Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Rupture

The Rupture

When its cold and dark
I'll field forests
Twos cum in forests

When we're old and gnarled
I'll seek mountains
With wider passes
For turning round

Bitter cold
The first freight, nervous
And similar the ice-breaker

To break this blanket white
And sail on through the night
Or a sign for turning round

The Rupture

When we're young
We'll run circles 'til they come and fetch us
Or carve our names any place they let us
Disguising all our features given
Now I carve a path back home,
to whittle down my feathers
I'm embarressed:
Got a headdress full of daggers

What became of you?
Did you cum at all?
Did you learn to swim when you waded in?

I put these thoughts aside
I'm thankful for the ride
Until the time that we decide

The Rupture

And grey might be
The only shade on sunshine
I see graze the ground
And as grey silvers on,
I told you that I loved you and I never lied

The singer skipped a whole verse
A chasm super wide
A proper bridge would splinter
A banquet would be meager pickings

Did you honestly think you had to read between the lines?
There wasn't enough space to fit whats unsaid in a rhyme
So just be cool and focus on more pleasurable times
And only know I loved you and I never lied

Happy hunting...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Avant Folk Myths

Gavlan Trio will be performing Wednesday 26 Aug '09 at around 9pm.
We will be playing a short set of songs mostly from 'Outer Tumbolia'

Friday, August 21, 2009

Press Coverage for Jaunted Haunts

Press coverage for Jaunted Haunts in Design Indaba Magazine

Independent music producer, subterranean screenprinter, illustration maniac, guitar anarchist, poster activist and improvisational upstart, Righard Kapp recently released four albums on his garage label Jaunted Haunts Press. Besides the reissue of Ella Joyce Buckley’s For Astrea, the long-awaited release of the Buckfever Underground’s live album Limbs Gone Batty, and Ramon Galvan’s debut album, Outer Tumbolia, Kapp also released his own album, Strung Like A Compound Eye. Simultaneously summing up all four albums and his visual prerogative, Kapp describes his album as “an argument for the broadening of aesthetic horizons in a time when variety, though technologically feasible, is remarkably absent from our prescribed media diets”.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You Flossed The Stars

You Flossed The Stars

When to steer's uncertain

And all objectivity

Is gone

The only thing to do is run

You want it all

You flossed the stars

You want it all

You flossed the stars

In his purse he has supernovae

Research has shown this is nearly over

Monday, August 17, 2009

Outer Tumbolia - Mail & Guardian review

It has been a while since the South African music scene has heard from Ramon Galvan, the former vocalist and keyboard player from the avant-rock band Blackmilk. Great news then, that he has a debut solo album out on Righard Kapp’s Jaunted Haunted Press and it’s amazing too.

Outer Tumbolia is an album filled with delicate off-kilter emotional outpourings that at first listen can come across as emotionally draining. However, I found that with every further listen, my heart warmed just a little more to his songs of loss and longing.

While Galvan’s vocals remind me of Antony Hegarty, without all the grandiose pomp, the music consistently reminded me of John Cale’s work.

Luminarc which, features Kapp on guitar loops, is a gem of a song, while The Rupture which, features Galvan on kalimba, music box and melodica, is an album highlight too. However Galvan saves the best for last, an incendiary collaboration with Benguela drummer Ross Campbell on its dramatic closer No Rest, where Galvan croons along to the Kalimba, while Pierre du Plessis delivers waves of feedback and Campbell offers up some jazzy percussion.

Get this immediately and catch Galvan on a national tour with Kapp and Benguela soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bulbul Tarang

The instrument that I am playing in the picture above is a Bulbul Tarang, which means "waves of nightingales". It sounds like anything but a nightingale, in fact its other name, the "Indian Banjo" is perhaps a rather crude but more apt description in terms of what it sounds like.

In Japan, a similar instrument exists called a Taishogoto, while the German Akkordolia operates in a similar manner.

