Submental – 180º splitrec 29 CD and DL
180º is a new group formed in August 2018 – Nick Ashwood acoustic guitar, Jim Denley bass flute, and Amanda Stewart voice and text. Amanda and Jim first met in the late 1980s, founding Machine for Making Sense in 1989, as well as performing numerous duos over the years — a long and fruitful association. They’ve always been interested in what their music instinct can learn from language and vice versa. Nick is from the southern tip of Tasmania. Jim and Nick have been developing a strong association together the last 3 years, despite the distance from Hobart to Sydney, mainly listening, playing and recording in outdoor spaces.
180º has been working on a set of studio recordings, that have become this release, Submental. The word refers to anatomy beneath the chin, mentum – Latin for chin. There are a number of triangular spaces and muscles in the human neck. There are 8 tracks:
1.Scalene 2. Equilateral 3. Oblique 4. Isosceles 5. Obtuse 6. Acute 7. Degenerate 8. Equiangular
This release sits in a liminal space between music and poetics — but wait, isn’t that a definition of song? Are these recordings a set of songs? Yeah-Nah. Does Amanda sing? Nah-Yeah.Does Nick play chord sequences? Sorta… naaah. Does Jim play melodies? Naaah… yeah.
At Splitrec we’ve listened closely to the material and find it extremely difficult to put our finger on what this music is. All 3 performers enter and exit the music with clear and sometimes opposite statements — hence the analogy of triangles. All opposites unite at the point at which they diverge. Whatever the angle at that divergence, the total angles of the triangle are always 180º.
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parasite – Rhys Mottley // Prepared guitar splitrec 28 CD and DL
Splitrec proudly presents the first of a series of releases from a new generation of Sydney improvising experimenters.
Vital weekly says, “There is some great music captured on this release, all very refined.” Frans de Ward
Here is an interview with Rhys.
Rhys Mottley crouches above his acoustic guitar bowing, scraping and plucking with numerous and disparate objects to mute, distort, activate and stop.
The body of the instrument is riddled with parasitic attachments such as street sweeper needles, bottle caps, blu tack, drill bits, chopsticks and brackets collected by the artist’s creative eye in day to day life. There are no electrical devices, just gesture exciting objects and strings.
The resulting sounds are informed and partly determined by movement – his body wriggles and reforms around the guitar, examining it from multiple angles. The rhythms created by this gestural dance are complex and unpredictable but the harmolodics remain static – there’s no shredding here, despite his history as a metal guitarist.
While these gestural techniques are innovative, it’s his unique focus on the three pieces Gut Feeling, Throat Feeling and Ear Feeling that we at Splitrec find so compelling. With mics close on either side, every detail of the resonating guitar and distant traffic, trucks, cars and planes of Tempe Jets and surrounds are revealed and listened to with forensic patience.
The choice of location is important. The abandoned sports club in Sydney’s South is home to a community of improvisers including the Splinter Orchestra and the Prophets with which Rhys is deeply involved. Through rich time spent there he has developed an understanding of its sounds, its feelings and its life.
Despite the performative immediacy there is something deeply unhurried in his listening and playing that makes the three pieces resemble installation works. It’s as if he is finding material in the chaos of each new tuning and set up, and is as excited by the results as anyone else.
In parasite Rhys Mottley expertly adapts and exploits his host instrument for its sonic resources, or perhaps it is his guitar which has insinuated itself into his body to feed on his imagination, spirit, creativity and to utilise his motoric dexterity.
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