The Original Swimming Party sets forth


In early May I performed an improvised ambient show to a classroom full of drawing students at Michaelis, which is part of the University of Cape Town. They drew, we improvised / made noises. I performed the show with the crafty fellows Thomas Glendinning and Greg Abrahams.

Some of it was very pretty, some was quite abstract and noisy. Here’s the initial 10 minutes. Pretty relaxing. You’ll hear lots of pens and pencils darting across paper, plus the sounds we’re making. It ends as we head into the second movement, which was more noise based. At that point Thomas had drawn one of Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards which said the following: “You are an Engineer”. (PS re Oblique Strategies, there’s a great iPhone app for this).

Here’s a wee excerpt of a noisy bit from later…

Ethermachines Part 1

Ben Frost chillin


It’s Ben Frost time.

I particularly like this modern composer. Sometimes minimalist, sometimes ambient, sometimes very noisy, and always very sculpted.

So I think I’ll investigate him a bit further today.

I just bought the album SÓLARIS, by Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason. I’m on track 2, Simulacra I, and it’s brilliant. Exceptionally subtle, it’s using very delicate detuning and what sounds like ring modulation.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Who is Ben Frost? I first encountered him via his album By The Throat. It’s first track is Killshot, which is very intense and got my attention. Find out more about him on Wiki. Thereafter I went back and got his two earlier albums Theory of Machines and Steel Wound. I think there’s a definite progression and finessing in his work over time, but it’s definitely worth following his whole journey album by album.

Later on in By The Throat he does a 180 degree turn and produces repetitive, minimalist beauty like ‘Leo Needs A New Pair Of Shoes’. See him do this live at the Greenhouse Studios in Iceland. This is phenomenal.

You can buy his stuff from bandcamp at around 10 Euros per album.

I’m on track six of SÓLARIS, called Cruel Miracles. It’s exquisite and subtle strings, piano, timpani style percussion and perfectly curated ambiences.

Not everyone’s cuppa tea.

In honour of him I have taken a Ben Frost style “jus chillin with my beard” pic for you:

Chillin like Ben Frost