Posts Tagged ‘Rick Jensen’

“Stories and Songs” (Folk Album, 2005)

Friday, December 9th, 2005

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Country/folk album recorded at various times and places between 2002 and 2005. Robyn E. Kenealy sings on The King and Maybelle. Dean Brown (a.k.a. Lil’ Skull) produced You Be Welcome and Way Over Yonder, and played percussion on Way Over Yonder. Rick Jensen recorded Dirty Old Townes live in his lounge. Everything else played and written by Dick Whyte and his Golden Guitar. Includes tributes to both Townes van Zandt and John Fahey. Download the full album for free (in flac or high quality mp3) from Bandcamp.

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“Memphis” (Digital Painting/Album Cover, 2007)

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

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“There is no history to tell us of the beginnings of Memphis, only legend. It’s legendary founder, Menes, may have been one or several of the shadowy figures whose identity has never been established. Menes however… has been acknowledged through the centuries as the first ruler of Egypt. Before his time, the country was divided into Upper and Lower Egypt, each separate and distinct from the other and largely made up of independent kingdoms. Menes united these into one undivided Egypt.” (Marion Teena Dimick, Memphis: City of the White Wall)

This image was later used as the cover for the third Nova Scotia album Memphis (Ikuisuus Records, 2008). Nova Scotia are an experimental noise band from New Zealand comprised of Rick Jensen, Dean Brown and Dick Whyte (also featuring a guest performance by Antony Milton on this recording). Click here to listen to excerpts from the album. Find out more about Nova Scotia.

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“‘Memphis’ is a consistently flowing top-shelf example of how electronic and acoustic sources work together in improvised music today. It’s nearly impossible to not mention the classic example of AMM’s pioneering work in this field or the more contemporary efforts of Evan Parker’s group settings, even if Jensen’s reed work owes more to someone like Jon Butcher. The interplay between Jensen’s multiphonics and ornamental work and the brass-playing on the opening track is almost Scelsi-like amidst the drones and looped sounds from Whyte’s guitar and the other subtle sonics. Some truly sublime and captivating music. “Rosetta Stone Paperweight” features more feedback and the sort of scraped sound aesthetic found on “AMMusic” circa 1969, but perhaps with a more sensitive set of ears. This is not improvised music of reckless abandon, but carefully crafted abstract soundscapes of the most deliberate nature. The dynamic interplay gets a bit sloppy in moments but really exposes how in touch these cats are with one another in the moment.” (Heathen Harvest)

“The recordings were done at 2 seperate gigs at Photospace Gallery in Wellington, NZ. I exhibited at the gallery twice and we began performing there quite often (the owner even played drums for my group The Rick Jensen Trio). Nova Scotia played a number of times there as the environment was particularly suited to us, outside was the main street in Wellington, where everyone would go drinking at night. It was all nightclubs and bars, buskers and drunk people. When we performed we’d open the windows and use any street sound that came through and integrate it into our performance. For the track that features Antony, we played a gig with him and then invited him to join us, it turned out to be an unusual song. All of the performances we did at Photospace had a particular feel to them, and we certainly developed our sound a lot with these gigs. There’s not a lot more to say about them, at this point we were using many homemade instruments, broken electronics, 4 tracks, and anything we had at hand. This album represents a highly experimental period for us and shows the way we were going at the time.” (Rick Jensen)

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“Wayfarer Gallery Presents: A Festiva of Enjoyment” (Enjoy Gallery, Wellington, 2002)

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

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In December 2002 I was offered a three week show at Enjoy Gallery. In response to this I installed my entire lounge into the gallery, including chairs and couches, a desk, a stereo, bookshelves, my home computer, a coffee table, the Wayfarer Library (a collection of more than 500 books which operated as a library for a number of local artists which normally resided at my house), the Wayfarer Gallery (my personal art collection, including drawings, paintings, sculptures and photographs by local artists), a number of local self-published mini-comics, artist’s journals and workbooks and a collection of unreleased cassettes and CDs by a variety Wellington experimental musicians (many of them recorded in my lounge).

In addition to the installation there were performances every night including a punk rock evening (featuring The Smokers and Brother Love), a free jazz evening (featuring Rick Jensen and Jeff Henderson), a noise evening (featuring Nova Scotia and Antony Milton), a theatre evening (featuring plays by Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett, directed by myself and performed by Colin Hodson and Diane McAllen), a performance-art evening (featuring Tao Wells and Rubber Banana) and a mini-film-festival (featuring films by Campbell Walker, Colin Hodson, Tim Wyborn, Alex Greenhough and Dick Whyte). I also slept in the gallery for the duration on a fold out couch. Unfortunately most of the documentation of the exhibition has been lost, although a few photos remain (thanks to the Enjoy Gallery archives).

Two years later I exhibited a reworked version of these ideas as part of the Tao Wells installation Winning Teacher (Art Space, 2004), titled Wayfarer Gallery Presents: The Successful Organisation of Space for the Modern Artist.

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“An Elvis Presley cloth adorns the doorway to the main gallery where snapshots, paintings, photos and workbooks festoon the space. Coffee tables, sofas and bookshelves contain Hemingway to Burroughs to a typing manual… The free jazz playing is great. It sounds like people improvising live. But the workbooks were, for me, the most interesting part of the exhibition. [Toon]’s particularly showed an aesthetic and poetic sensibility I enjoyed. One page is a list of clichés, another quotes from ‘portrait of the artist as a young man’, contrasted on another page against an ink drawing of ‘the way swedish people have sex’. I’ll say no more, take a look. Robyn Kenealy’s workbook was in a different style, with letters and notes from friends, and an obsession with images and quotes from Bob Dylan turning into an infatuation with Milla Jovavich.” (review by Emma Jean, read more)

Unfortunately the reviewer chose to focus on the artworks in the room and failed to engage with the installation as a relational performance. This was a common response to the show (by critics and curators). The focus was placed on individual artworks, as if I were simply the curator of the show, while the installation aspects and my role as a performer in the space were largely ignored.

