Sound is defined as any frequency or vibration, audible or non-audible to the human ear. Vibration permits the motion of air towards the ear where it is ultimately heard leading to the possibility of listening.
(The same motion of waves maintains a flow of air containing oxygen entering the body and the brain. “music produces sound which is a manifestation of variable changes in atmospheric pressure…In this respect music is a motivator for the transport of the essential factors of the life force- oxygen” Milford Graves.) This is important in relation to breathing and calmness, interaction between body and breathing and ablity to apply oneself and listen.
Listening is defined specifically in reference to Pauline Oliveros ie. That“to hear is the physical means that enables perception. To listen is to give attention to what is perceived both acoustically and psychologically”.
You can hear something without listening but to listen you must first hear and then listen. The ability to listen is a prerequiste to learning, without this a learner cannot engage fully in dialogue, gain understanding of concepts and schema, partake in rigorous debate and/or challenge possibilities presented to them.
Final word is trickiest to define, lets try “Learning/Education/Pedagogy” something like: to learn, gain knowledge, to grow and realise ones self as a human being, to become truly conscious of being human, gain skills confidence, possibilities of economic, social and “spiritual”? well being. An inability to listen can isolate the individual from being an active agent and particpant in their educational and wider cosmos. The possibility to enter into dialogue and engage.
The group operates in an as yet undefined area between intuitaive ritualised musical theatrical performance and shared collective improvising around musical and lyrical themes developed by all members of the group. There are various aims and objectives.
To function as an accepted method of therapy for members to express and explore ideas and behaviours in forms that would be unacceptable outside the realms of performance.
As a theoretical machinery that allows the musicians and audience to interrogate their own ideas of the boundaries and interrelations between sound, music, tone, vibaration, movement, theatre, performance, spectacle, art, and catharsis.
As an ongoing process of instrument building, adaptation and reclaimation from that which is not specifically an instrument but with which sound can be made. This use of scrap, discarded and recycled objects rebuilt as instruments locates a utilitarian power with the players and for anyone who wants to imagine and construct their own instruments.
The good folk at the Noise Upstairs improv night asked us toproduce a kindof last shout posthumous Northern Wire podcast for them to be played out at one of there forthcoming monthly sessions, below is whats on it…
Sweetleaf Black Sabbath
Barabadabada Ivor Cutler
Lovely Sky Boat Alice Coltrane
Black Jerusalem Teeth Mountain
I chose a random strange and stalked the shit out of them Kylie Minoise
Poeme Electronique Edgrad Varese
Fat Librarian Inca Eyeball
Reqiuem for Dying Mothers Stars of the Lid
Forwards and Back Music for One
Sonata for solo Violin Fuga Bela Bartok
Schizophrenia Sonic Youth
Room Temperature Suite Don Caballero
Orginal Suffer Head Fela Kuti
This what we said about the show: read and weep: apologies to anyone we forgot:
“The Northern Wire was a radio show on Manchesters ALL FM. Show was started in 2002 by David Armes who passed the baton on to Anthony Saunders and David Birchall around 2005 they ran with the show til its retirment earlier in this year; 2009. The show was characterised by a totally lack of musical policy resulting in a spontaneaty and honesty that was hard to recreate; Black Sabbath would be followed by the sound of howling wind in Siberia, Art Ensemble of Chicago would mould in unidentifable harsh CDR noise freakouts, Bartok would wrestle with mid 90s hardcore while some very real but ultimately sub Laurel and Hardyesque routine was wheeled out live in the studio. Another great feature of the show was live sessions from Vialka (France/Canada) McWatt (UK) Cerebrus Shoal (USA) Lianne Hall (UK) DBH (UK) Klaus Kinski (UK) Noise Upstairs Trio (UK) Smear Campaign (UK) Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides (France)”
Brief snatch of Open Eye set from Lyon earlier this year recorded by the ever vigilant DBH. Pascal is out of shot playing percussion, Nick, Kelly and myself are just visible; Kelly applying tape to my goodself and guitar nearly became an escapology trick. Everyone else in the room has gone wild with the same kindof scritchy noise as the group make, bits of tin cans, discarded parts, glas.
So we have really rad communal gardens in the new flat but a slightly oppressive socialist regime running the place (re: no games of any sort on the grassed areas etc..) its just crying out for this kind of things.. .more to follow im sure…
A brief snatch of Nick and I improvising a piece of our Kalbakken set from the Ruby Lounge gig with a Hawk and a Hacksaw at the end of June.
Citylife said this about the performance:
“Fellow Norwegian-Mancunian Kalbakken was more intense, reinterpreting traditional Norwegian folk songs with trancelike guitar playing and frantic sleigh bells, as well as a metal bowl tapped with a paintbrush.”
Just dredged up this Kalbakken tour photo post gig in Malaga with the incredible Pamplonian hardcore band Antigua & Barbuda outside the Casa Invisible squatted social space. Shortly after this photo was taken they tried to hidnap Kirsty using banned substances as bait. The streets were covered in wax from the wild pointed hat and candles Easter parades the week before and made the most incredible screetches on car tires.
Some excitment yesterday as I was strolling past the bookstall at All Saints when I spied a slightly bedraggled copy of William Burroughs Naked Lunch for a quid, having lost my original copy to the on going circles of booklending amongst friends and/or know associates some years ago I jumped on it feeling mighty pleased especially when the bookseller tried to overcharge me “what i thought it was really worth”. I held firm though and managed to charm his Greek friend with my hideous chewing up of his language. Delving into the text at random (always the most satisfying way to read this book) and hopping through a few pages here and there I was struck again by the way Burroughs creates a totally fragmentary text bursting apart but through his use of image and ‘mood’ shall we say, there is an over all coherence the book. This lead me to start working on thinking how to apply these ideas into forms relating to improvisation and music: maybe these were the elements of Burroughs that really soaked into my brain as an over exicted college student… More to come im sure x
Here’s a video of a performance that took place as part of the Guerilla Busking strand of the Futuresonic Festival on 15 May. Performers are myself and fellow Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestrors Huw Wahl and Zeke Clough. We improvised this piece for voices using the cavernous echo produced by the red brick bridge arch as our main resource.
This idea for performance was a follow up on various ideas and experiences. We once spent a jolly afternoon recording and filming with Stuckometer underneath a similar type of arch near the Manchester Ship Canal, somewhere in the forgotten lands between Manchester and Liverpool.
Ive also been long obsessed by the incredible acoustic qualities of Manchester Central Libraries social sciences reading room. Its a huge circular domed room designed specfically to echo and reverberate every tiny sound, the idea being i always imagined ,is to make people hyper aware of any sound they maybe making by presenting it back with such astonishing acoustic bounce.
Two other environments that set me thinking on the acoustic qualities of different spaces and how performance could work in them I came across when I lived in Greece.
The first of these was a visit I made to the super ancient ruined city of Mycenae. Inside a huge beehive shaped tomb there, mythically referred to as being “The Tomb of Agamemnon”, there are some wonderful echoes to be found due to the circlar and domed nature of the space, which is about 3000 years old.
The second was another ancient site in Greece, the ancient theatre at Epidavros. This space is an amazing example of a Greco-Roman theatre capable of seating up to 15,000 people and has a particularily pronounced acoustic property. From the central actors point in the middle of the stage even the smallest whisper is completely audible at the top of the furthest row a good 50 metres away.