Discounted (85% off) self-released discography!

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There’s way too much music on my Bandcamp page, therefore a clean out is necessary. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons: firstly, I’ve been self-releasing my own music for over ten years and I’ve reached a point now where I feel – in order to progress things career-wise – I should be making a considerable effort to release music on a label. I’ve had a couple of things released on labels in the past and the difference it makes to distribution and exposure is a no-brainer; so I’m bringing an end to self-releasing. Secondly, and as I mentioned before, there’s too much stuff on there and a lot of it (in my opinion) should be phased out. Thirdly – and perhaps most crucially – I’m in the early stages of planning a new album, therefore I feel a clean state across the board is necessary. My website and few other things have been recently overhauled, so in this respect a tidy out on the music front will certainly help me maintain some clear focus and direction. It’s time to move on!

I’ve made a list below of the releases that will be cut and those that will be retained. BEFORE I do this on MONDAY (APRIL 23) I’ll be offering the complete discography as a bundle at a ridiculously REDUCED DISCOUNT OF 85%. So basically you can obtain 23 RELEASES for a LOW LOW minimum price of just under FIVE BUCKS. I’m dead serious when I say this will be your last opportunity to obtain the stuff due for the chop. I’m not necessarily saying, ‘buy all my shit material’…it’s not shit in my opinion and there’s some personal favourites floating around in those editions. As I mentioned before: it’s just time to move on. So, consider this is an opportunity to nab 10+ years of work for peanuts. If you’re keen – do it. And thanks!

Follow this link and find the discog option: https://tristanlouthrobins.bandcamp.com/…/the-door-into-sum…

x TLR x

TO BE DELETED/WITHDRAWN:
Distance Music – EP (2017)
Sojourner – EP (2018)
Let It Go – EP (2018)
Hello, Stranger -EP (2018)
Maurilia Sound Studio Volumes 1-4 (2015-2017)
Sound Installation: Orbits (2016)
Sound Installation: Five Voices (2015)
ANNO – EP (2015)
Red Eyes – EP (2014)
Singles 2010-2014
Live Performance Vol.1 – Wheatsheaf (2014)
Hypericum – ALBUM (2012)
Live Performance Vol.2 – Dunedin, NZ (2010)
Otago Residue – EP (2011)
Parlour/Lamb and Frost – single (2010)
Before & After Sleep (compilation: 2008-2010)

TO BE RETAINED:
The Door Into Summer – ALBUM (2015)
The Gilded Engine – (compilation: 2010-2013)
Awry – EP (2017)
Sound Installation – Wentworth Visitation (2013)
Sound Installation – Pink Twine (2005)
Projections of Loss – EP (2010)
Fleurieu Sound Map Recordings (ARCHIVAL ONLY – NOT FOR SALE)

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Fleurieu Sound Map updates

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Over the past couple of days I’ve been carrying out some updates and general maitenance to the Fleurieu Sound Map. Following a couple of quiet years, I’m pleased to announce that the sound map will be given some extra (and much needed) attention this year.

Whilst I’ll be seeking out some new sites to document, there’s also a bunch of archival updates planned, which will now include hydrophone and contact mic recordings. Previously I’d restricted the sound map’s criterion to recordings made with conventional microphones, but as the sound map has expanded and evolved over the years, it seems only appropriate that hydrophone and contact mic recordings should now be included.

With this in mind, I’ve overhauled the map’s key and system of categorisation for recordings. Not only is this now inclusive of additional recording methods, but for existing recordings on the site, this has allowed me to reclassify some recordings so that they more accurately adhere to their environments. Along with the reclassification of Coastal and Riverine environments, I’ve included a category for Industrial environments and events, such as the recordings made at Port Elliot Railway Station (featuring the Steam Ranger) and the Goolwa Wooden Boat Festival.

