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JOHN SHAND writes in the Sydney Morning Herald,
...he will open your ears to an improbable array of sound-as-music possibilities. The most radical piece is the title track, created with the help of a foot-pump, balloons and certain plumbing items. The Dadaist nature of that list is a clue to a keen sense of humour being at work amid the elements of surprise. Gong Cage has tonal colours that may more widely be considered "musical", but they interact in unconventional ways, while on another piece, Gorfinkel's use of modified vibraphones conjures the ethereality of a summer afternoon in Paradise. Enoggera (recorded outdoors at Brisbane's Enoggera Reservoir) has his modified trumpet blending with the bird and insect soundscape so completely that one could believe he (or perhaps his trumpet) had grown wings.
Joseph Cummins in The Music Trust writes,
I love the way Dale Gorfinkel lists all of the objects he uses to make sound on Switches & Hose. On the first track alone Gorfinkel uses a footpump, balloons, garden irrigation, taps, plastic containers and reeds. This is highly rhythmic music, hopping across shifting speeds and registers like a nervous plover. I can't imagine what this sound-machine would have looked like, but I have seen Gorfinkel's modified trumpet in action (which features on the fourth track). Seeing is believing: the tuberous appendages and mismatched body parts of trumpet's bells and valves come together in a spinning (literally) tangle. The wheezing squeaks, gradually modulating gurgles and almost machinic screeches seems at odds with the monstrous tentacles of the instrument.
The site-specific nature of Gorfinkel's work in installation and his extensive experience in outdoor improvisation is an important part of Switches & Hose: gong cage is 'a kinetic sound sculpture in a bird cage', recorded in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, I'm walking in a room, with two vibraphones was recorded at the Footscray Community Arts Centre, and Enoggera is a performance at Enoggera reservoir in Brisbane. On I'm walking in a room, Gorfinkel's ability to produce a kind of glacial resonance from the vibraphone leads to the most meditative track on the album, with the delicate twittering of Ping-Pong balls and tiny motors taped to the bars of the vibraphone (judging from previous performances) working in counterpoint with the celestial idiophone zephyrs.
Perhaps the highlight of the album is the Enoggera performance on modified trumpet, which is wreathed in a multitude of birdcalls that sit delightfully high in the mix. The dialogue that he performs with this terrestrial choir is a beautiful ending to a brief album showcasing the diverse talents of one of our most interesting sound makers.
John Shand writes in the Sydney Morning Herald
Much of the time you'd be hard pressed to work out what instruments are being used on this, until a glance at the credits tells you Cor Fuhler is playing a piano and Jim Denley an alto saxophone. Their joint level of sophistication in disguising this by extracting a thousand unexpected and undentifiable sounds here reaches new heights. The point, of course, is not to do this merely as an exercise in sonic curiosity, but to make meaningful music, and in that regard these two improvised duets represent the art of spatial relationships, atmospherics and suspense. Nonetheless part of that suspense is derived from the sheer surprise factor of the sounds that unfold, sometimes even stretching to the delight of wondering on which instrument they were made! The cover contains lists of wildly diverse artists, and the one that caught my eye was Poe: this music could function admirably as a score for his 'The Tell-tale Heart'.
Richard Pinnell in Wire says
"Never rushed, yet sustaining a feeling of confidence and comfort in their materials, Denley and Fuhler produce two sides of music here that at once cradle listeners in its comforting beauty while keeping them moving through ever changing scenery."
Brian Olewnick writing in Just Outside says
"...Fuhler and Denley molding an elastic, tensile space where something is almost always occurring, usually three or four things, where "placement" or necessity seems less of a concern than maintaining a certain thrust and textural variation. Denley's alto, always a problematic notion given my personal prejudices, doesn't shy away from its fundamental properties even as its palette is greatly enhanced via his preparations. Hard to quantify, except to acknowledge the instrumentalist's inherent musicality, why it works so well here and is, again for me, rare elsewhere. Fuhler, not surprisingly, spends more time inside the piano (though standard notes percolate through every so often) and, one presumes, is also responsible for some radio work and other electronics, all of which handled with his customary deftness and depth (I miss hearing more of his work since his transference to Australia). The music never gets frenetic, more going from medium to a nice, grainy, rough-edged, slow flow, the latter always full and grimy, with that wonderful sense of air circulating around the sounds.
An excellent recording, don't miss it."
Massimo Ricci writes in Touching Extremes,
"37 minutes of relatively outspoken improvisations, occasionally interrupted by quiet stretches but mostly exploiting the resonant properties of the instruments through thicker layers and dense fumes. It is an interesting pairing, blending Fuhler's partiality for a swathed celestial harmony – principally coming from the piano's insides – and Denley's understanding of the sweetly acrid vividness of a reed's upper partials and shifting hollows. The music sounds, for its large part, considerate and intelligent. Never the players overstay their welcome in a given area, putting forward tones and sketches in forthright fashion but still leaving the right amount of space for the listener to evaluate what the brain has just captured. Selected shades extracted by Fuhler are extremely attractive, in particular when the strings resonate as if they were recorded underwater (an example being around the eleventh minute of the first track). When the timbral research generates the largest quantity of contrast and clangor, things become intriguing on the vibrational side of life.
