Important Records have announced the forthcoming release of a complete edition of the sonambient sound sculpture recordings of Harry Bertoia, to coincide with the artist, designer and sculptor’s centenary in March 2015.
Bertoia started out as a jewellery and furniture maker, but in his later years he produced hundreds of sound sculptures, many of which still reside at his former estate at Bally in Pennsylvania. Bertoia was born in Italy but studied in Detroit’s Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he encountered furniture designers Ray and Charles Eames, and the success of Bertoia’s famous diamond chair – which he said was "mainly made of air, like sculpture" – enabled him to pursue deeper interests in sculpture, space and sound in the decades that followed.
Bertoia recalled in interviews how he wished as a youngster there were musical instrument that anyone could play instantly, and his sound sculptures – typically constructed of metal rods, pins and dishes – fulfilled this purpose. Some would interact with the wind and weather, others would be playable by hand, and Bertoia would play them for hours in his converted barn space, exploring their ever-changing range of tones, drones and resonances.
Rather than selling the instruments, Bertoia recorded them, and privately pressed a series of 11 records he described as "sonambient" before his death in 1978. These discs have never been reissued in their entirety, and Important plan to release all 11 releases together as a CD box set in March 2015, alongside an extensive book of images from the Bertoia estate.
A brand new video with footage of many of Bertoia's sound sculptures has just been put online.
The folklore research and heritage project, Devon Folklore Tapes, which aims to document and rework Britain’s myths and legends via audio-visual interpretation, is repressing its first release: Devon Folklore Tapes Vol 1: Two Witches. Originally released in 2011 on a split cassette housed in a hollowed-out hardback book, the remastered reissue will be sold as a twin 10" gatefold edition that will include research notes and artwork.
Recorded by project founders David Chatton Barker and Ian Humberstone, Two Witches is a sonic interpretation of the story of Hannah Henley and Mariann Voaden: two 19th Century Devonshire women who practiced witchcraft.
Two Witches is set to be released 1 December and will be the first in a series of reissues planned for the label throughout 2015. More information here.
Guitarist and singer Eugene Chadbourne has published a collection of diaries that date back to his teenage years and run through later tours as well as his dream diaries. Dreamory is self published by the guitar player, founder of The Chadbournes, among other groups. It runs to over 1000 pages, and is available direct from Chadbourne’s own site, The House Of Chad.
Film maker and composer John Carpenter is releasing his first solo album on 3 February 2015. Quoting his collaborator on the album – his son Cody Carpenter – John Carpenter says: "The best way I can describe what we’ve done is that it’s a ‘soundtrack sampler’, which is what Cody calls it. They’re little moments of scores from movies made in our imaginations."
The horror director has directed and composed the scores for films including: Prince of Darkness, The Thing, Halloween, The Fog and Escape From New York. His new album, titled Lost Themes, will be released on Sacred Bones Records. Listen to the album’s first track, “Vortex” below.
Cambridge’s Wysing Arts Centre has opened applications for its 2015 artist residencies. Applicants are being asked to respond to Wysing's overarching theme for 2015: the multiverse, something will run through its music festival, workshops and artist masterclasses.
Successful artists will be in residence at the centre in Cambridgeshire across two periods next year: 23 March–10 May, and 9 November–20 December. The fee and production budget is £4,000, and deadline for applications is 22 December. All details on how to apply are online at the Wysing site.
Eiko Ishibashi, featured in this month’s Bites section (The Wire 370), has released her album of music for the Japanese production of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Der Müll, Die Stadt Und Der Tod, which was the first ever production of a Fassbinder play in Japan. The album is available on Bandcamp as of 14 November on a pay what you want price of around £4 and up. The music was made by Ishibashi and mixed by Jim O’Rourke.
The controversial play was performed in Japan for the first time in 2013. It contains over 20 pieces of music. Ishibashi said: “I decided that, although the play is set in the 1940s–50s, it would be better to arrange the music in a way that evoked Germany in the 1970s, somewhat like Fassbinder’s film The Third Generation. So I used old rhythm machines and arranged Wagner’s Tristan Und Isolde for synthesizers, leaning towards a sound that evoked construction and machinery.”
Listen below, or via Ishibashi’s Bandcamp.
Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, pianist and composer Pat Thomas, and accordionist Martin Green are the musicians awarded £50,000 grants by the Paul Hamlyn Award for composers this year. Hutchings, Thomas and Green are awarded alongside five visual artists, all of whom will receive £50,000 spread across a three year period. As usual with the Paul Hamlyn Award, there are no obligations or conditions on how the money must be spent.
Previous recipients have included Steve Beresford, Chris Watson, John Butcher, and Evan Parker, among others. More details here.
To celebrate 20 years since Detroit techno producer Robert Hood founded his M-Plant label, a 33 track compilation, M-Print: 20 Years Of M-Plant Music is set for release in December.
The three disc compilation contains a selection of tracks by Hood released via the M-Plant imprint, including ones made under his Floorplan and Monobox aliases. The first disc documents M-Plant’s early life, including tracks from 1994's Minimal Nation, 1995's Moveable Parts Chapter 1 and 1997's Moveable Parts Chapter 2 while the second disc covers releases from the last 5 years of the label, including 2010's Power To Prophet and 2011's Sanctified. The third disc contains new and unreleased tracks as well as re-edits and remixes. “M-Plant is more than a compilation,” says Hood “It represents the unfolding of a dream, it represents passion and determination to make something out of nothing.”
M-Print: 20 Years Of M-Plant Music will be released 8 December. More information here.
Charlemagne Palestine is releasing his first full length cassette on 30 November on Close/Far. Musician Nathan Cook, who runs the St Louis based label and curates its annual Rhizomatic St Louis compilations, met Palestine during his concert series in Chicago earlier this year. "I asked [Palestine] if he had ever done a cassette release," says Cook. "He said only for a few compilations in the 1980s and that he really likes cassettes and listens to them at home."
Palestine's Chicago series included Schlingen-Blängen, performed on the organ of the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in the University of Chicago. For Close/Far Palestine unearthed a previously unreleased recording of Schlingen-Blängen from 1977, which he believes to be the first ever recording of this signature work. The 90 minute recording, which he has dubbed SchlingenCassettenBlängen, will be released in a cassette edition of 369 (Palestine's three favourite numbers), featuring new and archival artwork by the composer.
Hot on the heels of its 2014 edition, Tusk festival has begun fund raising for next year’s festival. First up is a batch of prints donated by Hull-based musician and artist Andrew Chalk. Chalk, who has worked with The New Blockaders, Christoph Heeman, and is a member of Elodie, Colin Potter’s Ora, has painted a collection of 17 dark and windy squares as part of a collection titled A Light At The End Of The World
The 17 prints are priced at £75 each, and all are up on Flickr here.