Thursday, 31 December 2020

HOMECONOMICS

HOMECONOMICS is a compilation of tracks from albums that I have released over the past six years. This is something of a selective survey, a sampler, of the work I’ve produced since starting to write and record songs in earnest. In part it functions to draw a line under things, a pause before I embark on whatever the next six years might bring. Who knows how that might turn out. As ever there are ideas, but as yet no solid plans.

One important intention of this compilation is to draw some attention to two of the labels that have aided and abetted me in my work: Linear Obsessional and TQN-aut. Both are DIY, non-profit, non-commercial operations, run from people's homes, and as such two examples of the plethora of such labels currently operating solidly outside of the mainstream.

These labels are the cottage industries of the digital age, performing labours of love, unfettered by the capitalistic concerns of the entertainment industry, operating economies of micro scale, without aspirations to achieve fame, fortune and whatever it is that goes with them, harbouring few expectations of sales or audiences. They do represent artists who have something to say, with or without words, directly, literally, or obliquely, abstractly, who are mostly unconcerned with the competing hegemonies of critical consensus or the tussle for cultural recognition.

These labels provide thousands of artists like me with a context and the possibility of an outlet, and occasionally a track might receive airplay on a programme on Resonance FM in the UK, WFMU in the US, or perhaps one of a myriad of web-based shows globally, the release may receive a review, on a small online or paper zine, or in a more mainstream publication like The Wire.

These labels do it because they are enthusiasts who value the artists’ work in and of itself, holding to the possibility that a few others might also like it, even if there's only half a dozen or so of them. Through downloads on Bandcamp, complemented by limited run CD and cassette releases, and when possible gigs in parks and the back rooms of pubs, a self-determined ‘scene' of sorts has coalesced around this activity, the "no audience underground", as Rob Hayler wryly terms it.

Of course if you are reading this it's more than likely that none of it is news to you, so think of this perhaps as more of a gentle reminder of what we value, and a suggestion that if you like what you hear in this collection you might be interested in buying the physical albums or the downloads from which they come, and not only mine but also those by the many other artists you will find on these labels, and many others like them.  

The tracks on this compilation are drawn from the following albums.

Some tracks differ from those on the original albums: there are alternative mixes of Cloud of Dreams, Without Movement, and Pattern Accumulating, a live version of Sickness Country, and in the case of subsongs a recent new recording of the song.

subsongs 
CD/download, 2017
linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/subsongs

Bastard Island
CD/download, 2019
linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/bastard-island

All Living Can Anyone Be Here 
audio cassette/download, 2020
linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/all-living-can-anyone-be-here

Abstract Vectoral Landscapes
CD/download, 2019
tqn-aut.bandcamp.com/album/abstract-vectoral-landscapes

Collected Local Songs
download, 2015
stevenball.bandcamp.com/album/collected-local-songs

Surplus
download, 2015
stevenball.bandcamp.com/album/surplus 
 

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Click. And.

image: two small wine glasses bought for £1.50 at The Well charity shop, Creek Road, Deptford on Saturday 24 October 2020.

[Guitar seance. The dictation software renders "guitar sounds" as "guitar seance", what is it trying to tell me?]

Guitar sounds, compression, tremolo, pedal noise, wah-wah attenuation, harmonics, resonance, improvised pick up selector and tone control.

Strum. Twang. Pluck. Thump. Ring.

Onomatopoeic text read over the guitar recording, with room sound. new para.

It starts here in this room, with nothing more added than small sounds, occasional hesitant voice, the beginnings of a set of new songs in progress. Perhaps. This will be edited. Maybe. Micro-selection, looping, repetition, and other processes. The text will grow into a lyric, built upon, forms of syntax, sign systems could arise from this simple list of onomatopoeic sound words which satisfy the mouth, to speak or to sing.

Other songs may follow, perhaps using similarly improvised techniques, perhaps using texts that are written before starting the song, starting with guitar and voice, in the room. There is no particular initial idea or conceptual framing for the songs, except to start with what comes to mind, or the hand, in the first instance, in the moment. Working in and around other projects this may take some time, or no time at all.


Sunday, 13 September 2020

Central Asian Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 26 August 2005


Unedited capture from miniDV tape.

Works shown: 'Pastan - Mirror' by Yerbossyn Meldibekov (Kazakhstan, 2004 - 2005); 'On the Road' by Almagul Menlibayeva (Kazakhstan, 2005); 'Sniper' by Said Atabekov (Kazakhstan, 2005); 'Trans Siberian Amazons' by Muratbek Djoumaliev and Gulnara Kasmalieva (Kyrgyzstan, 2004).

Information sheet with essay by curator Viktor Misiano here: drive.google.com/file/d/1syx1dzYCxNMAL6OT1FekCXnNFHgq_wPC/view?usp=sharing

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Aroundabout


written and recorded 2001 first released on The Bugs Are Back EP by Storm Bugs (Klanggalerie gg57, 2002)
photo: Tintern Road, St Helier Estate, Terry Ball c1950 and the chair is by the table and the table’s in the room and the room is in the house and the house is in a yard the yard is in a terrace and the terrace on the street the street leads to a road the road’s on the estate and all the roads will meet at an enormous roundabout and the yard is by the hedge and the hedge by the pavement and the pavement by the grass and the grass is on the verge the verge becomes the gutter and the gutter’s in the street the street it has a name the name’s on the estate and all the names will meet at an enormous roundabout and the net is in the goal and the goal posts on the grass and the grass is on the pitch and the pitch is in a park the park is on a footpath that leads out to the street the street it is a game the game of the estate and all the games will meet at an enormous roundabout and the road runs past the park and beside the roundabout the swing is on the concrete and the concrete on the grass the grass is in the playground and the playground in the park the estate is a park the park is an estate and all the estates meet at an enormous roundabout and a bottle’s on the table and the table’s in the drive and the drive’s beside the house and the house beside the drive and the driving roundabout and the terror on the street the street leads to a road the roads on the estate and all the roads will meet at an enormous roundabout and the chair is by the table and the table’s in the room and the room is in the house and the house is in a yard the yard is in a terrace and the terrace on the street the street leads to a road the road’s on the estate and all the roads will meet at an enormous roundabout