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.
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Catalog ID: SHH012LP
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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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1. Kwangsi - moss 18:13
1. mulberry - quail 17:11
Objects and Home-made Instruments
sample the album:
"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
Get additional information at Helen Mirra website
• Show Bio for Fred Frith
"Though the point of reference for many remains the iconic band Henry Cow, which he co-founded in 1968 and which broke up more than 30 years ago, Fred Frith has never really stood still for an instant.
In bands such as Art Bears, Massacre, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, Tense Serenity, the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, Eye to Ear, and most recently Cosa Brava, he has always held true to his roots in rock and folk music, while exploring influences that range from the literary works of Eduardo Galeano to the art installations of Cornelia Parker.
The release of the seminal Guitar Solos in 1974 enabled him to simultaneously carve out a place for himself in the international improvised music scene, not only as an acclaimed solo performer but in the company of artists as diverse as Han Bennink, Chris Cutler, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Evelyn Glennie, Ikue Mori, Louis Sclavis, Stevie Wishart, Wu Fei, Camel Zekri, John Zorn, and scores of others.
He has also developed a personal compositional language in works written for Arditti Quartet, Asko Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ensemble Modern, Concerto Köln, and ROVA Sax Quartet, for example. Fred has been active as a composer for dance since the early 1980s, working with choreographers Bebe Miller, François Verret, and especially long-time collaborator and friend Amanda Miller, with whom he has created a compelling body of work over the last twenty years.
His film soundtracks (for award-winning films like Thomas Riedelsheimer's Rivers and Tides and Touch the Sound, Peter Mettler's Gambling, Gods, and LSD, and Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow's Thirst, to name a few) won him a lifetime achievement award from Prague's "Music on Film, Film on Music" Festival (MOFFOM) in 2007. The following year he received Italy's Demetrio Stratos Prize (previously given to Diamanda Galas and Meredith Monk) for his life's work in experimental music, and in 2010 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield in his home county of Yorkshire.
Fred currently teaches in the Music Department at Mills College in Oakland, California (renowned for over fifty years as the epicenter of the American experimental tradition), and in the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland."-Fred Frith Website (http://www.fredfrith.com/biography.html)
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