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“Art, the closest function. Our closest concept to serendipity and truth, her lover, artifice. Art is our last ditch attempt at understanding perfection (cease the AESTHETIC) at battle with the great paradox, both called by name ARTIFICE. All construction. To see, at last, the human struggle as meaningless, as worthless. To strip the collective ego, the human god complex and see instead. Personal faith, accepting belief in the face of nothingness. Opening to serendipity, chance emotion. Upon rendering ourselves worthless the ideas of ego as comparable are useless. The ego becomes free to believe in ART.” (proposal excerpt)

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A semi-complete list of the artists who appeared in the Wayfarer Gallery: Andy Chappell, Rick Jensen, Tim Wyborn, Jaime Mellor, Michelle Jensen, Alexander Greenhough, Campbell Walker, Mark Whyte, Nia Robyn, Erica Lowe, Hamish Clayton, Toon, Smiley, Sam Stephens, Daniel Cleveland, Mardi Potter, Diane McAllen, Liz Kane, Rob Groat, Colin Hodson, Alistair Cuthill, Glory-Road Topham, Aaron Hilton, Steve Dean, Dean Brown, Dave Edwards, Tao Wells, Amber Johnson, Henry Feltham, Sarah Parton, Norman Levido, Mika, Dane Taylor, Michael Dennehy, Grace Russell, Louise Clifton, Atreus, Leo Prince, Campbell Kneale, Elric Kane, Robyn Kenealy, Fats Valliant, Jeff Henderson.

Special thanks to Robyn Kenealy who was central to the performance/installation and Tao Wells who convinced me to put in the proposal.

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“Projections” (curated by Tim Wyborn, Enjoy Gallery, Wellington, 2002)

Monday, February 21st, 2011

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Projections was an exhibition involving nine artists [Rick Jensen, Nikki Deeley, Jason O’Dea, Devon Damonte, Dick Whyte, Andy Chappell and Tim Wyborn], working with slide projectors as their medium… The projectors all blew up on the opening night, and one of them refused to stay in sequence during the exhibition, but I didn’t really mind. In fact, I appreciate this because it made the audience more aware of the technology… Projections on walls are a simple idea, but when it comes to actually making it happen, it’s a real bastard. So seeing as the exhibition series was supposed to be about curative acts, I felt that it was good to expose the public to the mechanics of the exhibition.” (Tim Wyborn, curator’s statement)

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“Many of the images are of singular artworks, and are interesting in themselves, but remain a showcase, much like a portfolio of work. Other slides actually use the material as their medium, constructing an image within itself. These I appreciate as they conflict with the other, singular artwork showpieces, more ethereal in nature. Richard Whyte’s mound-like creations [see below] juxtaposed with Nikki Deeley’s artworks for example. They jar the senses; this is stimulating in itself to have so much difference so quickly. Each slide holds fascination in itself. Slightly frustrating, I want to climb in and see the scale, size and texture of Nikki’s artworks. Richard’s, I can view for the painterly quality, and refer to formal attributes in their actuality experiential qualities such as scale, visual texture, collision with other slides that are his on opposite walls.” (review by Kate Kelly, read more)

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Sadly, Tim died on January 2, 2003. He was a dear friend of mine and is remembered with love by his family, friends and the Wellington art community.

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REISSUE: “Revolt Of Capricorn” (Nova Scotia, CD, 2009/2012)

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

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Fourth album by electroacoustic improvisers Nova Scotia (Dean Brown, Rick Jensen, Dick Whyte). Originally released on the independent label Nezvanova Nova this album was unavailable pretty much as soon as it came out. Finally, thanks to the beauty of Bandcamp, it’s in print again for the first time in two years. And while I may be slightly bias, this album is one of my favorite Nova Scotia releases so it makes me especially happy to see it reissued digitally. Find out more about Nova Scotia on the weirdly comprehensive H-Town Wiki.

Liner Notes: Track 2, 3 and 4 recorded at the Photospace Gallery in Wellington on 16/07/03. Track 5 recorded during the 2002 Lines of Flight festival at Arc Cafe in Dunedin on 29/09/02. Track 6 recorded at the Photospace Gallery on 17/12/05. Who knows what instruments we’re all playing – but I can hear horns, harmonicas, bells, tape loops, acoustic guitar and radios, among other things.

“Clearly, the practice of employing geographical themes in band designations has produced largely dubious outcomes (e.g. Asia, Boston, Chicago, America, Kansas, Berlin, Danzig, Hanoi Rocks, etc.). Also personally, I regard naming anything after anything to do with the frozen wasteland otherwise known as Canada to be a questionable aesthetic move. This is just my prejudice. I firmly believe that America has been watching the wrong border for far too long. But that’s another discussion. The music of Nova Scotia, however, has got enough swank to make me forgive any misgivings about their moniker. For those who thrive on other band comparisons, their m.o. could be described as the Animacathedral Lab Technicians Orchestra of Admittance. This is not, however, to imply that these folks smartly rip off obscure bands whilst most stupidly rip off well-known bands. No, if you dig the four outfits I just referred to, you’ll be happy to shovel this dirt too. Sparse, ramshackle drug shuffle that fuses kooky “ethnic” influences and improv abstractions with aplomb.” (Reid Gilchrist, from a review of the 2002 Lines of Flight Festival)

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