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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M U N G O – Splinter Orchestra – splitrec 27 CD, DL
In March 2016 a 21-piece Splinter spent 3 days recording in the vast desert recording studio that is Mungo National Park.
The 3 CD set, their first release in 10 years, (since splitrec 17) presents an argument for a creative collective, sensitive to time/space — one that treats all the participants, be they performers, other species, or the wind, as equal players.
Over the previous two years, they’d honed specific strategies involving motion that manifest differently wherever and whenever they are played out. These procedures were taken to the dry lakebed in far west NSW.
There are 3 movements – Sunrise, Sunset and Midnight on 3 CDs:
Vital Weekly says “Here we have the input from natural elements but with players moving slowly around over quite an open field means that they mix their music in quite a natural way, by allowing every player to walk around and allow each player for a bigger or smaller part of the total mix; a very democratic way of making choices, I think, and one that fits the nature of improvised music very well. This is a more than excellent release! (FdW)”
Joseph Cummings writing in the Music Trust of Australia says, “There’s mystery in these soundworlds. One listens to this recording and is immersed in its secret, luminous, phantasmal fragility. It is both very ambient and extremely attention grabbing. Super melodic but also utterly textural. One worries about not being able to concentrate, to take it all in. Then one gets swept back up by the twittering machine.
Any type of listening you can muster will work for Mungo. At no point did I think – ‘this is really dragging on’, despite three of the four pieces running for between 30 minutes and an hour – in total around two and a half hours across the three discs. There are periods of overwhelming beauty here, but more often I feel like this music accompanies you. You can be in it, be with it. It’s not demanding but it is as engaging as you let it be.”
French Blog improv sphere says
“Je dois dire que je n’écoute plus beaucoup de musiques improvisées, que je me lasse de nombreux improvisateurs. Mais là, il s’agit de ces disques qui me font aimer l’improvisation, qui me font aimer l’expérimentation. Car il s’agit d’un disque qui contrairement à beaucoup d’autres, possède son univers propre, une ambiance personnelle, des sonorités créatives. Il ne s’agit pas seulement d’improvisation, de concept sur l’espace et le temps, de dialogue avec l’environnement, il s’agit d’un acte créatif, d’une proposition fraiche et innovante qui donne du sens à l’improvisation ainsi qu’à la musique expérimentale. Une beauté.”
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