March was to be the start of a year long series of improvisations exploring parallels between creative and ritual practice, the symbolic power of the circle, the zodiac, repetition and magic. Working with musician friend Jay, we were planning a monthly live webcast performance from my studio, me playing records, Jay taking a feed from the desk, sampling and treating with Ableton and sending it back into the mix.
We have been talking about this for a while now and rehearsing since January.
It’s been a fantastic listening exercise, trying to find balance between the analogue and digital and working out ways of creating structure within the performances based on some fundamental astrological ideas i.e signs, houses, modes, elements and decans.
In choosing records, I was inspired to seek out spoken word astrology ones having found a copy of ‘Tetley take you Stargazing with Maurice Woodruff: Aries’, in the Ty Hafan charity shop in Cardigan some time ago. Thanks to Ebay and Discogs I almost have the whole zodiac by a number of different astrologers.
There are also a number of musical interpetations of the zodiac signs and several copies of Holst’s planets.
Mixing in with those are a few tracks refering to magic in different ways. So far the only one thats made it into the mix has been A Kind of Magic by Queen, I have a few others in mind which will no doubt make later mixes.
Given the current Covid-19 restrictions we are unable to start the project as planned and im still not quite sure what this will mean for it. While we are finding a few extracts from our Aries rehearsals to post soon and work out how to proceed, I am posting this video of a vinyl only mix to be going on with.
The overlay is a sketch created in After Effects exploring wrapping a few circular images around a sphere. The images are photos of my mother’s crystal ball in the sunset light from the studio window and a version of my birthchart drawn by my mother back in 1996.
I will be performing some new work for this in a couple of weeks…
Looking at my vinyl record database and thinking of the years I spent over the valley from Abercych in Llechryd, watching the floods come and go…
I used to put all the pictures in a set on flickr – Sometimes I live by a Lake
I’m finding some interesting river songs and sleeves in my collection and putting a few out in Bara Menyn in the lead up to the festival.. starting with a the 3 locally themed albums
And then to include singles from further afield
I have been invited to create a new performance at the Glynn Vivian Gallery in Swansea to take place 5-8pm on Friday 21st 2018 as part of the preview event for Yinka Shonibare’s “End of Empire” exhibition and start of the week of art activities tying into Marc Rees’ “Now the Hero”.
I am searching my archive to find records connecting to the themes of these two works and to the gallery and its location. Looking at the partially installed work by Yinka Shonibare last weekend I was reminded of this Talking Heads album cover ..
I plan to use records made in Swansea, (I discovered the Welsh Teledisc label was run from 139 Walter Rd, Swansea), by artists from the Swansea area (Harry Secombe and Morriston Orpheus Choir perhaps..), and songs/artists connected to WW1 and empire (Oh What a Lovely War!, Alf Garnet etc).
I might also throw in some records responding to the Glyn Vivian collection, I noticed a series of seascapes and wondered about some shanties…
I did some work with records for Swansea and the Glyn Vivian some years ago for a Welsh-Estonian artist exchange thing. It included a mix of records made with artists and recordings from the area and a performance on Swansea beach.
About a year later I (unsuccessfully) applied for an exhibition opportunity there and made some other mixes.. I made a playlist of things from back then on Youtube which I cant seem to embed so have to link to by here instead
I was invited to create a live mix for the opening of Strange Eden, an exhibition of work by James Moore in Oriel Mwldan Gallery, Cardigan.
Records were selected in response to the work on display and following a few conversations with James ahead of the event.
Records used include: Tomita – Pictures at an Exhibition; Emerson, Lake and Palmer – Pictures at an Exhibition; Debussy – La Mer; Jean Michel Jarre Live; BBC Sound Effects No6; RCA Home Movie Sound Effects; Landscape III – You Know how to Hurt me; Top Gun OST; I also used a cassette tape of VU-3D for Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
Loops were found randomly from the records using bits of wire to hold the tone arms.
Really enjoyed trying out these records and incorporating the VU-3D Sinclair Spectrum cassette…
If theres no soundcloud player above, you should find the track here titled Picture 10 https://soundcloud.com/jacobwhittaker-1/tracks
Couple of warm up/test mixes for the exhibition opening on Saturday – 3.45 Oriel Mwldan, Cardigan.
If for some reason the players above don’t show up in your browser, you can find them on soundcloud here titled Picture 02 & Picture 06 https://soundcloud.com/jacobwhittaker-1/tracks
Four pictures of records of Pictures at an Exhibition for a performance of Records at an Exhibition of Pictures.
Really looking forward to playing some records for the opening of this exhibition by James Moore.
We met some weeks ago for some tea and a chat about ideas and how to select records and devise a new performance work for the exhibition opening. I am developing quite a diverse selection.. likely to include some synth classics as well as BBC sound effects, the Top Gun soundtrack and Michael Jackson’s Bad.