Sunday, 17 June 2007


Spent the last week at Carriageworks with the most amazing bunch of audiovisual artists as part of Gail Priest and Sam James curated project Immersion: Electric Empathy. A week long residency where we sort of set up a temporary band rehearsal structure which I loved - getting together with an incredibly strong contingent of artists who know their stuff, know how to dive straight into explorations of sound and image. My sound work was predominantly made in collaboration with Sam, but also had the distinct opportunity to improvise with Peter Newman, whose work I want to marry (is it possible to marry an artwork? surely it would be easier that trying to bypass the gay marriage laws? or would it be seen as an act of terror?). Dubbed 'an exploration of the audiovisual subconscious', all the material resonated strongly (for me) with the recent violent storms in NSW. A kind of blissful and overwhelming sense of drowning has been the theme carried by the experience of being in this place for the past 3 weeks (I also spent a week working on electronic sound design material and live audio with Belgian choreographer, Hans van den Broeck, too - on the development of the Settlement project). Sydney-siders had assured me they'd 'never seen weather like this' and so the whole experience of literally not being able to go outside for fear of being blown onto the road and killed was palpable. The rain kept falling and all 7 Immersion artists were encased in the ice-box studio at Carriageworks, planning and rehearsing two 45 minute 'sets' which we then performed over 2 nights, 50 people per night.

As a residency, the 7 of us found ways to work with each other, to be sensitive to the aesthetic choices we each made, to find ways into each others sounds and visuals, to really explore what it means to match the sonic and cinematic without compromising one or the other.

As a residency, I hope it happens again.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Keith Blueboy

Very sad news today from Richard Preece...



Dear Friends

It is with immense sadness that I write to inform you that my dearest friend Keith Girdler died on May 15th 2007. Keith passed away peacefully after a recent deterioration in his condition - he was diagnosed with cancer in July 2004. Keith was a truly special person and I know that many people will hold very fond memories of their time spent in his company. Keith is survived by his partner, his siblings and their families. We are all devastated at the tragic loss of Keith and we will miss him enormously.

Keith was known to many as the singer in Blueboy - a brilliant band who are still seen as influential many years since they last released a record. He was a gifted songwriter and he had a beautiful voice. I considered Keith to be not only my best friend but an amazingly talented person. It was a huge privilege to know him. Despite continuing to release records with his other groups Arabesque, Beaumont, Lovejoy and The Snowdrops, Keith's focus shifted away from music in recent years. He enjoyed a successful career, first by training as a qualified social worker and then developing a skilled role as Volunteer Services Manager for Age Concern Eastbourne. He was passionate about his work and the need to stand up for some of the most vulnerable elderly people in our society. Keith was exteremly brave and he continued in his work for as long as possible during his illness. I know that Keith was very highly regarded by his colleagues and the people for whom he provided care and
support in his work. He was a selfless and gentle person who genuinely affected everyone he knew with his warmth, kindness, humility and humour.

Keith wanted to be remembered, to use his own words, with 'happiness and smiles' - which for those of us fortunate enough to have known him, will come all too easily despite our grief.

Words cannot really come close to describing the feelings we have about Keith. However, I know that many people will want to express their sorrow at this news and their sympathy to his family and friends. If you would like to send a message of condolence, or share your memories of Keith, please send an email to:

Messages and tributes to Keith will be published online in the near future, when a suitable web location has been established.

Richard Preece
May 2007

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

the banging of doors

I've been writing and responding a lot since I saw / experienced the new David Lynch film "Inland Empire". When I say 'film', perhaps I mean 'shock to the system'. When I say 'system', well, perhaps I mean 'system that breaks down'. I am in love with Lynch. It was an even more intense love to hear his sound compositions in this new work. The film, made entirely on high definition video, is therefore not a film, a kind of grainy nightmare (when has one ever been clear?). Broken mirrors and cut skin. His sounds penetrate the skin, rattle the bones. Like a stab from screw-driver and that's giving nothing away but gives you some idea. As a musician who is also a sound artist who is also a filmmaker who makes sound for film, well Lynch, you've done it again. He seems to enter my life at all the right times. In the way that Mullholland Drive defined a certain period of my practice and made me feel like it was worth it. In the way, strangely still, that Twin Peaks meant that TV was not dead after all (Buffy, Unit One, Jaaam - actually all Chris Morris, Nighty Night and Veronica Mars have come to the rescue since). Chris Morris too, with his intense audio assaults and sedative loops. Lynch lulls you there too, in Inland Empire. Noone uses sub frequencies to such disturbing and unpredictable effect like Lynch. He knows the effect image and sound coalition can have. It's not about emotion but about a pure visceral experience. He won't let this be an easy experience for anyone. He reminds us that the world rumbles with discontent and that earth is spinning out of control. He reminds us that our heads are full of noise and un/sub-conscious horror scenes. Last night I 'dreamt' that somebody loved me. Last night I 'dreamt' that a gun was being aimed at me but I couldn't move. This morning I woke up with a start.

Friday, 27 April 2007

In Brussels...

