Barnaby Oliver “My Arms Are Hollow Tubes” CD




Barnaby Oliver is a composer and sound artist, born in the UK but now living in Melbourne. His background includes contemporary classical composition, alternative rock, mixed media collaborations, and solo/group improvisation. Amongst his many projects he includes Brenin – a mini-opera for BBC Wales inspired by the mythical Welsh ancestry of Elvis Presley. He has arranged and conducted large group performances, such as “The Wall of E” a 17-player electric guitar ensemble, and a 12 piece band arrangement of the Velvet Underground’s ‘Sister Ray’ for Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Piano, Trumpet, Tenor Sax, Trombone, and Percussion.

His experience and influences are vast, as he delves into sonic textures with intricate glee and precision. As evidenced with both his unique electric guitar and piano skills, in particular his meditative piano, in projects such as his duo work with Clinton Green, and in the band Infinite Decimals. Possibly Melbourne’s answer to The Necks? His works are “arranged to bring attention to the beauty of a refrain, a note or even a moment’s silence”. It is an act of pulling sophisticated sounds via unconventional sources and manners.

My Arms Are Hollow Tubes was recorded at home around 2007. My first child was very young, and so everything had to be done very quietly.

Tracks are mostly solo recordings (with a few duets) made in a single take, using piano, guitar and violin. The material is simple and repetitive, built from small intimate gestures, usually intentional, occasionally accidental, going nowhere. These recordings are layered with combinations of spring reverb and tape echo, often fed back onto themselves to create rich, static or slowly changing, fields of sound – ripples of tiny actions travelling out into the world.

The title is a phrase I had learnt, or perhaps misremembered, from studying Alexander Technique. I’ve tried Googling it but can’t find any reference to it – so possibly I imagined it.

Limited edition of 20 handmade CDs, with a bonus art print by Rosalie Jurczenko. Every 5 prints features a different design.