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Deep Dive #15 – Anthony Pateras/Erkki Veltheim “Duos for Other Instruments” CD

Erkki Veltheim is a composer, sound artist and string player whose music goes to deep places between notes, drawing out whole sonic worlds out of minimal musical materials. His recorded work features across a number of releases stocked by Shame File music, largely as a collaborator and contributor to the work of others, yet a couple of releases feature more-than-substantial contributions.

Veltheim has released three CDs in duo with Anthony Pateras, the standout for me being the most recent “Duos For Other Instruments”. The album features two duos (for viola and celeste, and harpsichord and mandolin respectively) that involve the subtle accumulation of acoustic materials sparking something approaching psycho-acoustic phenomena; is that chiming I’m hearing really there, or is my brain to trying to make sense of the relationship between sounds? It’s a highly recommended, stunning listen from two of Australia’s leading exploratory musician/composers (Veltheim and Pateras’ trio with trumpeter Scott Tinkler – North Of North – also have released two albums of interest).

“Works for Travelled Pianos” features performances by pianist Gabriella Smart of works by Cat Hope and Veltheim. The latter’s “Two New Proposals for an Overland Telegraph Line …” is inspired by the 1st piano to arrive in Alice Springs, Australia, in the 19th century.

Use the code ERKKI for 10% off all Veltheim-related releases (expires 29 June 2022).

As always, free postage for orders within Australia over $100.

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Deep Dive #14 – Moe Chee “Be It Hot, Humid or Ghostly Cold” CD/digital

Moe Chee 默契 is a phrase in Mandarin that has no direct English translation, but can variously be interpreted as ‘silent bonding’, ‘unspoken agreement’, ‘mutual understanding’, ‘tacit’, ‘in sync’. Moe Chee was formed in 2014 by Taiwanese performing artist Chun-liang Liu and myself (Clinton Green) around a series of unauthorised performative actions around the grounds of the State Library of Victoria (including a run of 7 performances over 7 days, featuring a mythical 3am performance). In 2015, we toured Taiwan and recorded our debut album around public spaces and other social situations in Taiwan (plus one recording made in Melbourne). “Be It Hot, Humid, Or Ghostly Cold” is an amalgam of field recording, public space performance, conversation, and explorations of the potential for creativity and musicality in everyday life.

Moe Chee have also released the cassette “Testament of the Trinity”, documenting one of their State Library performances (this one on midnight on a Friday night) in collaboration with Jen Callaway. Chun-liang Liu has also released a solo album on Shame File Music “Friction”. Her second solo album will be released on Shame File Music (on digital and cassette) later this year.

Use the code MOECHEE for 10% off all Moe Chee-related releases (expires 28 June 2022).

As always, free postage for orders within Australia over $100.

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Deep Dive #13 – Carolyn Connors “Surface Noise Vol.9” CDR/digital

Carolyn Connors is a singer, sound artist, performer and composer whose work has excited and challenged Melbourne audiences for a number of years. She continues to collaborate with a range of artists and improvisers, and explore the limits of vocal performance.

“Surface Noise Vol.9” captures a tour de force solo performance at Make It Up Club in 2012; a thrilling and joyous extended vocal performance with occasional slide whistle, staggering in its range and material covered. A rare solo release from Connors, it is shared with a live performance recording by instrument builder Ernie Althoff from 2015.

The Shame File Music shop also features a recent collaborative project with Terry McDermott using software interfaces and the Federation Bells, on the “Music Under Lockdown: Melbourne 2020” compilation, and 1995’s “Chris Mann & the Impediments” CD, where Connors is joined by other luminaries including Mann, Rik Rue and Jeannie Marsh.

Use the code CONNORS for 10% off all Carolyn Connors-related releases (expires 27 June 2022).

As always, free postage for orders within Australia over $100.

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Deep Dive #12 – Ross Manning “Harmonious Angles” LP

Ross Manning is a Brisbane-based sound artist, maker of instruments and kinetic sound sculpture. He uses a variety of machines to create self-playing sculptures that create percussive and texture-based music that is surprisingly deft and humane.

His solo debut “Harmonious Angles” LP is a joyous yet understatedly-intricate sonic outing created in real time via live playback of various recorders (HD, tape and MD) overlaid with live sound events, including field recordings and an assortment of Manning’s own instruments. Evocative of a less-manic (legendary Melbourne outfit) Volvox in its strangeness, the soundworlds created here are intriguing and immensely satisfying.

Shame File Music also stocks other solo releases by Manning on vinyl and CDR in limited quantities. Look out as well for a new album from Manning released by Shame File Music on vinyl early in 2023.

Use the code MANNING for 10% off all Ross Manning releases (expires 27 June 2022).

