Great Panoptique Winter: Wildness

GreatPanoptiqueWinter-Wildness

A collaborative album by Jason Sweeney (Panoptique Electrical, Pretty Boy Crossover) and Richard Adams (Hood, The Declining Winter) has been released after a long development and gestation. It features contributions from myself (found sounds, electronics), Great Earthquake’s Noah Symons (drums) and Cailen Burns (found sounds, electronics).

Wildness was originally slated for release on Sensory Projects in 2012 as a 10″ EP, but since the label has been on imposed hiatus this album has remained in limbo. It is now available as a high quality or mp3 download and stream at Bandcamp.

I’m delighted that this record has finally seen the light of day. It’s an enormous honour to appear on an album with Richard Adams; whose work with Hood and The Declining Winter I admire immensely.

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Asleep on red earth, under bright stars. featuring “Memory of Wind”

Kaldor Public Art Projects have released the compilation Asleep on red earth, under bright stars.

A composition of mine from 2010, “Memory of Wind” features along with ten other pieces by Australian and international artists. The compositions are inspired by sound artist Stephen Vitiello’s project/installation The Sound of Red Earth which was exhibited as part of the Kaldor Public Art Projects 2010 programme.

The compilation was curated by Lawrence English and Stephen Vitiello with concept/project management handled by The Nest.

It is available as a free download/stream at: http://kaldorpublicartprojects.bandcamp.com/album/asleep-on-red-earth-under-bright-stars

1. Julian Day – Emu Creek 04:59
2. Tristan Louth-Robins – Memory of Wind 06:01
3. Robert Curgenven – Looking for Narratives on Small Islands 04:29
4. Simon Scott – On Old Hunstanton Beach, UK 02:48
5. Alessio Ballerini – I Dream the Red Earth 04:53
6. Panoptique Electrical – Soon All This Will Be Picturesque Ruins 17:55
7. Kate Carr – I Used to Live Near the Cooks River 07:40
8. Cimarron Corpé – Liminal Phase 05:30
9. Mike Cooper – Birds, Barks and Billabongs (with apology to Philip Jones) 04:28
10. Marisa Allen – Sitting in The Dunes 05:29
11. Kompost – Kaamp 03:59

Reports from the deep

A blog quiet of late.

At present I’m finishing up the Masters thesis, which is almost completed bar a few chapter revisions and compiling the documentation of the creative works portfolio.  To be completely honest, I can’t wait to submit the tome – it’s the end of a long protracted phase and the beginning of an exciting one.

I’ve had a couple of little projects on the side whilst all of this madness has been going down.  With the prospect of recording the next Panoptique Electrical album, colabs and live performances over the next six months, I’ve been inclined to look into some new/revised composition processes and techniques.  Plouge Bidule’s come back into favour – I love its functionality and capability to realise ideas and technical processes quickly.  There’s some good stuff on the way.  I’ve also gotten back into taking some photographs (nothing too special, just domestic oddities), Flickr will offer up the goods.

Resonate Review: Panoptique Electrical in Sydney

via Resonate, a review of Panoptique Electrical’s performance in Sydney.  Review by Geoffrey Gartner.

Jason Sweeney, the brains behind Panoptique Electrical, has spent August on the road promoting the release of his album Yes to Fear, Yes to Desire. Joined by cellist Zoë Barry, electric guitarist Jed Palmer and Tristan Louth-Robins on electronics, the group’s tour has taken in Adelaide, Mt Gambier, Melbourne and Canberra, with this Sydney gig the last stop on their travels.

The venue for the Sydney performance was the unbelievably tiny Don’t Look Gallery in Dulwich Hill, a space devoted to experimental New Media. A small but appreciative audience filled the space to capacity, yet despite the cramped confines there was a general atmosphere of bonhomie amongst the attendees. With no room for seats people either stood or sat against the walls. Fortunately there was a fine selection of colourful pillows at hand to ease discomfort. I perched on a pillow covered with manga imagery and waited for the show to begin.

First up was a performance by Catfingers (Ashley Scott). His short set was mostly comprised of sample-based material overlaid with occasional, discrete beats. Unfortunately, with the gallery door left open, his pleasantly innocuous soundscapes came off second best to the continual barrage of traffic noise from New Canterbury Road.

Thankfully, once the Panoptique Electrical quartet began their performance the door was firmly shut and stayed so. Surrounded by a goodly variety of laptops and other electronic impedimenta, the four performers set themselves up in a tight-knit little unit, with the cello and electric guitar players seated behind their colleagues on a small dais in the gallery window.

Using the rich, open C-string of the cello as a tonal basis, the Panoptique quartet slowly established a thick wash of pulsating, reverb-drenched sound. In this near beatless sonic environment, the melodic content was the controlling element, with Jason Sweeney dictating the musical flow with mellifluous dyads from his MIDI keyboard. These melodic droplets fell on an undercurrent of elongated instrumental samples and processed cello and electric guitar tones. There was a real sense of cohesion to Panoptique’s sense of ensemble, aided by an implicit sense of communication amongst the four players. However, it would have been nice if there was less dependence on pre-recorded cello samples at the outset, especially with the real thing at hand.

