Wasted five years. JACK HARRIS, SAMUEL RODGERS
Kona kai. YPARXEI PROVLIMA AMALIA
Reviews by Patrick Farmer
The two newest releases on the Organised Music from Thessolaniki label, that aren’t actually that new anymore, but new enough.
My apologies, to Kostis and the artists involved, for the delay in my writing. So much has happened, so much that doesn’t feel at home in a ‘review’, but how many people really think I review things anyway? Do I even think I do? A review, really, shouldn’t be a place to speak about oneself, I’m sure, but then I’m probably not one to review, though I’ll try in a bit. These two tapes have been released on a label that I can’t extract from the proceedings, the proceedings being the review, but as I said, the label, Organised music from Thessaloniki, has published some of my work, and I indeed, not wishing to sound too much like Richard Pinnell, know the label owner very well. He’s a lovely old boy if ever there was one. And so what do I write about?
The tapes! Please, the tapes! I shouldn’t write about how my window has been open all night, how I haven’t eaten anything this morning, how I’ve only drank strong black coffee and thus am typing things, like this, that I possibly wouldn’t usually merit as worth anybody’s while. And yes, I’m going to mention birds, as I can hear them, and I’m always thinking about them. Great tits and goldfinches, the latter giving me much pleasure, being as they were so close to extinction, and now, well, aren’t. I’m going to build a bird table soon, and fill it with nigella seeds. But then, I can also hear, I had to look to confirm, a few private planes in the sky, which give me equal amounts of pleasure. Though it used to be that they made me so angry, but who can live like that and still experience the world in ways where thoughts can be drawn up that can then commingle with others in ways that don’t leave your eyes red and your mouth sore? Thoughts and patience are a good sound.
Why am I writing about this? Is it because I’m unable to vacate my hyperbolically apparent and dank solipsism? If that were true why would I think there were anything to vacate? Unless I were somewhat of a realist in my spare time… Is there any compassion here? I think so, oodles, but who knows really. Or perhaps I’m writing like this because both tapes in some way or another utilise field recordings, or is it material? Either or there’s lots of it! Both. Thematically at least two decades worth condensed into two tapes. They deal with sounds in ways which seek to document what happens not when they’re recorded, but when they’re played back. And so why would I then want to saddle that laboured horse and document those self same sounds again to you in words that don’t speak of anything but a tired imprint that’s so fed up of having to speak? Why not speak of them, or the process, in ways in which hearing the processes unfurl from the magnetised tape that has just finished with a click mirror the ways in which I receive and am now emitting, just like they were a minute ago. Though different.
As you see, what I feel I have actually been doing, is talking about the tapes this whole time. But now to talk about the tapes. One of them makes me wonder what a sine would look like if it had a face… One is almost like looking inside a sine tone. Or is it that they’re building a structure out of sine tones and then not ever wishing to go inside for reasons unknown but probably something to do with the unnerving density of clustering reality? Both build sideways. Both build displacement. Constantly building whatever they’re building. Which is actually somewhat of a dismantling. Like walking on a beach in non-descript weather, looking for something to look for. Placement mops up dynamic and the recordings, the whole shebang, are as much an instrument or a microphone as an instrument or a microphone is an instrument or a microphone.
Both of these tapes are fantastic; both are entirely different in similar ways. And both are not of the same location but to me they are of the same perspective. I don’t know how much of a chance it was that they were released in succession, but chance or not, the way they move through each other in literality mirrors the way they move through each other in theme and content. We’re listening to something fold in the one just as the other is listening to something unfold. Both are one and the same. They’re as different to each other as my words are in reference to them. Plus, one of them made some of my books fall off the shelf, Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy no less. That beast!
[Jack Harris, Samuel Rodgers]
[Yparxei Provlima Amalia]