As always, free postage for orders within Australia over $100.

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Deep Dive #11 – Jenny Barnes “Surface Noise Vol. 6” CDR/digital

While Jenny Barnes may be generally categorised as a singer, she is so much more: performer, improviser, explorer of the limits of language and human sound. Her live performances are something I always try to catch, for Jenny consistently pushes the limits of her practice and seeks out new techniques and performative mindsets.

Volume 6 of the “Surface Noise” series presents a rare gem in a solo, unaccompanied live vocal performance from Jenny Barnes, recorded at Make It  Up Club in 2017. Interpretations of the performance will no doubt differ between listeners, but to my ears I hear Jenny embody an acute emotive psychodrama of language and uttered sound. Personalities emerge in her like spirits and have their desperate say in dialects that cannot be translated, yet resonate on a human level that is both tender and devastating. Surface Noise Vol. 6 is backed up with a live performance from another exploratory vocalist in Alice Hui-Sheng Chang, accompanied by an ensemble of Rosalind Hall, Nigel Brown, David Brown, Tim Catlin and Michael McNab. Barnes also contributes significantly to Jessica L. Wilkinson & Simon Charles’ “Marionette: a biography of Miss Marion Davies” CD.

Use the code BARNES for 10% off all Jenny Barnes-related releases (expires 24 June 2022).

As always, free postage for orders within Australia over $100.

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Deep Dive #10 – Ernie Althoff “Dark By 6” CD

Ernie Althoff is a Melbourne sound artist and instrument maker active in Australian experimental music since the late 1970s. He is unique not only for the original textures and sonic elements he creates, often tempered with wry humour, but also for his practically continuous contribution to and participation in the Melbourne experimental music community for over three decades.

Althoff’s recorded documentation is extensive, and Shame File Music makes available all currently in-print titles plus a range of digital offerings. It’s an impossible task to choose a key work, but I regularly come back to the 2005 “Dark By 6” CD, which documents five of Althoff’s early 2000s installations. These works are sprawling both spatially and musically, incorporating chance operations as overlapping rhythms through his trade mark kinetic sound sculptures, often driven by turntables and cassette players. I love to listen to these recordings and identify particular objects by their sound; for instance, the bell-like aluminium bowls on “The Emergence of Mammals”, which Ernie gifted to me a number of years ago, whose tones I know very well.

Shame File Music also hosts an archive of Althoff’s early cassette releases, as well as his most recent work “Symmetry Marred By Impulse

Use the code ERNIE for 10% off all Ernie Althoff releases (expires 24 June 2022).

As always, free postage for orders within Australia over $100.

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Deep Dive #9 – Jessica Aszodi “Prayer For Nil” 2LP

Jessica Aszodi is justifiably often heralded as the leading soprano in Australian new music, and her stunning debut album is testament to her stunning voice and dedication to the most cutting edge contemporary composition.

Prayer For Nil” is a beautifully-packaged double LP ( with deluxe film-laminated ‘Tip-On’ gatefold jackets) with each side dedicated in full to a work by four of Australia’s most vital contemporary composers: Anthony Pateras, Alexander Garsden, James Rushford and Jeanette Little. The vinyl is spun at 45RPMs to deliver maximum fidelity, and limited to 500 copies. Below is an excerpt from Aszodi’s liner notes on each composition:

In Anthony Pateras’ Prayer for Nil the electronics are a swell of voices so dense they seem inhuman, amassed like a threatening cloud. As the piece unfolds the masses thin to a taper. By its conclusion the solitary singer is left brutally alone, though it’s hard to tell if she wasn’t alone the whole time – every voice in the throng was her own – my own. The ‘live vocal’ part is a highly structured improvisation. Anthony gave me a set of rules, pitches, and rhythms. Within the electronic field, and those restrictions, I had to find an improvisatory freedom. This approach could be seen as a metaphor for the whole process of making the album – the composers and I trying to find ways to understand one another, building a shared understanding of the musical objectives, negotiating varying degrees of control and freedom – and inside this discourse, me trying to find a way to be present in realising the sounds as myself.

In [ja] maser Alexander Garsden deals with very specific relationships between groups of pitches and non-traditional vocal utterances to create cresting swarms of noisy vocality that grow, splinter and re-germinate. In the second half of the piece a more vulnerable voice emerges, broken and crumpled in the low depths of my range. The composer bids me gradually to ascend to the highest extremes of my instrument’s capacity until that too fractures and breaks. [ja] maser, was for me, a physically extreme experience of my own limits and subjection. The musical notation was the most specific and traditional of the four pieces; perhaps surprisingly, the experience of making the sounds was the most embodied and phenomenally intense.

