shows // Subcity Sessions
These are recordings of artists and bands living in the city and from out of town.
Lawrence English is an Australian sound artist with a penchant for field recordings, audio sculpture, and other intellectual acoustic practices. English curates Room 40, as much an international collaborative body of work as it is a record label. Each of his performances offer a unique take on the room; playing its resonant frequencies, rumbling its tables, and forcing its occupants to get contemplative, or giggly, or leave. This recording serves as an account of his exploration of Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, an excerpt of a live show intent on provoking deep listening, a shared artistic experience, and - ultimately - enjoyment.
How did you come to be involved in sound art?
My interest in sound comes out of a very simple experience I had when I was a kid. When I was very young I used to go birdwatching with my dad. There was a particular kind of bird called a reed-warbler, it's a really small, brown marsh bird. It basically lives in very dense reeds. We'd go looking for this bird when I was a kid and my dad would say, "Listen, what you have to do is close your eyes and listen for where the bird is. Then once you get an idea of the space the bird is in, open your eyes and look for the bird." It almost always worked. You'd find this bird, whereas if you'd just looked in the reeds you'd see nothing. If you listened you got an idea of space and a sense of where it might be, then you understood it. So, while I wasn't thinking about it at the time, for me that's probably my first experience with this idea of space and sound, which are basically the fundamental building blocks of what I've been interested in since then. A large percentage of the concert tonight involved actually playing the room, physically manipulating objects and, unfortunately, making glass bottles fall off and smash on the ground. That was an unexpected side effect, but it's very much about this idea of how sound influences and can be shaped by the space in which it is found.
Which medium do you find the best for your art?
I think I enjoy them all differently. Everything is a quite discrete experience. What you do in the studio, for example, never translates necessarily into live practice. The same goes for the art installation. Working in installation is probably the most direct way to create an experience with people because in some ways you're actually setting the circumstances in which people will experience the work entirely. Whereas, if you record an album, the moment you finish that album you hand it over to someone and they either listen to it with their ipod earphones in, or they put it on a home stereo, or they put it through a big PA. Your control ends at the point that you issue it and give it to the world. In a gallery context, you're controlling that to some degree.
Posted at 19:22, 1st May 2011
Having produced nearly 100 tracks in the past year, Frazer Graham (aka HaHaHa) is a dedicated producer, recording found sounds to create some of the phased melody lines that share something with the slick submerged DnB of LTJ Bukem. Manipulating the sound of snapping wood and dripping taps on some of the tracks on his Evil EP (available via Swimteam Records) has just been one of his approaches to a brand of house that takes some tighter ascending 8-bit synths on latest track Cyclops. His live performances involve a big bag of live percussion, re-edits, original productions, tight punchy bass drums and rattling toms.
His most recent project has been a collaboration with fellow Subcity cohort Raksha, a few tracks have already been leaked from an EP planned for release later this year. Even Subcity veteran Benny Boom has given his latest mixtape props on the Mixed Bizness blog.
Why did you start Swimteam Records?
Me and my friend Suezz, who I do Alpine Ski Champion with, wanted to start our own platform to release what we were recording, so we set it up and released Kingdom which was the first four songs we made together.
How do you approach your productions?
That track Leaky Submarine on my EP, took a couple of weeks. I was trying to limit myself at the time. All the songs were just recorded with a kick, high hat, cracking wood and water. A big influence of mine is Micachu and the Shapes, they have used the sounds of hoovers, that really influenced me. I don’t really like synthesizers, probably because I don’t really have a good one. I think it's kind of interesting using familiar sounds but making them sound a little bit different. Sampling them or make melodies of them to, I try not to do too much, I like minimal stuff. I like making it just to sound interesting.
Posted at 01:56, 21st January 2011
Halloween at the Art School: the perfect setting for a band like 7VWWVW (MAMMAL backwards and upside down, obviously). Their sparse and robotic sounds, supplemented with eerie melodies, set the perfect post-apocalyptic soundtrack for the Dimension B Party.
Whether or not you joined the mutant mob at Art School, this is worth checking out. If this mix wets your appetite, the Edinburgh 5 piece have released material which is available to buy on vinyl or download through Crystal Wish Records.
Posted at 19:30, 3rd January 2011
In October with Halloween looming and much of Glasgow becoming lost under the descending fog of cobwebs, pumpkins, witch hats and devil horns which was thickly clouding the streets, Subcity were successfully managing to avoid choking on all this by keeping busy. Not only by investigating the fractured alternate world of Dimension B (it’s a tough life) but also hosting a party for all its freaks, unknown beings, and costumed oddities who gathered together in the safe if strange haven of the Art School.
Silk Cut’s set provided sparse but upbeat sounds to keep the mutants moving, pulsing minimal techno out into the mist. A fittingly strange and interesting bunch, they are pretty much untraceable, even on The Internet, which has never ever failed anyone in anything before. They’re definitely the Lord Lucan of the Glasgow music scene, except without the whole killing someone thing. Probably. You’ve got to be in the right place at the right time to catch a listen, so keep an eye out for club listings around Glasgow, or check this recording out and shuffle your mangled mutant limbs about accordingly.
Posted at 19:26, 3rd January 2011
patrick stewart's blood and spunk
Patrick Stewart’s Blood and Spunk - sonically speaking, just a slight misnomer...gross.
Comprising of Splashy the Blame Shifter and Small Scale Collisions, this recording of Blood and Spunk,(what? That’s an acceptable nickname)comes from a Cry Parrot/Subcity collaborative show put on at Nice n Sleazy which saw the combo mash together guitars, feedback, laptops and a shit load of noise. It was loud, punishingly loud. After the show someone said "that was had the most intense use of high end I've ever heard".
Splashy the Blame Shifter is one of the various pseudonyms of Subcity veteran Chris Storey who has made a couple of rare appearances at the station’s noisier events now, starting with our second Soundclash back in March.
Small Scale Collisions (no strangers to the station's output either) are themselve a collaborative effort; producing visuals and original compositions of haunting, drone-y* music.
*one day urban dictionary will put it on a mug
Posted at 16:44, 24th December 2010