Caught at a door cross-roads at Gare de Midi (South Station in Brussels). I like this image as it sort of describes my current state of in-between-ness. Being of part-Dutch, part-angloAustralian origin, I really feel the connection to Brussels (especially the Flemish part). One door open (SPILL Festival, London), one door shut/blocked (where to go now?). Brussels seems like a transition place but also very much a consideration of where to live, where to place myself. This has been an ongoing question since I left Australia in 1999. 8 years of not feeling connected to the place I thought was home, was it Canada? Was it in the US (no way!)? And then always knowing that Europe (probably western and not surprisingly perhaps) would be that place. Looking at all the nederlandse around me and the signposts (literally and figuratively) I become comfortable with it. Speaking with the Flemish in Antwerp and knowing that I am understood. Listening to the street sounds and conversations, the noises of the Metro, the boys at Nadine (again, a Flemish post) - funny how I have found myself in places not-so French. Recognising the language and only a little way from Holland. It could be so easy to stay in Brussels despite money. I know there is a community here. And I know to be in proximity to the UK is also important for me. I want to speak Dutch, if not Flemish. Start with Dutch. Learn my mother's tongue. Don't be afraid to lose English (like speaking with a hot potatoe in one's mouth). Don't be afraid of the potential of love away from home (my husband is not in Australia). Making tiny recordings in Antwerp last night, I know that my compositional thread is far across the seas.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

A Different Handwriting

The new Pretty Boy Crossover record is on it's way - to be released on Sensory/Inertia in July 2007 - under the name of "A Different Handwriting". I guess this album is very much a turning point for Cailan and I - but when is an album not some kind of transition? We work quite slowly so there's always going to be the space of contemplation - as we've been working together for 10 years now, I think we're both getting closer and closer to finding that matching point of our influences finding their settling in the sounds. That said, this record really traces more of those glitch beats meets sub-tone mini-korg bass lines with some very shoegazey guitar - and with the age we are, hey, we grew up with the delicate and melodic-nasty sounds of early MBV and my favourites, Pale Saints. So, there we go. And on this record is our ongoing collaboration with Vincent Giarrusso - also from one of our favourite and all-time Australian influences, Underground Lovers. We have also made a rock-pop album with him too - under the guise. Look out for that on Popfrenzy around the same time... x Jase

Friday, 9 February 2007

The Last To See Them Alive: Sex, Slaughter & the City

Currently presenting the first 'in-progress showings' of our Unreasonable Adults work - THE LAST TO SEE THEM ALIVE: Sex, Slaughter & the City - at Higher Ground, Rundle Street in Adelaide. The work takes the premise: "How do you meet Mr Right in an age of Serial Killers?". Using an electronic and piano-based score, monologue texts, live video feeds and some messed up theatrical conventions, this work is part lecture, part dark cabaret, part confession. Texts by Fiona Sprott, Performance by Caroline Daish. The music and sounds all by me. Come along.

After this season we tour to Sydney for another 'in progress' event at The Studio (Sydney Opera House) - then we will go into intensive rehearsals for the development of the work as an ensemble piece to be world premiered in the UK for our participation in the SPILL Festival of Performance in London in April.

The final work will feature a full ensemble of Caroline Daish, Jason Sweeney, Fiona Sprott and Julie Vulcan.

Wednesday, 31 January 2007


A couple of weekends ago I conducted (is that right word? it certainly sonically inclined, definitely musical) a 'sound art' workshop which I called Playing Out: Making Sound Work. An amazing bunch of 10 artists (plus the glorious presence of Tristan L-R on the second day which nearly brought audible tears to me eyes) who came to the workshop with some or no prior experience of working with sound. So for me it was an incredible opportunity to explore without too much construct, without that level of imposed practice (which doesn't always make (for) perfect (workshops)). In fact, what I love about conducting (watch me keep using this word) such a thing (cos it was one, a thing) was the very nature of "play" and open space: space to be tasked and to get one with it.

The task based exercises ranged from taking objects/books/cds/vinyl/little toys from a long table and being given a relatively short space of time to 'compose' a piece, often being instructed to use no more than 1 or 2 instruments devices. Another task was to confront the instrument you fear the most and make it friendly with one you feel more comfortable with. Just a way to make do and make sound. For there was an objective not to too complex about it; to remain simple in idea and realisation; to pursue a thought in a way that doesn't need an over-abundance of 'stuff'.

In essence, the 10 hours we all had to develop ideas (a lot of duos, which I enjoyed, and plenty of solo space too) were a starting point and the crucial element of documentation was there. A CD of 75 minutes duration was made at the end of the second day, comprising recordings (made on a wav recorder) of all the performed pieces. It's a great listen and one I hope the participants really love having in their collections. Like many of these kind of events (or workshops), conducting them/shaping them/guiding a process becomes a curatorial action in progress - a building of ideas that eventuate in an accidental concert of passing bodies.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

I did it for Tristan

I sort of set this up so I could link in to Tristan Louth-Robin's blogspot... No. Really.

Anyhow - I will try to embed this in my website so it's easier to access.

Watch me go.