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about

EC Split 11
by Walter Wright and Michael Thomas Jackson
an Electronic Cottage release

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Walter Wright

1. Surface Tension (30:00)
Board Weevil, contact mics, objects, AVSynth

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Michael Thomas Jackson

2. Brained By Errant Plastic (3rd ) – completed September 19 2020 14:33)

This work-in-progress was conceived of, and recorded during, the month of January 2017. The idea is that the fundamental material be subjected to a sort of generational degradation by means of processing, media transfer, amplified performance, or any combination thereof. This material was culled from phonograph and compact disk sources with no regard for copyright infringement (and I offer no apologies to the Marshfilm Enterprises, Inc., as their apparent opinions on labor, drug use, and ‘getting off on the right foot’ differ wildly from mine).
The first performance was the following month at the Winston-Salem, NC, USA, venue Test Pattern. It was a lively and rather crowded venue, which prompted me to perform the material at the maximum volume that was allowed (I was using the ‘house’ sound system). Split into two stereo tracks, the material was subjected to live independent waveform clipping and various editing/mixing techniques that degraded the material and hopefully made for an enjoyable listening experience. It is never my intention to antagonize anyone (unless, you know…).
For the current version, I am using as a mix template a digital image provided to me by Walter Wright. Something about this image is evocative of this work that I otherwise have not even thought about in over three years. There’s no distortion this time around and that basic material should be a bit more comprehensible which hopefully conveys a certain ridiculousness about consumer culture. I have a difficult time conveying my political beliefs through what seems to be abstract music, but believe me this is the most wretched and disturbing that my native country (USA) has been in my lifetime of 50 years; and I thought that in the mid-late 1980s as well. Plastic to me is, at least symbolically, anti-everything. Avoid it. Fight it. Love in spite of it! It is our medium.

3. Play misty For Me – completed September 28 2020 (04:05)

Misty pastels…pinks…purples…plunderphonics. Two turntables & a microphone. Quotidian ear pollution. If you don’t like the effects, don’t produce the cause…and no one gives a fuck that you like pina coladas or screwing on the beach. Do not stop until you get enough music into gold. Is Walter right?
(a SKOWEYAJEED production)

4. 8136 – completed September 26 2020 (11:06)

On the first anniversary of the passing of Ann Mallett comes this study of an interval in various settings from just a few voices. A slightly flatted major third (almost just?) intoned by human voice, B flat clarinet and two synthesizers combine with the incidental noise of home at Knexiho Studio in Winston-Salem, NC, USA, and the location near Reynolda Gardens where her ashes were scattered in the same city.
It was more than a privilege to live with and help care for Ann. Even as her dementia grew worse, we could still find topics about which to laugh and ridicule, as she loathed the last president elect of her lifetime and my cooking is often mediocre. She adored her great-grandson and at least most of our pets. She wasn’t crazy about my music, but was fascinated by my clarinet practicing and how I laid out manuscript paper all over the dining room table in between meals.
Every culture has a third of some shape close to this one; it’s the calling home…it’s comfort I suppose. I’ve used it horizontally for decades, so here I’ve decided to employ it vertically and yes very sloppily, keeping the environmental sounds as relevant and the microtonal nuances as I do.
To help organize the various recordings I consulted the I-Wright-Ching using only Walter-sided coins. It is dedicated to Ann’s direct descendants Geni, Kathleen and Jackson. Love.

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Review by author Jerry Kranitz:

Walter Wright uses Board Weevil, contact mics, objects, and AVSynth to create his single 30-minute piece titled ‘Surface Tension’. (I had to Google Board Weevil to learn that it’s a cool little device for making fun sounds.)

Throughout ‘Surface Tension’ Walter scratches, scrapes and clangs, creating a noisy yet ambient, freeform yet seamless flow. I like the parts where scraping, breathy percussion combines with quirky electronic effects. There’s also a segment where a horn-like melody meanders lazily, along with occasional electronic blasts and feedback, anchored by energetic scraping percussion. It feels like noisy audio-art meets free-jazz. Other parts get more spacey, screechy and frenetically intense, as the glom of scraping noisy percussion creates a kind of scampering rhythmic flow. And there are backwards or looped sounding effects that inject a disorienting psychedelic vibe. I like it.

I am well acquainted with Michael Thomas Jackson’s resume. Mike provides detailed notes for each of his three tracks, which I urge you to read while listening on the Bandcamp page.

‘Brained By Errant Plastic’ started life as a live performance in 2017. It’s a busy collage of samples taken from, as Mike explains, “phonograph and compact disk sources with no regards to copyright infringement” (atta boy Mike!!!). Various voice samples are played at normal, chipmunk speeds, and everywhere in between, with a musical accompaniment of damaged string melody and other electronic embellishment. It’s like an acid trip in overdrive listening to a dozen news programs simultaneously, few of which are communicating much of anything, and gets pretty crazy/fun/humorous. It’s a darn good collage work and has the same sense of seamless flow that I experienced with Walter’s track.

On ‘Play Misty for Me’ Mike gets even more gnarly with the tape speeds, and the voices and music are made considerably more delirious by some precision cut-up work. (I don’t like pina coladas either Mike so if we ever meet up, IPAs on me!)

‘8136’ is deeply personal, inspired by the loss of a loved one, and is different from Mike’s first two tracks. It much more stripped down and sparse, being mostly quiet and with minimal activity. We hear droney chant singing (normal speed), synth and clarinet notes, miscellaneous sounds… like Mike’s own ode to the departed.

Another strategic EC Split pairing!

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released October 10, 2020

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