host 9: otherliness

Host 9 Image

‘Otherliness' was first presented as a looped playback at the Vane Gallery, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne as part of The Late Shows on the 16th May 2009.

HAG approached a selection of cross-disciplined makers to create an audio piece of around 3 minutes on the theme of 'Otherliness'. The concept is, by its very nature, open-ended so we anticipated a variety of responses to the brief utilizing a range of processes and techniques including field recordings, composition from samples, experimental and musically driven work. All of the pieces offer a different perspective on this difficult and often intimate subject.

Many of HAG's projects have used alternative spaces and venues to present their projects with a sense of intervention or neutrality. Breaking away from formal exhibiting spaces has opened up new possibilities for creativity and allowed audiences to explore art experiences outside of the conventional gallery space. 'Otherliness' seeks to create a sense of difference while acknowledging sameness. The Other cannot exist without something to be other than. It exists in opposition, often born from the thing it negates. In some sense the white gallery space can be seen as familiar and the work be considered ‘otherly’ or alien to this environment. A sense of displacement overcomes the uniformity of the blank space; while distortions of familiar sounds focus us back in on the minutiae of our experience. There may be some comfort or consolation in this detachment, this sense of being out of time, as the work presented clearly demonstrates.

This compilation is dedicated to David Guy (1946-2008) and J.G. Ballard (1930-2009).

Special thanks to Paul Stone at Vane, Ron Wright and Chris Wilson at Oberphones.

Design by Oberphones

Photos by HAG

This compilation © Host Artists Group 2009.
All tracks © of the Artists 2009.

Track Listing

1. Michael Day - I Hear You Singing in the Wire

This piece consists of Glen Campbell’s version of Wichita Lineman played through a sequence of reverb filters. Reverberation occurs when sound waves persist in space after the removal of the original sound source, reflecting off walls and ceilings, decreasing in amplitude as they gradually fade. This repeated reflection leads to entropy, as imperfections in the waveforms are replicated at each point of reflection. The Wichita Lineman is a lone figure silhouetted against the wilderness, hallucinating the voice of an absent lover in the wires, keeping transmission lines open against the encroaching entropy of nature.

2. Michael Cousin - I Am the Dreamer of Dreams

This appropriation of the “I Have A Dream” speech given at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963 by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reduces it to a series of statements having the cadence of politics and activism but no discernible point. This is not to make a mockery of this turning point in American history, nor to mourn the lack of inspirational politics and policy of our current period. This redux speech is conjured from an (other) place beyond understanding, where existence and perception have a multitude of expressions rather than our own singular expression.

3. Neil Webb - Far Beneath in the Abysmal Sea

The title of this piece is taken from Albert Tennyson’s ‘The Kraken’. This sonnet subsequently inspired John Wyndam’s novel ‘The Kraken Wakes’. Using above and under water recordings the piece attempts to explore these worlds of the unknown underneath. The mysterious depths of the oceans remain largely unseen and unknown. The beast is suggested through exploration and intrigue until it finally reveals itself.

4. Rose Butler - Ocarina

iPhone’s Ocarina allows users to transform their console into a wind instrument based on the original clay whistle or flute. As people around the world attempt to play you are able to listen to individual unfinished melodies of different cultural influence, skill and recognisability. Impressive but clumsy the digital players lack any mastery and the instrument itself is homogenised by its digitality. The dislocated sound is ephemeral and has a lonely, eerie and hypnotic quality.

5. Helen Blejerman - Tom & Max, Short Notes on Sound (Over Milk & Biscuits)

6. Ron Wright – Bolthole

Am I one or the other?
This piece is part of the Sonurban Project, which explores physical and metaphysical wildscapes. I had escaped to the Derbyshire Peak District. Standing alone on the platform at Grindleford Station a distant snake of electrical rumble emerged into a high-speed train, which hurtled past. The recorded file stops as the train enters Totley Tunnel, which is 100 yards from the station and is 3 miles and 950 yards long.
Later it occurred to me that there was a TV series in 1999 where a group of commuter train passengers are put in accidental suspended animation while traveling through the same tunnel and emerge years later into a devastated world. The programme was called “The Last Train” – frozen in time in Totley Tunnel –the ultimate bolthole.