The live mix was quite something, and enveloped the Don’t Look Gallery in a treacly morass of sound. Although this occasionally swamped some of the finer effects, such as the cello pizzicato, the Panoptique quartet displayed a fine sense of control, pulling back the volume and intensity whenever things threatened to get overwhelming. However, this proved to be something of a double-edged sword, with each new iteration of melodic material from Sweeney heralding a predictably long sustained build-up followed by an equally long release. The entire set became rather episodic as a result.

That aside, the Panoptique Electrical experience was a gratifying one, the environs of the Don’t Look Gallery adding to the overall feeling of being immersed in an intimate sonic installation. This was a musical experience in which to wallow.

Panoptique Electrical: Sydney (20-24/08/09)

Panoptique Electrical, 23/8/09. Image: Stuart Buchanan
Panoptique Electrical, 23/8/09. Image: Stuart Buchanan

I arrived back home in Adelaide following four days in Sydney, wrapping up the Panoptique Electrical tour on Sunday night at the Don’t Look Gallery in Dulwich Hill.  Following the one nighter in Canberra, it was nice to have a few days to relax in a predominantly sunny and subtropical Sydney.  I found some time to explore the NSW Gallery and MCA as well as do plenty of wandering through the Botanic Gardens and do a little thesis writing.  The performance on Sunday night was good, though probably not up there with the other shows in terms of consistency – it seemed a bit more sprawling and spontaneous.  I’ve had a great time performing with Jason, Zoe and Jed over the past two-and-a-half weeks, it has been a very rewarding experience playing alongside such accomplished, creative and professional individuals.  Our shows have been very well received by audiences and I think the future bodes well for the quartet looking ahead to 2010.  However, in the meantime I have a thesis to finish and a new job to focus on as well as a couple of solo shows before year’s end.

There will be some more photos and video from Canberra and Sydney coming soon.

Panoptique Electrical: Melbourne (12-15/8)

Jason and I arrived in Melbourne on the Wedensday afternoon and were picked up from the airport by Zoe and Jed who ferried us into the city (via a patisserie) for a bit of suprise/strategic field recording*.  Melbourne was gloomier than I’d ever seen it in awhile – the tops of buildings had disappeared in thick fog and the city took on a wet wintery gothic-ness.

 

Melbsfog2

 

*Field recording quickly became the norm for each of the locations on our tour, since the recording of Mount Schank worked so well for the Varoce’s set.

 

After much second guessing we arrived at ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) located on Federation Square.  The proposed location for a field recording would be the Len Lye retrospective exhibiting in the main gallery area.  I had never come across the work of Lye to any great extent let alone really seen any of his work, but the exhibition (esp. kinetic sound sculptures and scratch films) was pretty mind-blowing.  

 

The following day commenced by having a customary breakfast on Degraves Avenue, then a bit of nosing about and catching up with my brother in the afternoon.  Sean and I circulated Fitzroy and Collingwood for a couple of hours, I picked up a triple vinyl of The Tired Sounds of Stars Of The Lid and checked out some of the bookstores and cafes along the main strips.  Later in the afternoon Panoptique bumped into the Curtin Bandroom for the night’s performance on a shared bill with Great Earthquake and White Woods.

 

Curtin1

 

Great Earthquake was a nice addition to the night – the solo project of Noah Symons who loops drums, accordion, guitar and bass, creating multilayered textures that he improvises over.  The following group, White Woods were a guitar-driven unit reminiscent of Joy Division and Deerhoof, driven by swirling drum beats and noisy arpeggios.

 

Curtin3

 

Our set was (again) quite different in feel to the previous shows.  The opening ten minutes of the set was pretty unstructured with not much consistency, it seemed we couldn’t really establish some sort of unified idea of where things were heading (the live pub scenario probably had something to do with this.)  However, things gradually came together as our respective parts started to click and we were able to carry things along nicely for the next forty minutes.  An interesting aspect of the set was the tendency for the four of us to take turns playing in twos whilst the remaining two members would take a break – Jason and Zoe, me and Jed, Jed and Zoe, etc.  It added a really nice quality to set, opening sections up and giving things a bit more air.  The instrumentation was also a highlight, Jason seemed to be playing his keyboard in a slower languid manner, I focused mostly on building drones, Zoe’s ‘cello was very hushed and sparse, whilst Jed’s guitar work came into strong relief with some beautiful cyclical textures and arpeggio figures.

 

After a good night’s sleep, on Friday morning I checked out the NGV’s Dali exhibition gorging on the surrealness for next three hours.  I love Dali, in particular his later work which I’ve always had a strange attraction to – there’s something really wounded and contemplative about it.  

 

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Salvador Dali – The Path of Enigmas (1981)

 

 

Later in the day I went on the hunt for a little gift to bring back for Lauren.  I found a gift in the same place I picked up some Rooibos and Madacascan black tea – a little green gold rimmed tea cup (which she likes!)  Later on, I meandered along Brunswick Street in search of some dinner, then retired for an early night.

 

Saturday was home time.  

 

Off to Canberra/Sydney tomorrow for the final leg of the tour.