was very charming and had conversation in spades in a way that made you feel that if you met him out with a group of friends, you could introduce him to any of them and expect them to make a connection. Sharing a couple of pints with him was always a great pleasure – much as he was capable of talking (fascinatingly) for an entire evening on whatever was interesting him, he also had the fantastic trait of being attentive – cleverly and with a genuine interest and critical ear – to whatever engaged you, and of having something unexpected to say about it.
That skill for engagement and observation made Nick a great writer too – his lyrics are literary but wear it lightly, so that what matters is their atmosphere, sense of place, and mood. But go read his funny, cynical blog too, and his excellent interviews for the Quietus with John Gray and Alan Moore, and Anta; or Quietus’ interview with Nick.
He was a friend who I increasingly saw far too rarely, and that lapse now makes me very sad.
The last time I saw him, I think, was in the Hillgrove, and we sat talking about Richard Thompson. He was amazed I didn’t know his instrumental Dargai and insisted I listen to it as soon as I get home, which I did. When I started writing this piece that was the first thing I thought of sharing.
A new book on Xenakis. And free. Smashing!
A few pages in and we’re disappointed to learn that not all of Big X’s experiences in the US were artistically satisfactory.
Still, we’re glad to have learned that he wrote music for a German toothpaste commercial.
If you make noise or computer music you probably need to know more about Xenakis.
Given that you’re reading this, there’s a fair chance you make noise or computer music.
Thus, chances are, you ought to read this book…
Charles Turner’s Xenakis in America now available for free download from Monoskop