BRUCE RUSSELL – gilded splinters CD, Spirit of Orr




“About the project: I have been interested in the use of sound recordings to make ‘music’ for a long time. In the early 1980s one of the things that drew me to the work of groups such as Cabaret Voltaire, The Fall and This Heat was their use of recordings as an element in their work, and as a way of restructuring played pieces once they had been recorded. In my own work, I started making tape works from day one, buying my first open reel tape machine in 1983, the same year I bought my first electric guitar. The first Dead C. album included ‘The Wheel’ and ‘Mutterline,’ both of which I constructed from tapes (1987). Later about half of the third Handful of Dust album; ‘From a Soundtrack to the Anabase of St.John Perse,’ was constructed in the ‘studio’ (1995). When I began to record under my own name, one of the things I wanted to focus on was tape work, as opposed to documentation recordings of live improvisations, which most of my other work has been. My first solo single was produced by the simple expedient of halving the tape speed, thereby doubling the beauty of the original ultra-lo-fi recording. A great boost to my resolve in this area was given by Ralf Wehowsky’s invitation in 1996 to participate in what became the Tulpas project. His faith in me gave me confidence to consider my work as a form of composition, and has led directly to this album. In this regard, the support of Matthew Leonard has also been very helpful. My plan was to compile examples of my tape work over the last few years, as a way of showing the different approaches and developing methodologies that I have employed. Originally I envisaged a double CD, but this has proven to be both too expensive and ultimately too hubristic. Making these recordings has been a learning process, but a very satisfying one. My working practices have often been deliberately primitive and brutal, and I make no apology for that. It is the ideas and their expression that should be of interest, not merely questions of technique. It remains only to note the inspiring example of many more illustrious names in this genuinely twentieth century art form. I will not compile a list of names, as these lists have a way of becoming almost too famous, but national pride compels me to mention the late Douglas Lilburn. He founded, in 1966 at Victoria University of Wellington, the Southern Hemisphere’s first Electronic Music Studio. Recently his magnificent analog electronic works have entered the digital domain in a long overdue re-edition. Hurrah!” – Bruce Russell, Lyttelton, 2004