Thursday 20 June 2019, 7.30pm
Delighted to host the first ever London show for the pioneering French composer and producer, Ariel Kalma.
Born in France but rarely in one place for long, Ariel Kalma’s 1970s migrations took flight through the decade’s furthest spaces of musical and spiritual invention. As a hired horn for well-known French groups, the young musician toured as far as India in 1972, a place where Kalma found an antidote to rock n’ roll’s glitz and glamour in sacred music traditions. Kalma would later return to India and learn circular breathing techniques enabling him to sustain notes without pause against tape-looping harmonies configured through his homemade effects units.
Those effects evolved from Kalma’s loyalty to a beloved dual ReVox set-up— two tape machines “chained” together to form a primitive delay unit. Over looped saxophone melodies, Kalma would mix in all shades of polyphonic color, synthesizing fragments of poetry with ambient space or setting modal flute melodies to rippling drum machine patterns and starlit field recordings. The results collapse distinctions between “electro-acoustic”, “biomusicology” and “ambient” categorization.
In France during the mid-1970s, Kalma was staffed as a technician at Pierre Henry’s legendary Institut National Audiovisuel, Groupe de Recherches Musicales (INA GRM) studios – the same music concréte laboratory that spawned masterpieces by members Luc Ferrari, Iannis Xenakis, and Bernard Parmegiani. Like his predecessors and colleagues at INA GRM, Kalma’s relationship to sound was both formal and non-hierarchical. To Kalma, all music existed as universal patterns, in perfect harmony with the people, places and environments it was created.
Alexander Tucker is capable of creating immense sounds on such a grand scale that it is astounding to realize that it is (mostly) all the work of just one man. He is one of Britain’s most forward-thinking songwriters and sound sculptors. Whether through collaborative work with Imbogodom, Grumblin Fur, Sunn O)))'s Stephen O'Malley (and countless others) or through his solo projects that survey drone to folk ballads, his is an unusual talent.
His early work in hardcore band Suction (which took its musical influences from Swans and Fugazi, Tucker says) provided a template for the kind of sound he would start to explore throughout the 90s: noisy, punky and arresting. However, perhaps it is his own take on music that is most thrilling; his fascination with improvised sound and field recordings are a huge part of his soundscapes, along with tape loops, cello, mandolin, FX pedals and, at one point, the hum of the trains that were part of his domestic soundscape while he lived above Warren Street station.
From his early teens Tucker had concurrently been developing his interest in improvisation and experimental soundscapes, using detuned guitars, tape loops, field recordings and electronics. In early 2000 he recorded his first solo self-titled album of acoustic finger-picking, experimental electronics and spooked vocals, released on Jackie O Motherfuckers U-Sound Archives label.
Tucker went then on to combine compositional song structures, drones, layered vocals and improvisations on his 2005 album “Old Fog”, released on ATP Recordings. This collection of spectral moods, eerie landscapes and fragile emotions was followed by “Furrowed Brow”(2006) and Portal (2008). 2011 saw the release of “Dorwytch” the first for Thrill Jockey Records followed by “Third Mouth” in 2012.
The unknown explored in his visual art is adventurously traveled on “Don’t Look Away” (Thrill Jockey, 2018); the music, lyrics, and artwork all work in tandem to conjure a universe that feels as fantastical, and mysterious as it does familiar and warm.
While a new studio album is scheduled to be released in august 2019 (via Thrill Jockey), Alexander is working on a new modular set up, layering mutant beats and electronic noise sequences, a modular project the artist refers to as Alexander Tucker presents MICROCORPS.