Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Calipermusic Blog

Caliper Music: an experimental music blog
And speaking of EGB, Calipermusic blog is featuring our opening track over here

Thanks Matt and the team at Calipermusic!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Pearler Tracks - EGB

We thought it might be interesting to provide some insight into the story behind some of the songs on A Pearler. EGB is the first track on the album and I don't think there is an E, G or a B chord played on it.

The title's three letters stand for "Eternal Golden Braid" and while to some degree it speaks of a connective essence inside us and between us, it is actually taken from the subtitle of the book Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R Hofstadter

This book itself  covers a great many topics relating to mathematics, music, symmetry, art, language, consciousness and meaning and how these last two aspects can manifest as a result of the inter-working and complexity laid out by a system of lesser, unconscious, meaningless constituents.

What seems like a bit of a mouthful is woven together with Lewis Carroll-like meta narratives (the degree of self reference within this book is frightening) and discussions on artist M.C. Escher, mathematician Kurt Friedrich Gödel and composer J.S. Bach on how their work each pokes and prods at these concepts in a way that renders it both illuminating and poetic. Very few books can claim to be referenced in the fields of both computer science and philosophy.

On EBG I am thankfully not trying to mimic a J.S. Bach fugue (which is discussed at length in this book) but rather a certain poly-rhythmic complexity inspired by the minimalism of  Steve Reich such as on his Music for 18 Musicians.

 A more modern example, and clear descendant of the former would be the vibraphone section of Djed, the epic 21 minute suite by Tortoise. The real action gets going around the 10 minute mark.

Both of these pieces rely heavily on stasis, repetition and  duration for their effect. While there is often the appearance of an accrual of volume, mass or complexity, this is usually a trick of the arrangement as different instruments replace others to prolong interest without causing everything to collapse under its own weight.

It seems to me that the point of these pieces is to delay the destination or peak of the composition, simply because there is no real peak. The magic and beauty is in the lattice work provided by the individual voices. They are an end unto themselves.

While Reich tends to move quite transparently from movement to movement, Tortoise devise an altogether more ingenious exit strategy by way of some studio trickery and tape splicing. Around the 13:50 mark all logic is obliterated like the ceremonial destruction of a Zen Buddhist sand mandala (Zen Buddhism also features prominently in Gödel, Escher, Bach!) and the listener is thrust into an entirely different or parallel dub landscape or dimension where only the atomic constituents of things previously heard, are audible. What a way to go!

This implosion of structure, seemingly under the weight of its own logic harks back to some of the mental conundrums and paradoxes of the 'strange loops' discussed in Gödel, Escher, Bach. These logic systems often involve a degree of self-reference which traps the mind in a virtual Möbius strip.

Möbius Band I- M.C. Escher -- love me some Escher

In truth, these  situations arise due to failings or shortcomings in our language and logic constructs. It is our unflagging belief that this brain and these words are adequate and accurate enough to describe the universe, that allows our own minds to seek out the seams and loopholes, pulling us right through and then dowsing us in the insanity of it all.

It seems fitting to make a brief mention of Kurt Friedrich Gödel at this point, whose 'incompleteness theorem' proved that there was no set of mathematical axioms complete enough to sufficiently describe all mathematics. If we cannot adequately map out a set of abstract tools designed to describe the universe then we clearly have some work ahead of us.

Perhaps the real joy for me is actually slipping into those loopholes where cogent logic is suspended, where the moiré patterns overwhelm, and the interlocking rhythms induce a ecstatic trance. A brilliant thread of wonder, a sense of something immense and beyond our comprehension is perhaps truly immutable. 

There's an eternal golden braid
There's an aching for better days
Console yourself with words and chosen fate
There's a sinking in my soul
There is just no soul at all
Of what we're made
It's just eternal golden braid
It's just eternal golden braid

There's a burning, boney arm
You're not the only one
Holding on to holding on
You're not the only one
Are your boot lace on?
Holding on
Holding on
Are your boot lace on?

