Penultimate Press

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Penultimate Press

  "The Blue Horse is a beautiful strange journey through a landscape where little is familiar but all are welcome. Made from predominantly acoustic sources, The Blue Horse gracefully hisses, puffs, wheezes, whirls, and clunks it’s way through a series of distinct musical and non musical environments. Sounding both at times like a dark and stormy night… and “an elephant trying to get laid”, the ambiguous style of The Blue Horse conceals the artists’ unsettling, fantastical and quietly humorous sensibility. Whilst The Blue Horse lacks any obvious precursors, it’s elemental and environmental leanings potentially tread a path initially mapped out by Moniek Darge and Godfried-Willem Raes in the works coming out of the Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium in the mid 80’s. The Blue Horse is the debut recording from Sholto Dobie and Mark Harwood and features a guest appearance from cellist Judith Hamann.  Sholto Dobie is an artist and performer born in Edinburgh and living in London. His solo output is marked by live performances that are characteristically delicate, evocative and absurd. He uses his own instruments, crudely assembled from materials such as reeds, whistles, bin bags, fans and air compressors, alongside loose performative structures, to respond to places and situations. He plays in Al Fresco (with Lia Mazzari & Tom White) and regularly collaborates with Ben Pritchard. He has also worked with Ashley Paul. He continues to run the event series Muckle Mouth which he founded in 2014. Mark Harwood is a musician and performer born in Ferntree Gully and living in London. His output veers towards uncanny audio both delicate and unsettling whilst his performances rely on teasing out and playing with the mood embedded within any given environment and audience situation. He has collaborated with Graham Lambkin, Aine O’Dwyer, Timo Van Luijk and MP Hopkins and runs the Penultimate Press label which brings forth this very release." --- “People say he looks blue under the moon”, is what Mhairi told me when I asked her about it. I was walking along the roadside with my partner in the Cabrach, one of the most remote areas in northern Scotland. At a bend in the road, something directed my attention towards the hill and when I looked up I could make out a silvery-blue creature, moving slowly and gracefully, obscured by the trees. It wasn’t clear at first, but I soon clocked that it was a horse and I took a picture of it. Earlier in the day I came across a fairy ring of field blewits, mushrooms otherwise known as blue-legs, so I knew something was up. By the time it was dark (around 4pm in November) we were the only customers in the Grouse Inn, a long-standing middle-of-nowhere tea room and whisky bar, beautifully cared for by Wilma McBain and her daughter Mhairi. Noticing the leather harnesses on display I asked Mhairi about the horse we’d seen earlier in the woods. I was somewhat enchanted just talking about it, and she wasn’t surprised. Later in the evening, we ended up behind the bar in the refrigeration room (where Mhairi paints), she showed us her painting of the blue horse. I didn’t sleep much that night.” – Sholto Dobie, 2019 ---

Mark Harwood & Sholto Dobie – The Blue Horse

Kreuzmusik was commissioned by the Bonner Kunstverein Gallery, Kunstfond, Germany in August 1989, for inclusion in their 'Taking Fluxus Around for a Drive' happening, (also featuring performances by Dieter Daniels, George Maciunas, Allan Kaprow, Al Hansen, Joe Jones and others) and originally issued on cassette in 1990 by Neue Bildende Kunst in an edition of 100 copies. "in 1967 Joseph Beuys and i travelled to darmstadt for a performance of hauptstrom fluxus from 1:00 -11:00pm (10 hours) on the 20th march. hauptstrom was basically a new ritual, which is how a lot of people saw it at the time, and later on too. beuys used his own body as a deeply primal human language, and i made 10 hours of ritual music using a number of tape recorders. and obviously we wanted to make a completely new space for hauptstrom. the space at franz dahlem's at 7 aha street was small and there was even less space for the rather large audience because beuys made a roughly 7cm high rampart of margarine around his own performance space; and my main motif was a knocking sound, like the sound of a heart beating, which i used to create peace in the space, separate from the other more energetic sound-music passages. when i got the invitation for 'taking fluxus around for a drive' i immediately remembered that darmstadt exhibition in 1967. it's not all that far from denmark, 150 km to bonn-darmstadt, but a timespan of 22 years. i thought of jörg immendorf's lidl-bundestag, which you could say landed in the roses outside the real bundestag. this poetic, political act impressed me at the time, because it showed that our world could basically be quite different. i decided straight away that i wanted to make kreuzmusik, and i was also sure that no other fluxus people would come up with the same idea. most of my fluxus friends go for homo ludens and that's fine, but i wanted to feel the intimacy again in a small space, i wanted to make a scandinavian ritual in fluxid behandlung. i took my stone age gramophone (which really does play stones) called my friend ernst ludwig kretzer from hamburg and arranged with him that he would operate a time delay on my tapes and voice so that i could ritualise freely.

in kunstfond i didn't make a mound of margarine - of course not - instead i made one from flour (bread), in the middle of this was the stone age gramophone and hanging on the wall there were strange crosses, made out of socks and clothes hangers; as well as this there was a headless figure of christ and a toy cessna plane in a little canary cage.

i began with my piece io am en vogel as a 'starter' (about 20 minutes), then i performed zum preis des fluxus, which had been my contribution to the wiesbaden fluxus 82 catalogue, then i threw green stones into a bucket of water, then to the accompaniment of the eurasienstab -fluxorum organum music i played a green cutting sheet that was hanging on my chest, then to european zen i played 3 glass bowls with red sticks, the bells and knocking für das alte russland (for old russia). then everything went dark and i lit candles while my deep groundnote played. after 5 minutes played the lights came on again and my groundnote led into the sheep composition (sheep instead of fiddles); i used my green fat-fiddle to make little twittering sounds; for me, sheep mean peace and insight. this soundworld then lead into the composition with 180 hammer blows against war monkeys. i hammered very sharply and powerfully. beuys once wrote a piece with the title: der dumme hammer tritt auf (the stupid hammer performs), that's how it should be - against the war monkeys, logical. this sequence then finally lead into peaceful bird twitterings in a piece that i call die freiheit ist um die ecke (freedom is around the corner). during this i slowly immersed the cesna plane inside the canary cage in a tub of water , after i had flown around in my own space for a while. and that was the end of the whole seance. it lasted over an hour. - Henning Christiansen, 1990.” Thanks to The Henning Christiansen Estate and Ursula Block.

Henning Christiansen ‎– Kreuzmusik