The fabric of wind is the piece in the group that is most overtly inspired by the composer-performer relationship. James’ composed material was conveyed to me though an audio-score, piped point-blank into my ear, rather than via notation. The sounds you hear are a combination of James’ and my voices, and his and my performances on various auxiliary instruments and objects. In the piece, James “attempt(s) to speak a written text whilst being constantly disrupted by various wind instruments and objects that are inserted into my mouth. Some of these recordings are heard within the piece in playback form… Out of this process emerges two inter-connected characters – my own desperate and confused, and Jessica’s more calming yet somewhat stuttered. A deeply intimate conversation of mangled speech and murmured singing results, unclear in meaning but rich in expression.” (Rushford)

In Mechanical Bride, my singing voice represents anima in an automated world. The text comes from Enrico Cavacchioli’s 1914 poem, ‘Let the moon be damned’, in which he describes a decaying environment where humans entwine with machines. The dystopic picture painted in this poem, now 100 years old, still convinces. As I perform this piece, I stage inside myself a battle between flaw-filled human expressivity and savage, ancient machines. Jeanette’s sound world pays homage to an analogue era, referencing mid-century modernist instrumental and electronic techniques in a milieu that is something like a space-western.

Each piece on the record is its own microcosm of unfolding connections, decisions and influences; it feels silly to try to characterise them as a group. If there is a common thread amongst them, it’s that they all push my vocalic body towards its limits. The voice on this record is not the voice of a unified and cogent human person, it’s the mutable voice of someone wailing unrestrained in passionate argument – as people who know each other well are sometimes wont to do.

Use the code ASZODI for 10% off “Prayer For Nil” (expires 22 June 2022).

As always, free postage for orders within Australia over $100.

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Deep Dive #8 – Conlon Nancarrow “Studies For Player Piano” 4CD

American-born composer Conlon Nancarrow spent most of his career working in isoloation in Mexico composing for player pianos (pianolas). His works attempted to go beyond the limits of human performance in pre-electronic music era by using these automated instruments that he adapated over a long period of time. The results are astounding and unique works I’m pretty sure are unlike anything else.

The definitive recording of these works are collected in the “Studies For Player Piano” 4CD set. Originally released on LP by 1750 Arch Records, newly remastered in spectacular sound, it represents the most faithful reproduction of what Conlon Nancarrow heard in his own studio. This is the only available recording utilizing Nancarrow’s original instruments: two 1927 Ampico player pianos, one with metal-covered felt hammers and the other with leather strips on the hammers. Enclosed 52- page booklet contains the original liner notes by James Tenney, an essay by producer Charles Amirkhanian, and 24 illustrations. The studies are presented in their original order, selected by the composer. Essential listening for anyone interested in 20th century music.

Use the code NANCARROW for 10% off Conlon Nancarrow releases (expires 21 June 2022).

As always, free postage for orders within Australia over $100.

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Deep Dive #7 – Overtone Ensemble “2” CD

Tim Catlin formed the Overtone Ensemble in 2012 in order to perform works using his self-made Vibrissa instruments. The Vibrissa includes twelve vertically mounted aluminium rods that are longitudinally stroked with gloved hands to produce ethereal “singing” tones. The long sustaining nature of the rods sound and microtonal tunings allow players a sonic palette of complex textures and harmonic complexity. The Ensemble also features Dave Brown, Philip Brophy and Atticus Bastow.

2” is the Ensemble’s most recent release. The majority of the recordings were done in the Old Chapel building in Melbourne. The chapel, formerly attached to the Old Melbourne Gaol boasts 10 metre high ceilings which added an enveloping acoustic ambience. At times it “felt as though the spectral presences of former inmates were hovering benevolently in the rafters watching on”. A real Metallic K.O.

Use the code OVERTONE for 10% off Overtone Ensemble releases (expires 20 June 2022).

As always, free postage for orders within Australia over $100.

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Deep Dive #6 – DFFDL “Corella” cassette

DFFDL is the ambient drone project of Melbourne sound artist Anthony Cooley. Through static drones, floating layers of hiss and glacially slow ambience, DFFDL creates an undeveloped snapshot of a feeling and lets the listener develop the details inside.

Recorded at the end of 2019 in Melbourne and Tokyo, Corella is the latest release from drone-ambient maker DFFDL. Examining the prison industry and Ararat’s gated prison community Corella Place, this interpretive piece invites you to bear witness to a backdrop of blurring days and nights as you examine the past that led you here and wonder what’s left of the future. An outstanding drone/ambient release. Also available is DFFDL’s 2018 split cassette with ambient/drone project Scenic Recovery.

Use the code DFFDL for 10% off DFFDL-related releases (expires 17 June 2022).

As always, free postage for orders within Australia over $100.