Halllelu, hallelu, hallelujah

In a fire, born a liar
Enter, enter
Beckoning to enter

from A Pearler, released 21 June 2015
Ramon Galvan: water recording, electric guitar, voice, dulcitone, wood block
Nic Da Silva: bass guitars, drums
Pierre Du Plessis: piano

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Pearler Review from Poland

Łukasz Komla from the online music publication Nowamuzyka.pl  contacted us to point out that he'd reviewed A Pearler over here 

It all seems pretty positive!
Nice to see that in addition, attention is being paid to the likes of Julian Redpath, Joao Orecchia and Givan Lotz.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Pearler

A Pearler, the new album by Ramon Galvan AKA Galvan is completed and available now to stream and purchase on Bandcamp

All words and music by Ramon Galvan

Recorded by Ramon Galvan and Nic Da Silva, except (7) recorded and initial mixing by Dan Manojlovic at Sui Studios, Cape Town

Mixed by Nicolai Roos
Mastered by Simon Ratcliffe at Sound and Motion, Cape Town

Cover painting and layout by Jesse Breytenbach

Special thanks to Nic and Pierre for playing on this and sharing your ideas, Nicolai for tireless mixing and the constant enthusiasm to try different approaches, Dan for the initial recording sessions for some of the material that appears on this album and invaluable mix feedback, Americo for assistance with musical instrument repairs and Jesse for the beautiful artwork. Thanks also to Dirk Hugo for providing a temporary studio environment to allow this album to be mixed.

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Guide For The Perplexed

Why did Les Blank call his film Burden of Dreams?

Cinema emboldens us. It helps us surmount everyday life and encourages us to take our hopes and desires seriously, to turn them into reality. When things were going badly I headed back to Germany in an attempt to hold together the film's investors. they asked me if I was going to continue. "Do you really have the strength and will?"   I said, "How can you ask this question? If I abandon this project, I will be a man without dreams. I live my life or I end my life with Fitzcarraldo." It wan't possible for me to allow myself private feelings of doubt while making the film. I never had the privilege of despair; had I hesitated or panicked for a single second, the entire project would have come tumbling down around me. The final film ended up basically as I had always hoped it would, with the exception of the Mick Jagger character. Months later Claudia Cardinale said to me, "When you came to Rome four years ago and explained your ideas to me and all the difficulties we would have to overcome. Now I've seen the film, and it's exactly as you first described it."

If you watch Fitzcarraldo and have the courage to push on with your own projects, then the film has accomplished something. If one person walks outside after watching one of my films and no longer feels so alone, I have achieved everything I have set out to achieve. When you read a great poem you instantly know there is a profound truth to it. Sometimes there are similar moments of great insight in cinema, when you know you have been illuminated. Perhaps, occasionally, I have achieved such heights with my own films.

Werner Herzog - A Guide for the Perplexed
Conversations with Paul Cronin

Monday, May 18, 2015

Outer Tumbolia on Bandcamp

We've put Outer Tumbolia on Bandcamp to make it more accessible (I think that download link expired) and their presentation and streaming player is one of the best.

Also this gives us the opportunity to work the kinks out of the process to prepare for some new material to follow...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Memories Of Static

"Languorousness" figured increasingly in commercial Hawaiian music in the 1930s and 1940s (despite King's alarm at its "jazzing-up"), and it certainly remained a key motif of the Hawaii Calls radio program. Broadcast weekly from Honolulu, and heard around the world from 1935 until its cessation in 1975, the program promoted an image of Hawaii as earthly paradise - one that visitors were encouraged to physically visit, as well as imagine. Staged "under the old banyan tree in the courtyard of the Moana Hotel," the "liveness" and seductive authenticity of the setting was much stressed. Indeed, some mainland listeners to the original broadcasts apparently imagined the oscillations in the shortwave signal to be the sound of the waves lapping on Waikiki. When the signal was improved the producers received complaints from listeners, and thereafter a microphone was placed near the water to pick up the real ocean waves.

Echo & Reverb
Fabricating Space in Popular Music Recording 1900-1960

Peter Doyle
Wesleyan University Press