What a Way to Live
As a group we started with a challenge, we had been working as electronic studio types, performers, artists and teachers, we wanted to see if we could combine all these elements and 'do that on stage'. Our one rule was 'no sequencing or recorded material, everything must be played in realtime.' We also like being just two people on stage. What slowly evolved, in various incarnations is our current theater/concert/video performance New Trials which dances/limps/rumbles/mangles the experiential/narrative possibilities of music, images, motion, language and history, by combining film, music and theatre performance into a spatial 'art object' which, places the audience at the centre of the paradox of the 'information society': in a sea of possibility the easiest thing to do is drown. The real questions are: What is information? What is news? What is art culture? What are their function/purpose? How is this controlled? By whom? What are our critical means to filter, rationalize and absorb it? We are witness/subject to an ever increasing mass of data offered by organizations interested in the satisfaction of our needs for profit. The community of human interests, history, political ideas, art, custom are being reshaped into entertainment for consumption or as inducement to consume. What does this mean in terms of our experience of an artistic performance? Should art cultivate community ergo 'market', or do we simply label and market 'art'. If the 'information superhighway' is a ring road connecting the 'global village' where does that leave indigenous culture, community, family, the individual and by extension individual expression? It is clear that we must develop a new relationship with the sounds and images that swirl about us each day . Each act of communication is triangular, composed of the individual, the presentation/object and it's intention/meaning in the broader context of relations/society. The questions must be: What is my contribution to this triangle of communication? Am I a passive receptor and/or active creator? How so? Musical performance and theatre cannot answer these questions, they require personal reflection but it is in the artistic tradition to place the audience in the position to ask them. If art does not do so it is not art but simply the affirmation of existing structures, ideas and relationships. Hope it doesn't sound too Euro-snob intellectual - we aren't . It is just that: a) people want to box you in (up? out?); b) 'outside' music has to come with and explanation - the folks on the art galley seem to want to know why they should, before they'll row by and listen to you. The truth is that uniformity and repetition run against our grain. Peter spent years (in the late '80's) creating soundtracks for art gallery installations and I would record a limited number of copies (say 50) each of which was different in some way from the others (different mixes, lengths, variations, time distortions, reverb, words, cover art, etc.). This wasn't very practical but it was fun - I needed to take a teaching job so as to guarantee the supply of raw tape. Our sound goes from Albert Ayler to Grunge to Last Poets to sweet 'n mellow sound scape. It reflects our mood and the energy of the audience. The idea is that each piece has an initial structural concept/mood/motif or melody and then can move in various possible directions, rhythmic, phrasal, harmonic, just sounds, etc.; it can even become something completely different either by evolving, or in a radical manner. We believe it is successful if, the audience likes it and/or we feel that there is an organic unity/atmosphere through the transformations. The CD 'What a Way to Live' is taken from our 'live' shows but am still uncertain if it really conveys the feeling of the way we play - I think it is still too 'set'. We have finished work on two more CDs, the first of which I am currently mixing was done all in the studio and the second is a live document of our recent concerts in Germany.