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Recordings from Sydney's vibrant exploratory/spontaneous music scene.
He aims to reflect an awareness of the dynamic nature of culture & the value of listening as a mode of knowing people & places. He is interested in finding fresh ways of presenting and making music, bringing creative communities together & shifting perceived boundaries of scenes, styles & artforms.
His first solo release reflects this diversity of interests and approaches. 4 radically different pieces.
1. Switches & Hose
Footpump, balloons, garden irrigation, taps, plastic containers & reeds. Melbourne, April 2014
2. Gong Cage
Kinetic sound sculpture in a bird cage. Yogyakarta, April 2014
3. I'm walking in a room, with two vibraphones. Footscray Community Arts Centre, April 2014
Modified trumpet at Enoggera Reservoir, Brisbane 2013
Dale builds automated sonic contraptions and modifies other instruments, especially the vibraphone and trumpet.
He often uses common materials to create unexpected & immersive sonic environments. Some installations seek to reframe technology through the intersection of electro/acoustic and new/old mediums.
Some installations illuminate acoustic phenomena and are effected by solar & wind activity. Many works also welcome a tactile interactivity popular with children. He's recently been playing around with footpumps, garden irrigation and balloons.
Jim Denley and Dutch musician Cor Fuhler first met in the early 1990s and Cor's frequent visits to Australia over the years gave them the opportunity to occasionally play. In 2012 Cor moved to Sydney, allowing them to ramp up the duo — this is their first release together.
Brian Olewnick writing in Just Outside says
"...It's "simply" Fuhler on piano (with preparations) and Denley on alto saxophone (again, with preparations) but sounds far more vast and intricate. While my preferential tendency is decidedly more toward the sparer, post-AMM notion of improvisation and while I've recently heard much music on disc that was, for me, over-cluttered and rushed, it's always interesting to hear work that, while certainly informed of that more considered area, chooses to fill the space, be quite active and succeed very well in this endeavor. The two tracks here are fine examples, 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.