June 10, 2009

The Idea Of South

Idea_South_Large.gifIf you live in Sydney and, in addition to this computer, you are in possession of two radios, then this Sunday you're in for a treat... At exactly 10:30 pm, three separate parts of a trumpet, cello, percussion & field recording based composition will be broadcast simultaneously on community radio stations 2SER, FBI and via a Shoutcast internet stream (find details for tuning into that here).

The work is called Idea of South and is the brainchild of musician, composer and sound artist Roger Mills. The primary inspiration for it was The Idea of North, an experimental 1967 radio documentary by Canadian pianist Glenn Gould in which he took recordings of five people talking about the solitude and isolation of life in Canada's frozen north, and fashioned them into a contrapuntal composition. (Go here to see a video of a rather impassioned Gould discussing and playing excerpts from the work.)

Mills began his antipodean version of this project by issuing an open online call for field recordings recorded anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. The majority came from Australia, but there were also submissions from locations as far afield as Fiji, Chile, South Africa, and Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean. And the range of sounds was just as diverse - everything from wind sculptures, restaurant ambience and in-flight announcements on planes to whalesong, cow milking, and fences humming in the wind. (If you want to hear some of the submitted recordings, there is a zoomable map of them here.)

Mills then edited this wealth of source material into the final three parts and even created his own graphical notation to guide the musicians in laying down instrumental accompaniment. And the final results?... Well, you'll just have to stay in on Sunday night and hear them for yourself.

(If you're in town and don't have the necessary equipment to pick up all the broadcasts, don't despair. You can always head on down to Don't Look Back gallery, 419 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill, where they'll be making an evening of it - starting off with a performance by the Forenzics before piping all three broadcasts through an in-house PA at the allotted time.)

To whet your appetite for this multi-broadcast radiophonic event, here's a sample from Mills' website:

Idea of South Excerpt

Posted by Warren at 07:14 PM

May 04, 2005

She Be She Strike

CBC_Strike.jpgFrom WFMU (once again) comes this interesting little episode in Canadian broadcasting history...
Back in the early 80's, the staff at a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation operated radio station in Northern Canada went out on strike, and left the station in the hands of its Inuit janitor and his mates... who valiantly carried on the work of producing and broadcasting programmes.

And they made a pretty decent fist of it. Their output during their tenure as ad hoc producers/announcers included an Inukitut version of You Are My Sunshine, a live commentated Heart Of Stone, an ode to Ayatollah Khomeini, a DIY beer commercial, and a slab of Inuit Cheeh-and-Chong inspired humour.

Posted by Warren at 02:40 AM

October 27, 2004

John Peel 1939-2004


This is just so fucking sad… John Peel was responsible for the greatest moment in my brief musical career, when he invited the band I was playing bass for to record a Peel Session back in the early 90’s... At the time, it was almost beyond belief to me… We were a bunch of Antipodean nobodies who were struggling to get headlining gigs, and here was the great man giving us the nod of approval and letting us record in a BBC studio that had once been graced by the Beatles… It was an honour that just seemed undeserved, and something I will be forever indebted to him for…

To mark his passing, I’m posting this site devoted to mp3s by bands featured on his show since 1992. There are a lot of names that you will probably already know, but please download something from an obscure group you’ve never heard of… Someone who might've regarded it as truly valued recognition that they wouldn’t have got elsewhere…

RIP John Peel… I extend my sympathies to your family… Thank you for all you’ve done for the struggling musicians of this world…

Posted by Warren at 10:07 PM