Showing posts from January, 2019
last year I was in Prague, briefly, on my way back from an event in Plasy where I had given a talk. During those few days I met some old friends and made some new ones. I hope one of them will forgive me for being overly sentimental; 
a fairly instant friendship was found between a small group of us - we ate together sometimes, listened to talks, explored buildings and went for a walk in the park. These things happen. I have met many people, formed many memories of sharing space and time with others in times of friendship and shared artistic pursuits. These things happen.

once in a while memories that are 'more' form, often small moments than no one else notices or that resonate at a different pitch - perhaps a sort of reverie or a simple fragmentary ecstatic, not taken out of context but not entirely fixed.

Saša, there was a wave for a parting that didn’t occur. Perhaps I remember it with a strength that sounds odd but I remain something like a child, caught in the myste…
40 years # 5
(there is a longer story to all this but as these posts are meant to be a positive look back over 40 years i’ll save the more complicated aspects for another time) 

i remember my mum buying me a packet of space dust when it was first available in the uk sometime around 1975-76 - the sensation on the tongue was of course something of a novelty but i was really drawn to the sound and how it seemed to connect directly to ones brain, ears bypassed. 

we had a sodastream and I would often load a jug with ice cubes and pour small amounts of their branded cola in to watch and listen to the ice dissolving. 

there was a type of early ready-meal in the late 70's; chop-suey with crispy noodles that you had to deep fry. although the opposite of dissolving the intense crackle of these yellow see-through strips puffing up in the hot oil, and more to the point, continuing to slightly fizz on the plate was another early memory of pin-points of molecular sound.

when i was in upper…
40 years # 4
headphones or decent speakers will be needed for this one: a piece composed from recordings made during my first residency in topolo during their annual arts festival, to which I returned several times along with my daughter, Pheobe, who now attends with her own friends to enjoy the various performances, readings and, of course, good company of our friends there. The piece features a recording of ants eating an apricot - a process that took several hours and involved the use of adapted c-series contact microphones inside the fruit, and further contact mic recordings of metal railings around the village.
resonances / residences by Jez riley French
40 years # 3
when I began releasing ‘field recording’ piece again in the early 2000’s, after a break of almost a decade, it was as limited edition 3inch cd’r, in hand folded card with individual photographs. this wasn’t only about aesthetics but also connected to the physical process and the sense of the work being personal.
i had heard of hydrophones when i was in my teens, via a radical newspaper article on diy sound. i have a memory of them being used on a joy division track to record the sound of a cymbal being struck underwater (in a bucket !) and i attempted to build one for a local band to do something similar at a nearby studio, though this was all the process of placing a conventional microphone in a balloon or cling film and hoping for the best. as i began working with traditional musics i came across different diy microphone building techniques and hydrophones for recording water drumming for example. i’d heard plenty of whale song recordings by that point - my local city lib…
forty years # 2

this track was recorded at HTBA (hull time based arts) as part of a residency for Karen Winzer. I have to admit that my memories are a bit sketchy but from my notes, and ears, I know I was using JrF coil pick up’s to pick up the electromagnetics of personal cd players, cameras and other small devices - recorded direct to minidisc. the track was released as a 3inch cd-r in a very limited edition, basically for myself, Karen and a few friends.
I began using coils back in the 1980’s having purchased a very cheap clip on guitar pick up for acoustic guitars and finding that it was very sensitive to any nearby electronics. I still have it. I found using it during live performances allowed me to tap in to some of the venues own devices, such as stage lighting or mixers.
- but I always preferred working with it in much smaller, quieter environments than concert venues. on this track I worked in a tiny studio space at the htba building in the old town of hull. I can’t remember if …
sawako kato - good morning karen dalton - something on your mind* massicot - tarte orchestra tout puissant marcel duchamp - nap eglantine gouzy - eglantine longe baal & mortimer - prostheses tine surel lange - tarre sonotanotanpenz - legend kría brekkan - biboni kuupuu - myrsky laulu catherine christer hennix - equal temperament fender mix (extract) laurel halo - raw silk uncut wood maya shenfeld - spectrum quinta - blood julie covington - winter kept us warm rickie lee jones - the returns Pheobe riley Law - soundwalks tonal (extract)

* Before setting up my own music distribution company, with two partners, I worked for a brief time for a notorious distributor connected to folk music. I’d heard stories but thought they must be exaggerated - they weren’t. If anything they were on the mild side of the truth. As head of UK sales I worked long and hard, waiting weeks and months for pay and was consistently underpaid. Complaining was pointless. Either cope or get out. I’d grown to hate how the labels w…
forty years

(typed without really believing it)

a bass guitar, an amplifier, a portable cassette player / recorder. these were the presents from my mum for my twelfth and thirteenth birthdays. i am forever grateful to her, and in this specific context for making possible these first steps in my exploration of music and sound.

i didn’t take to school, always asked too many questions for my teachers patience, but i did like music, english and drama (though not the drama teacher). at the back of the theatre space at school there was a cupboard with various supplies in, including for some reason a small stack of identical cassettes on the Deutsche Grammaphon label by a female duo. i have long forgotten the name of the duo who i think were sisters and despite searching online i can’t be sure whether any of the names that come up fit. however, somewhere amongst the boxes of early tapes and reel to reels i hope there is still one copy of this cassette - a remnant of the few that were ‘borrowed’…