It is rather evident that these musicians are mutually regardful. They can breath delicately and, a moment later, rumble in dynamic simultaneousness, always choosing the exact instant for the pedal to be lifted from the metal but never really pulling the handbrake. The concentration of events occurring in this album gives an idea of (animated) rationality; and yet, a couple of crescendos are as distant from imperturbability as someone who is about to explode for a headache.
I am not sure that a random auditor will want to genuinely test the deep waters with this one after a first attempt. Perhaps the "gamelan-like" snippets and certain muffled harmonics could cause some enlightened critic to retrieve the classic "Harry Partch" quote from the drawer. However, my own positiveness for Truancy is a fact: deceivingly intelligible, it hides small doses of venom – of the sort that we at Touching Extremes love to savor."
Joseph Cummings writing in the Music Trust says,
"Five minutes into the first track Skive we hear a moment of radio, perhaps a song by the pop band Coldplay. Later we hear an advertisement. These sound bites lend a kind of mobility to the soundscape that, working in combination with the spectral range evoked by both players, gives the impression of satillites picking up transmissions from technologies as prosaic and domestic as radios, right through to the sound-waves broadcast by the earth-as-sound-machine. I can imagine more than just human ears appreciating the wide spectrum of sound on Truancy." ___________________________________________________________________________________________
"An alternative title for this extraordinary double album might have been The Shock of the Now. That an album of improvisation made 42 years ago can sound so blindingly new is a marvel, and a tribute to the artistry of the groundbreaking Sydney band. In 1972, David Ahern (violin, percussion, electronics), Roger Frampton (percussion, electronics, saxophone), Peter Evans (percussion, electronics) and Geoffrey Collins (flute, percussion electronics) recorded two long improvisations at a Tokyo radio station during a world tour. The tapes were recently discovered and this compendium of surprises is the result, the old "What is music?" chesnut being answered with the broadest possible definition. A remarkable aspect of the music-making is that the collective seems not to impose sounds on silence so much as pluck them from it. Daringly long pools of emptiness are gently ended by a gong, or shattered by sounds whose source can only be guessed at, sometimes involving such extremes of the sonic spectrum that you may fear for your speakers' integrity. This is a major document of improvisation." John Shand - Sydney Morning Herald.
Teletopa was founded in Sydney in 1970 by the late David Ahern with Peter Evans and Roger Frampton. (great article here on Ahern.)
In 1968 the young Sydney composer David Ahern studied in Germany with Stockhausen where he met Cornelius Cardew. The next year he travelled onto London attending Cardew's classes in 'Experimental Music' at Morley College and – in a mammoth seven-hour concert at the Roundhouse on 4 May – participated (with Cardew) in performances of La Monte Young's String Trio and also took part in the realisation of Paragraph 2 of Cardew's The Great Learning which proved to be the catalyst for the formation of the Scratch Orchestra. These were revolutionary and defining moments in C20th music.
Liner notes for the release include a manifesto by Ahern from a 1971 pamphlet, and a newly penned Potted History of Teletopa by Geoffrey Barnard, who had been a member of the group from September 1971 until July 1972.
Frans de Waard reviewing Tokyo 1972 in Vital.
"Here Teletopa seems to be in almost Zen like mode. This is some strong 100 minutes of improvised music. Music that comes like an endless stream sound, subconsciously improvised on a wide variety of instruments and objects. If AMM and MEV were already on your list, then this double CD by Teletopa should not be missed. An essential historical release."
"The suitably pure white album design, with a selection of black/white/grey photographs of the group, lend weight to the idea of the album as a once lost relic – the great manifesto of a mythical musical organism – now recovered for new generations to appreciate." Joseph Cummings.
"D'une certaine manière, on pourrait parler d'installation improvisée, ou plus simplement d'improvisation in situ au sens le plus littéral du terme. Que ce soit avec des instruments, des objets ou avec l'espace lui-même, Teletopa se propose, dans ces deux improvisations de cinquante minutes (les dernières avant la dissolution du groupe), d'improviser l'espace et l'environnement dans lequel il joue. L'espace résonne, les bruits se multiplient, l'environnement est transformé. Je n'ai rarement entendu d'improvisations aussi ancrées dans le présent, dans la spontanéité. Rien ne pouvait produire cette musique sinon là où elle avait lieu. Et de ce fait, jamais plus elle ne pourra se reproduire. Il y a quelque chose de magique, d'unique. Septembre 1972, NHK, Tokyo, Japon, les quatre membres de Teletopa ont à ce moment produit une performance sonore hors du commun, une performance longue, dure, bruitiste et brute, archaïque et austère, mais une performance présente, sans passé ni futur, une performance qui avait tout son sens à ce moment, qui n'en avait pas avant et qui n'en a plus aujourd'hui, sauf à travers le témoignage offert dans cet enregistrement. Un témoignage dont on se contentera et se délectera avec avidité et nostalgie. Car il est juste superbe" Julien Héraud.
These projects have been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.