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Elsewhere I’ve made the following updates/changes:

  • Changed the map pins from circles to reverse teardrop pins to allow easier navigation for users.
  • Removed flash players from older site pages (2011-2013) and embedded Bandcamp audio players.
  • Removed Google Map embeds for each of the sites (their initial inclusion seemed a bit superfluous).
  • Included a link in the site navigation to the FSM Road Trip videos which are also on my YouTube channel. n.b. I’ll hopefully do some more of these this year!
  • Currently I’m in the process of adding a volume of recordings made in and around Victor Harbor, Port Elliot and Goolwa during my work on the Southern Encounter project in 2012. This will form the first phase of the archival updates.

 

Weekly Beats 2018: March compilation – Sojourner EP

Weekly Beats comes but only every two years and since 2012 I’ve committed myself to it as a willing participant. In short, it’s a project that involves its participants to write and record an original piece of music each week for the rest of the year. I’ve never made the full 52 weeks, but since its inception in 2012 I’ve thrown myself into it in order to kickstart some new ideas or nudge along curiosities.

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This month I decided to employ a piece of hardware that’s been a studio mainstay for as long as I’ve had anything resembling a studio: my beloved Tascam 424 Portastudio. I bought it in 1999 and made some of my first electro-acoustic experiments on it, way back when I was trying to emulate the weird and disjointed sound of records like Radiohead’s Kid A or Gastr De Sol’s Camofluer. The Portastudio’s tracking, fx sends and pitch settings made it possible to manipulate sounds and create interesting layers and textures. This was long before I could afford something like a laptop and the sofrtware that went with it.

And ultimately, when I eventually got my first laptop, the Portastudio was pushed aside in favour of the cool technological ease of digital audio interfaces.

So, its endeavours like Weekly Beats that can trigger a reinterest in dusting the old thing off once again and putting it to use once again. If anything, it’s great to have a piece of equipment on hand that provides a more tactile interface with sound – whether it be flipping a tape over, tweaking the EQs or creating an endless chain of auxilery effects.

This is where this month’s worth of material started; then, I got the idea of creating short tracks which evoked memories and impressions of places.

On this collection, the hiss, crackle and unpredictability of old 1970’s cassettes is inscribed with the woozy and gurgling tones of my Microkorg, or in the case of the latter track, an agogo played by a couple of prepared loudspeakers. Across the four tracks I’ve employed a digital delay and reverb FX send to add a bit of spaciousness, whilst the pitch features of Portastudio have been applied zealously.

Thanks for listening!

TLR, March 2018.

 

Ode to Colonnades

Noarlunga Centre – more commonly known as Colonnades – is a place that can only be etched in your memory if you’ve frequented it on a routine basis at some point in your life, or alternatively if something really horrible happened to you there. Thankfully, for me it’s a case of the former: I visited Noarlunga Centre a lot as a kid. If I hadn’t visited it before, it would just be another depressed suburban retail centre, dreamt up sometime in the mid-1970s and plonked in the middle of a paddock like a spacecraft touched by some of the more oppressive and crappy tendencies of late brutalist architecture. To further emphasise this observation, have a look at the aerial image of it a year after its first stage of construction in 1979.

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From the air it looks like some kind of consumerist utopian idyll. What you can’t see is the depressed socio-economic fog which would creep over the surrounding working class neighbourhoods through the 1980s and result in Noarlunga Centre becoming a punchline for issues relating to the welfare purgatory, hopelessness and occasional outbreaks of public violence. There was a time in the early 90s when you could seriously risk your neck by venturing through the underpass or bus exchange as the natural light gave way to a sparse network of dim electric light. There were a couple of occasions I walked through the railway terminal concourse after dark, past the unattended ticket booths and darkened stairways. At moments like this your heart rate escalates significantly, you quicken your pace and (if you’re a guy) your testicles feel like they’re attempting to retreat back into your body.

Colonnades: Builds Character & Survival Instincts.

One of the weirder developments that popped up near the complex was a Tiki hut-style waterslide complex called Splashdown. It was only a matter of time before stories of full-scale fistfights and razor blades jammed into the waterslide contributed to the business eventually going under. Oh well, the beach was just down the road.

