In Weather Volume 1: The Hidden Valley

Splitrec is proud to announce a new release, Splitrec 31, available on LP, CD and DL. Available on Bandcamp.

Adam Gottlieb – stones and trees

Victoria Stolz – charcoal drawings

Aviva Endean – clarinets, plastic tubes, pocket amplifier and stones

Jim Denley – flute, gumnut, vocals and stones

Since the late 1980s Jim Denley has been musicking with the Hidden Valley, Budawang Mountains, regularly hanging out there to play/record. This volume, (the first of three), presents audio recordings and drawings co-created over a few wonderful days there, with a band of human artists, critters, stones, trees and energies. 

Musicking and musickin (to use Hannah Reardon Smith’s term) are inherently and eternally part of the Hidden Valley, and all musicians, human or non-human, delight in their special listenings/soundings. Weather is ever-changing meteorological flux, which intra-acts with and co-sculpts Budawang rock. Improvisation is kin to this flux — our most context-responsive, sympoietic method of musicking — it too has the power to be part of shaping and transforming. Improvising our listening/sounding in weather we can be relational-to, attuned-to, playful-with, and deeply entangled-in Country. With ecologically attuned listening/sounding skills, we can open to the eternal orchestra of the sonoverse, and express not just human intentions, but allow our soaring voices, as Michel Serres writes, to; “…come from the earth, through the intermediary of the volcano-body. The soul is a life-sized wind instrument.” 

With modern portable recording equipment we are gifted these audio phenomena sourced from these playful improvisations, our Gaia songs, this geo-music. The voice of Budawang stone is ancient beyond our knowing, singing an old and novel song.

Recorded in the Hidden Valley, Budawang Mountains, Yuin Nation, between November 22-24, 2021. The Hidden Valley is unceded Aboriginal land. We would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians, the Yuin people, on whose land these recordings are made. We pay respects to elders past, present and future.

We are proud to announce a new CD. Splitrec 30 Release Date: September 16 2022.

back, before Great Waitress

Magda Mayas (piano), Monica Brooks (accordion), Laura Altman (clarinet and feedback).

Formed in 2009, the members live on two separate continents but have maintained the relationship through concerts, touring and recordings. Their first release Lucid (Splitrec CD 22) was recorded in 2011 and released in 2013. John Shand wrote: “If spiders have musical dreams while spinning webs, they might sound like the fragile wisps of sound created by Great Waitress.” Their second, Flock (234 CD Creative sources) was recorded in 2013, released in 2014, Shand wrote again about dreams; “…the resultant music evolves like the soundtrack for a dream that is both enticing and disquieting.” Their third release Hue (Another Dark Age LP Aoo6) was recorded in 2014, released in 2016. Bob Baker Fish in Cyclic Defrost wrote; “…really quite remarkable. It squeaks, rattles reverberates, shimmers, converges into a truly unique organism, one that feels not just far beyond the sum of its parts, but also, oddly enough quite untouched by human hands.” This fourth release, recorded before the pandemic and lockdowns in 2018, has taken four years to get to production. A live set, back, before was beautifully recorded by Peter Farrar at the Annandale Creative Arts Centre, mixed and mastered by Joe Talia.

In the elegant liner notes, Chris Abrahams writes of Great Waitress transcending “…the individual contributions of Mayas, Altman and Brooks. It’s an identity made from a multi-dimensional counterpoint – timbral, rhythmic, harmonic, melodic, emotional… – that results in an ever-evolving gestalt.” He finishes with: “External sound phenomena are subsumed by a music that welcomes any wayward noise, clothing it instantly in its mystery and beauty. The musicians can’t put a foot wrong, because the whole concept of ‘wrong feet’ is anathema to their ideology.”

Great Waitress unfold soundscapes, and beyond their horizons there is nothing to be heard but other soundscapes, and still other horizons. But if we go the other way — forensically listen in to the minutiae — there is nothing inside the sounds but other smaller sounds. They do this inward/outward listening within each of their four amazing releases and they also do it across these releases. This listening is achieved because we never arrive at cliché, genre, or the entirely known or predictable — Great Waitress keep you suspended on a cusp between knowability and novelty.

They have unfolded a body of work, of which back, before is the latest stunning example, that speaks of a brilliant, patient, humble collectivity — one of the most important improvising ensembles of the last decade. We hope you discover Great Waitress’s world.

The reverberant performance space makes the air thick and heavy and quiet, sporadic sounds in clusters and clouds ripple through for tensive atmospheres. The accordion is a kind of bridge to keyboard and wind and this spectrum of instrumental material manifests in their breadth of approaches. Piano can sound more lamellophone than a harp’s rich decay, accordion rattles and crumples, and clarinet chirps in tropical warbles for discrete movements but can chime, sigh, and breathe in sustain together for beating harmonic interactions. Texture becomes tethered to rhythm and melody and harmony begin to feel the same at different scales. At every level limen dissolve and their haze creates a sense of dream states.” Keith Prosk, Free Jazz Blog.