Like the autoharp it is an instrument often used by the more untrained musician and in the bulbul's case also by the elderly in large ensembles as a form of occupational therapy. Having said this I have observed footage displaying amazing virtuosity on both the autoharp and bulbul, but for the novice player they do offer fairly instant gratification.

It consists of a fretboard of multiple strings usually tuned to the same note or octaves of each other. There are also lower drone strings that do not get fretted by the rather ingenious key operated fretting mechanism that changes the pitch of the main strings to provide a melody.

This particular instrument came into my possession through a good friend who spotted it in a junk shop and instantly thought of me and my fondness for odd sound making devices. The problem was that it was in pieces and without a name or description. Whatever parts there were, were incomplete.

The first clue was a little piece of paper still attached to the box showing a rather faint diagram of what the instrument was meant to resemble.

Using this and the resources on the Internet, within a couple of weeks a few links were found which provided a name to the instrument and some vague descriptions of how it worked. The crucial bit of information around how the keying mechanism worked, however, remained elusive. There were only a handful of resources sites compared to the many videos and websites that have cropped up since and a series of emails between me and a seller of exotic instruments stopped dead when he discovered I wasn't actually interested in buying anything from him.

The second important lead was when I received an email from a musician friend of mine who knew of my dilemma in rebuilding this instrument and informed me that he had spotted something similar at an acquaintance's house. I abruptly got this person's contact details and paid him a visit.

This guy was a true collector of stringed instruments and I was given a fascinating tour of his collections of zithers, psalteries, guitarras, banjos and yes, there in the corner was a bulbul.
This one was slightly different in that it contained only 3 melody strings, but crucially the spring operated keying system looked very similar.

He very kindly allowed me to borrow his instrument for a couple of weeks so I could carefully take it apart and take some detailed photos and notes. The elegance and simplicity of the key, spring and pivot rod design struck me as so intuitive that I really should have worked it out if there weren't so many original parts missing. Most of these were quite simple to fashion from wire, wood and metal pins.

The final hurdle was the manufacture of the actual keys. There are supposed to be 21 keys but only 7 were present in the odds and ends that I was given. These were quite hardy hand cut metal keys (I suspect this instrument had already been repaired at least once or at least an attempt had been made - to add to the confusion) and I did not want to get into hours of hacksaw and metal file work in order to manufacture the remaining keys, so it was very fortunate that another friend of mine recommended a company that did metal cutting to specification using water jets. I was able to convince them to do the job for a pittance as they could see I was not going into any major mass production manufacture enterprise.

After a few weekends and a ton of assistance from my father, who is far more coordinated than I am and very capable in realm of DIY, it was ready to play. It's a little creaky and some of the keys stick a little but it is really sweet sounding.

It is great to overdub melodies with and the droney-ness of the sound combined with a little reverb really sits well in a mix. You can hear it overdubbed on the songs 'Luminarc' and 'I Will Rise Up' on my album 'Outer Tumbolia'. We have also fitted a guitar pickup to it in order to use it live. I am currently using in a more upfront manner making it a more dominant part in some of the newer material I am writing.

I'll end off this post with a video of a combined bulbul and autoharp performance. If not the most virtuosic performance, it certainly is the most endearing

27 chord autoharp and two Taisho Koto's used in performing Robert Wyatt's 'Alifib'

Monday, August 10, 2009

Grade by Grade

Grade by Grade

Chrome Molybdenum
Was my first metallurgy lesson
Someone stuffed and loaded
A gilded craft to get to heaven

Grade by Grade
Grade by Grade
Grade by Grade

How long! How long?
How long! How long?
Before I put my moon boots on?
How long? How....

Grade by Grade

Images taken from "Future World" by Peter Goodwin 1979

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Other Lars

I have always reached some sort of impasse during recording and instinctively started pissing about with odd instruments and various other strategies to try un-paint myself out of a corner of my own design.

Complete and utter mistrust in all things Eno have prevented me from even considering using his self styled set of studio tarot cards. On the other hand, my often blind admiration of all things Von Trier made me think a bit about his Dogme 95 rules for film making and how they may better suit the purposes of music making and recording.