7. Esther Johnson – Repetune

Repetune takes an eight-note fragment of a melody which has repeatedly haunted the artist. The melody, created from a single voice, is looped and transformed into multiple layers and thus heard anew. A 'Repetune' (also known as an 'earworm') is a piece of music that sticks in one's head in a phonological loop. The neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks alludes to this phenomena as 'involuntary musical imagery'.

8. Matt Butt – Missing

9. Tim Lambert - Same Thing Over and Over

Two young men share a moment to talk about the gravity of marriage. 'There is no turning back,' is what they are saying, 'so you had better make the right choice.' No doubt they have ruminated at length on making the wrong decision, but they can only imagine how that might turn out. How do they know until they take the plunge? They are caught between an unknown reality and a sceptical fantasy, and here the fantasy prevails.

10. Oberphones - Waiting World

In 1988, inspired by records such as the one sampled here, I began making my own cut-up tracks using a home stereo and, principally, its pause button. Multitracking was impossible, as was split-second sampling. In 1997 I made a cut-up track using a multitrack tape recorder and, principally, its pause button. The hopeless aim of creating seamless loops gave way to documenting imperfections in timing: the analogue rotation of the sampled source (a turntable); the recorder's strained motor; my releasing of the pause button. I sampled the same sequence repeatedly for ten minutes, then rewound and began again. Eventually the tape contained four simultaneous lanes of the thrice-imperfect loop. I intended the finished piece to comprise this tape amplified in various environments, then re-recorded and re-edited. In 2009 'Otherliness' became the catalyst for this.

11. Francisco López - Untitled #222

Created at mobile messor (Amsterdam), march 2009

12. Richard Sides - Who Will Wipe the Blood From Our Hands

13. Miguel Santos - Cala-te

14. David Morin – Anhimaharua

“Anhimaharua” was inspired by Henri Michaux’s writing and his interest in the effects of hallucinogenic drugs and particularly mescaline. With its use Michaux wanted to travel in this other world exactly like he had done across the globe.
This sound piece is an invitation to a sonic interpretation of Henri Michaux’s description of his visual experiences.

15. Christopher Hall & Alexander Kelly - Approaching Infinity

Chris and Alex make film, video, performance and installation work that explores the personal obsessions that we carry with us from childhood to adulthood and that define who we are and how we relate to the world around us. Approaching Infinity is a deeply personal exploration of the search for meaning in a secular life.

16. Katie Davies - My Way

Written by Paul Anka in 1967 and popularized by Frank Sinatra, My Way has been covered over 100 times by different recording artists. Here, multiple cover versions are presented together as an amalgam of musical styles, eras and genres. Musical icons such as Sid Vicious, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Ill Devo, sing My Way on top of one another.

In this instance, My Way is a playful interrogation of the authenticity and sincerity of the songs performances and its journey from Paul Anka's original intentions as each performance of My Way is performed "their way".

17. Lesley Guy - Hypnagogia

The twilight is a hallucinatory space of reflected light and changing atmospheres. This is the gloaming, the mysterious otherworld. These times signify the shifting states of consciousness that occur as we drift in or out of sleep. As elements of the waking world creep in and influence their imagery our dreams take on the feeling of reality. Here in the half-light we hover on the threshold of the irrational as it passes from imagination into experience.
Composed using field recordings made at dusk and dawn.

18. Carl von Weiler - Not Me

For this sound work named Not me, von Weiler hung upside down to speak and record the words from the Samuel Beckett play Not I (1973). The rapidity and insistence of the words, coupled with the increased intensity of the voice that happens through body inversion, work into the mind of the listener/viewer and play on the psyche.

Von Weiler’s work covers a broad spectrum, from the sculptural object, sound and video works, to large-scale installations and small drawings made for galleries/museums and off-site locations both inside and outdoors. Sound, often a component of an installation, is here separated off to make a new work for the Host project Otherliness.