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Helen Mirra uses the index of a W.G. Sebald's novel to create a mysterious, intriguing and fascinating audio world, performed by Mirra on printing press and acoustic guitar, and Fred Frith on rainsticks, mbira, charango, music box, voice, shoes and other objects.

Frith, Fred And Helen Mirra
Kwangsi - quail [VINYL]

Frith, Fred And Helen Mirra: Kwangsi - quail [VINYL] (Shhpuma)

Label: Shhpuma    
Released in: Portugal    

"Like every Helen Mirra's creation, the frame of this collaboration of the artist with Fred Frith has a conceptual character, but what we have here couldn't be more praxis-oriented - in such a way that this CD seems to be an improvised music document. Mirra elaborated the index of a W.G. Sebald's novel, going from the name "Kwangsi" to the noun "quail", and used it as the score of this live recording. And no, the steel-string acoustic guitar heard through both sides of this LP wasn't played by Frith, but by Mirra herself. This time, the former Henry Cow member switched his guitar (and bass guitar, violin, keyboards, all his usual instruments) for a variety of objects, including his shoes and something so puzzling as a pair of aboriginal rainsticks.

The result is a kind of bricolage music. There's some similarities with Frith's own graphic score interpretations assembled in "Stone, Brick, Glass, Wood, Wire", but this is clearly an opus coming from Mirra's minimalist mind. And that means there's less consideration for the conventional factors of "musicality" and a much radical focus on the materials, being these invariably organic, rough and crude. It all sounds like a Lilliputian world magnified by a microscope. A mysterious, intriguing and fascinating world with only two citizens - one emphasizing a different perspective of what we think is "sound art", and the other revealing a less known side as a noise producer."-Shhpuma

"After a number of years making discrete works with sundry materials, Mirra's present rhythm of working usually takes the form of a kind of paced printmaking, made through walking. The activities are interdependent; the walking structures the printing, and the printing impels the walking. Sometimes a terse kind of writing replaces the printmaking, and occasionally hourly location recordings, made in collaboration with Ernst Karel, occur instead. This rhythm is nestled into a cycle of exhibitions that perpetuates the project. Also, in the context of a sort-of survey project, she is currently preparing to deaccession some sculptures and re-site their materials, as well as working on a book of collected writings-through to be published by Merve Verlag.

Mirra has made solo exhibitions at The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Dallas Museum of Art, Berkeley Art Museum, Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, Kunst-Werke Berlin and Haus Konstruktiv Zürich, and participated in the 50th Venice Biennial and the 30th Sao Paulo Biennial. Other projects include Farbenweg, indirekter, architecturally embedded among the houses of the Universalmuseum Joanneum in Graz, Austria, Instance the Determination at the University of Chicago, the book Cloud, the, 3, with an afterword by Lyn Hejinian (JRP Ringier/Christoph Keller Editions), and a GSA Art in Architecture project at the Minnesota - Canada border.

Mirra has received awards from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Artadia: the Fund for Art and Dialogue. She was artist-in-residence at the Center for Book Arts at Mills College, and the Consortium for the Arts, University of California, Berkeley, and has been a guest of the DAAD Kuenstlerprogramm (Berlin), Office of Contemporary Art Norway (Oslo), Stiftung Laurenz Haus (Basel), and Iaspis (Stockholm)."-Helen Mirra website

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Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Clean Feed
Frith, Fred
Duo Recordings
Objects and Home-made Instruments

Get additional information at Helen Mirra website

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Price: $24.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 16.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 5609063800128

Label: Shhpuma
Catalog ID: SHH012LP
Squidco Product Code: 20391

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: Portugal
Packaging: LP
Recorded live at Eucalyptus Press, in Oakland, California, on March 26th, 2004 by Ernst Karel.


Fred Frith-aboriginal rainsticks, bass mbira, charango, music box, shoes, objects, voice

Helen Mirra-cylinder proof press, acoustic guitar

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Track Listing:


1. Kwangsi - moss 18:13


1. mulberry - quail 17:11