So, Noarlunga Centre was a bit of a shithole in this respect and its reputation certainly preceded it. By the late 1980s local, state and federal government had a pretty good opportunity to properly address aspects of poverty, welfare subsistence and drug abuse in depressed communities, and the powers that be more or less reached the conclusion that it would just be too damn expensive, take a bit of constructive thought and – g-d forbid – require a good dose of empathy. What communities received instead (along with stigmatisation, community service and jail time) was the Orwellian gift of wall-to-wall CCTV. Granted CCTV is virtually everywhere today, but one of the unique things about Noarlunga Centre is that a casual walk will lead you through The Varied History Of CCTV – from c.1986 to the present. I really wish I’d taken some photos of this on my recent visit because it’s pretty interesting to play Guess The Year Of Installation: on the one hand, a vintage beige camera from the 80s creaks away with its grizzled eye adjacent to the hot young Millenial encased in a sleek black dome.

Along with the CCTV, a transfusion of capital found its way to Noarlunga Centre in the late 90s and the owners began to slather paint and panels over the original decaying concrete edifice. This trend appears to have continued up to the present day, but trace elements remain in plain sight – hence the collection of photos before you.

For me, Noarlunga Centre is a largely unwelcome place charged with fairly mundane memories – much like the phenomenom of ‘dead malls’ across the USA. Of course, Noarlunga Centre isn’t yet dead, but it shares similarities with the heyday of mall culture during the 1970s and 80s, and its ultimate decline due to online shopping. I doubt it’s a place that anyone (as an outsider) really wants to visit, but it’s interesting that such a place for me – in spite of its inherent crappiness – still possesses its own uniquely compelling allure.

Let It Go EP: Weekly Beats – February 2018

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Weekly Beats comes but only every two years and since 2012 I’ve committed myself to it as a willing participant. In short, it’s a project that involves its participants to write and record an original piece of music each week for the rest of the year. I’ve never made the full 52 weeks, but since its inception in 2012 I’ve thrown myself into it in order to kickstart some new ideas or nudge along curiosities. 

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Let It Go takes its inspiration from two things: guitar and Jim O’Rourke. Since I’m using each month of this Weekly Beats year to explore a particular area of instrumentation/process, I thought it would be interesting to use the variety of guitars in my studio and see what would happen.

Both “Mouth Canyon” pieces anchor themselves around open/alternate tunings, fingerpicking and circular chord progressions in the style of country blues and folk. In this sense, O’Rourke’s Eureka and Bad Timing were obvious touchstones, but his earlier work with David Grubbs (Gastr Del Sol) and Grubbs own work informed the composition and arrangements strongly. They’re (to date) the most accessible tracks I think I’ve ever put on this Bandcamp page, and maybe that’s a good thing. Between the “Mouth Canyon” bookends are two more abstract pieces which again reference O’Rourke/Gastr, but listening back to them now I think they’re much closer in style to Daniel Lanois’ solo work. If you haven’t heard his 2016 release, “Goodbye To Language” I urge you to do so; it’s absolutely beautiful. 

Recorded at Studio Maurilia – February 2018.

All tracks composed and performed by TLR.

TLR: voice, guitars, reed organ, synthesisers, bass, mandolin, baritone ukelele, glockenspiel, percussion, electronics, programming.

Artwork is a collage of three stills from the Nicholas Roeg films, Bad Timing, Eureka and Insignificance.

The importance of being gentle and occasionally idle

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In spite of my best efforts, my studio is not much of a productive space. It’s strewn with all kinds of distractions: guitars, bells, books, trinkets, notebooks, magazines, scraps of paper, and a wi-fi connection. As I’m sure many could sympathise, it’s the latter distraction that causes the bulk of the problems, with an uninterrupted line to social media, useless information and bad news.

I’ve always been very easily distracted, which I’ve largely attributed over the years to mild dyslexia and a personality trait that’s engineered to hop from one thing to another within an alarmingly short span of time like my life’s depended on it. As a result, this creates all kinds of problems: in a creative sense, I’ve got fourteen half-baked projects on the go at once; in the domestic sense, I’ve got a home that’s perpetually half-cleaned with pockets of OCD-ish cleanliness and surrounding pockets of total disorder and (non-life threatening) filth.