I suspected that they would certainly be a lot more pragmatic than the annoying self help guide for bored multi millionaires on their day off from saving the planet.

So here are the original Dogme 95 rules with a hopefully analogous rule for recording:

(This is a work in progress)

1. Filming must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).

Recording to be done on location. If a particular instrument (eg. piano) is necessary, a location must be chosen where this instrument is found

What are we trying to accomplish here? We really want to get on with the job don't we? If you want to record in a castle so you can hammer on the portcullis then it would be wise for it to be quite an important part of the song and album. Lugging a pipe organ into the castle to then do overdubs is not an option here.

Band most likely to suffer under these constraints: Led Zeppelin

2. The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being filmed).

Consideration must be taken when overdubbing. Artificial (electronic) backdrops to be added as an afterthought is forbidden unless 'played' live as an additional instrument

I would stop short of outlawing multi-tracking and insisting that everything should be recorded once with all instruments played together recorded by a single stereo or mono microphone.

We're not trying to record live albums here as that would be like filming a play (Dogville?) although one could well argue that listening to a live album beats the socks off watching a filmed play.

3. The camera must be a hand-held camera. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. (The film must not take place where the camera is standing; filming must take place where the action takes place.)

Microphone placement should be limited to within reasonable range of the instruments being captured so as to obtain a fair balance between direct sound and more ambient sound signal.

This rule is a little vague. I think we should be all for using the natural reverbs of the environment unless after three hours of searching you decide to capture the sound of the piano from within the kettle in the next room. C'mon! Hit record!

4. The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).

The use of effects to color the natural sound in such a way as to render it unrecognizable is forbidden

So many people would be left sound-less to adhere to this rule. Sorry Fennesz.

5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.

Post processing of audio is forbidden. Artificial reverbs are not allowed. Natural rooms acoustics should be utilized if any. Rules 4 and 5 are pretty similar.

Audio engineer friends always repeat the adage: “If it sounds good it is good” this should said after you have listened to the sound coming from the instrument through the microphone and out of your speakers. Not several days and effects processors later.

6. The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)

Superficial sound that merely colors or decorates a piece of music should be avoided.

Sorry Brian.

7. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)

How long and hard did you hunt for that harpsichord and what are you going to do with it?

Lyrical themes should relate to a plausible present - again stopping short of exclusively non-fictional themes

Yup, let’s hear it for the overwrought confessional.

8. Genre movies are not acceptable.

Pure pastiche is forbidden. Genre contrivances unless the musicians operate from a particular idiom should be avoided. See the bit about the harpsichord ... hmm and the castle.

Sorry Beck.

9. The final picture must be transferred to the Academy 35mm film, with an aspect ratio of 4:3, that is, not widescreen. (Originally, the requirement was that the film had to be filmed on Academy 35mm film, but the rule was relaxed to allow low-budget productions.)

Ok, we're going to be rigid here. Final mastering should be to magnetic tape.

This way you will have a real 'permanent record' of the final product.

10. The director must not be credited.

The producer must not be credited

Yes Brian - this ones for you.

I think what I like most of all about Dogme 95 is the confession that often appears in the film credits. This is where the director discusses and explains his/her transgressions. This doesn’t disqualify the film from being considered a Dogme 95 film - very few have adhered 100% to the rules. It has, however, resulted in a number of amazing films.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mysterious Object at Noon

Filmed on grainy black and white 16mm, Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul's 'Mysterious Object at Noon' is part documentary and part stream of consciousness experimental cut-up involving chance narratives and "exquisite corpse" methods used to string together a plot.

And it is this plot, rambling, yet enthusiastically told by various local Thai people who one would neither call amateur actors nor subjects of a documentary, that serves as a springboard into one's own subconscious and unconsciousness. An almost infinite number of departure points are served up in this manner, ranging from a tantalizing negative space between adjacent leaves on a tree to a hauntingly naïve performance on a bamboo reed mouth organ. There is a sense of a very personalized travelogue or a release on the Sublime Frequencies record label made visible.