Artist: Floating Concrete Octopus (mIEKAL aND, Elizabeth Was)
Producer: ASFi Music Works (1990)
Homemade instruments combined with Mac & samplers.
Or better: "Before and After Music." Before men started to bottle the vast ocean of aural phenomena into tight square jars with label and rules for proper usage, and after hordes of common noisicians have shattered and spilled the last of this bottled pop to their own sonic delight.
The title refers to the gigs we performed during a mini-tour in April 1989, a series of six performances in six cities. Itinerary: The Art Strike Attic in Baltimore, Maryland; ABC No Rio in New York City (of which there was alas no recording made); there should have been a Boston performance but the setting up was screwed up; The Rivoli in Toronto; Mantra Mash Avant X Arts Festival in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. This was the first time Miekal and I did a series of performances solely as a duo (with a couple exceptions: a) Luigi-Bob Drake joined us briefly in Toronto and fully in the Bloomington show, playing his self-made cell-hole (pronounced "ch", as in "cello"). b) We mostly amounted to crying (which can be heard at the Baltimore gig), sleeping or being taken for a walk by travel companion Speezeric. Zon's "momminess" was a sources of great stress for me, I even wanted to give up the tour half-way through. But listening back, I think the tension aided the music.)
This was also the first time we toured and performed with a computer and no drum set and no saxophone, combining the sampling capabilities of the Mac and our old-fashioned Akai S612 sampler with our first invented gourd instruments, and costumes. Again, the before and the after: the primitive and the technological. This first experience with the convenience of the technological world left an impression on us, after years of loading and unloading drumsets, guitars, amps, etc., we packed the Mac, the gourds, one box of whistles and shakers, and a pair of drumsticks.
The execution of the piece(s) was based on two things in particular: 1) The idea that the audience would make sounds which we would sample and process. We found that asking the audience to do this, however, was no more effective (whether for shyness, uncertainty, whatever) than using their sounds without telling them. 2) We were to make repeated use of Miekal's booklet of essays on noise entitled Polynoise, the text of which you can hear read throughout the tape. We also handed out copies of the book to audience members at each gig.
The Baltimore gig was set up by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE and John Berndt in the Art Strike Attic, a long skinny warm space turned over for performances by its resident whose name I can't remember. The audience jam-packed it sitting on the floor up next to us. Toronto dj/producer/smiler Myka Dyer scheduled us at the Rivoli, a vast black club complete with excellent sound system and engineer. I might note that two different recordings of the Toronto gig were made: one directly off the board, and one recorded with Luigi-Bob Drake's portable deck. Surprisingly, the tapes were of equal but divergent quality and I was able to make use of each. This gig was a triple bill with improvising saxophonists Jack Wright and John Oswald. There were at least 50 people in the audience.
At the Mantra Mash, we performed, as we had three years in a row, in Larry's penthouse, a large two-levelled magical performance space which has since burned down along with the rest of Bloomington's Eddy building. With each performance on the tour, I found myself doing more and more movement and maskwork with drumsticks, while Miekal and Luigi made most of the sounds. (Wish we could release an Aftermusic videotape...)
We perceive all our work as in progress/in process. Every audio piece, image, etc., whether "completed" or not, always stands ready as material to be altered, added to, mixed with more, etc. Thus side two of this tape extends the Aftermusic tour back to Madison where I carefully mixed together the various recordings of the gigs.