This hasn’t always been the norm, but when I’m in the thick of this pattern of distraction (as I am currently) this wreaks havoc with my brain, leaving me scattered, unfocused, irritable, gloomy and disgusted with myself. Given my recent struggles over the past year with mental health I should really know better than to get myself into these situations.

One of the key insights with my psychologist was to identify when I’m spreading myself too thin and to find a way of breaking away from it by engaging in something less intensive. And here’s the ridiculous part of the conundrum: I don’t have to be working constantly at the moment; in fact, I could spend most of my time doing far less intensive things than – for example – writing six essays at once, working on an electro-acoustic composition, attempting to learn three guitar instrumentals, alternating between four books and writing new songs. All of these things happened today by the way. Mentally, this amounts to complete havoc and the metaphysical reality has manifested itself in the studio: cables everywhere, notebooks, bad posture, frowning for hours at a time and consuming way too much coffee.

But I haven’t lost it completely yet. Maybe the dopamine inhibitors of the medication are doing an exemplary job of holding my brain chemistry together, since I’m able to form reasonably consistent thoughts and string these sentences together. Still, my Brain Sea of fluids is choppy and the electrons overhead are sparking wildly. Following on from near-catastrophe as 2017 closed out, I resolved to get better, and I did; yet familiar patterns are reemerging and this past week it’s felt like I’m caught up in the feedback loop of varying peaks and troughs – which, last year – felt like it was going to kill me.

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Sitting at my desk, I occasionally look to the left and briefly acknowledge the door ajar to the balcony which is letting a mild breeze in. It’s a lovely day outside and nothing is preventing me from going for a walk. I could go for a walk completely unencumbered. I could leave my wallet and phone here and simply do a loop of the neighborhood. Doing this, I’m certain that I would feel much better about things and I’m sure that my brain would agree, since it’s been flashing the DECOMPRESSION sign since about 10:30am today.

So that’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to wind up this writing, put the laptop to sleep, leave the guitars idle, put the notebooks to the side, silence the infinitude of Spotify, put some trousers, socks and shoes on and go for a walk.

Another series of steps hopefully going some way to (gently and idly) working through this complicated business of living.

Weekly Beats 2018: February (first half)

Guitar is the flavour of choice this month for my Weekly Beats submissions. Check out the first half of the month via the links below:

2-1 “Mouth Canyon Blues”

So, something completely different for this month. I thought it would be a good idea to focus primarily on guitar work for the next four weeks. 

This one’s an impulsive attempt to amalgamate the guitar styles of Jim O’Rourke, William Tyler and Ry Cooder into a hyper compressed two minutes of imagined road movie soundtracking. Technically speaking, it’s pretty much a basic guitar fingerpicking pattern which evolves to a point where several kitchen sinks begin attaching themselves to it through the miracle of endless multi tracking.

Here’s a list of the instruments used:

– Degrucy 6-string acoustic. Tuned to CGDGBE [capo’d at IV with the E-string ‘un-capoed’ – a neat trick I’ve used for a while] (main fingerpicking pattern and counterpoints) 
– Tama 6-string acoustic. Tuned to C# G# C# F A# C# (slide guitar) 
– Fender Telecaster (electric guitar parts) 
– Fender Precision Bass 
– Kick drum sample 
– Shaker 
– Hohner glockenspiel 
– Microkorg systhesiser 
– Korg monotribe

2-2 “The Colouring of Memory”

I’ve been reading way too much Geoff Dyer and John Berger lately. This one’s a sort of Eno/Cluster-esque reverie to feelings of homesickness, estrangement and a confused state of mind.

– an iphone field recording made in a Brisbane airport bar 
– field recording of vehicle turntable on Goolwa barrage. 
– chord progression on electric guitar (looped via EHX Memory Man) 
  — Fender Telecaster run through EHX Pog 2, vintage Ibanez phaser and EHX holy grail reverb. 
– electric guitar slide (left and right) 
  — same as above. 
– Synth pads played on Microkorg. 
– Percussion 
– Additional glitchy treatments in Ableton Live using Soundhack VST modules.