Tag Archives: Australian

Review in The Australian Newspaper

6 Jul

I woke up to this article this morning – it’s a picture of ME.
An amazing review of The Long Weekend written by Ronnie Scott in the Australian Review.

What a coup for San Kessto Publications!! (Is that a correct use of the word “coup”)

If you can’t be bothered buying The Australian – then just read the article HERE.
TheAustralian-July13

Long Weekend Exhibition – May 10 to June 7

15 May

Some images from the exhibition that is currently in Alice Springs at Watch This Space gallery of the art from the graphic novel along with development sketches and earlier version of pages and other bits and bobs.

Exhibition dates – May 10 to June 7

IMG_4706

IMG_4712

IMG_4707

IMG_4705

IMG_4704

IMG_4703

IMG_4701

IMG_4699

IMG_4696

IMG_4695

Pardon? – Acousmatic Ecology pt II – album release and tour

26 Nov

pardon? Acousmatic Ecology part 2 by Drive West Today

– a new album/collection from Drive West Today which is a free download from Bandcamp.

Drive West Today has been expanding over 2011 and 2012 to encompass more than just the cinematic experience of listening to sound. Joshua Santospirito’s guitar is more and more placed into textural compositions that contrast silence to clicks and bursts of sonar.

The recordings in the Acousmatic Ecology series are a document of one moment in a long slow exploration of stops and starts and counterintuition. All aimed at creating stillness within a maelstrom of anxiety and the elevation of the soul in the midst of confusion, attempting to take the listener into the performing experience.

The second part of acousmatic ecology becomes more minimal than the first (Acousmatic Ecology pt I – a query) but it continues further along the same line of explorations that were opened up by that collection of works.

released 01 July 2012
all music improvised by joshua santospirito
recorded and mixed by Ryan Lynch from scrapbook studios
May-June Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

credits

released 26 November 2012
Music – Joshua Santospirito
Recorded by Ryan Lynch at scrapbook studios – May 2012
creative commons

TOUR

November
30 – Hobart
I have organised the Sound Klub gig at Inflight Art Gallery on November 30, 8pm at the closing of both my exhibition Sleuth, and the exhibition of Neil Haddon.
– come down to see Reuben IngallPaul HeslinTransmission (Nick McCorriston).
Free entry and there’ll be a bar run by the happy gallery board members.

December – tour with Reuben Ingall & Paul Heslin & Transmissions
Friday 7 – Sydney AV Union, 365 Parramatta Road, Leichhardt, New South from 8pm

Sunday 9 – Canberra House show – 22 Burnside St Watson from 5pm

Hobart improv bassist – Nigel Farley

24 Jul

Another drawing I did from the house concert on Sunday the 22nd of July (see Tim’s picture here)

Sticks, Stones & Breaking Bones – Will Guthrie

13 Jul

Will Guthrie
Stick, stones & breaking bones

Antboy Music 2012

One thing must be said about Guthrie’s percussion work: he has relentless drive.
The propulsion is inimitable.

I recall seeing him play in Melbourne many years ago with three-piece Assumptions along with the wonderful Stephen Magnusson on guitar and towering Julien Wilson and being struck by his posture and presence which reminded me of an Energiser bunny who might have been over-charged overnight. But despite his arms moving in vertical lines his sticks seemed to spray every which way to create the audial splays.

The opening clammer-stanzas of the first track Sticks on this album of solo-drumming are rhythmic and almost pastoral which is quite extraordinary given its almost nervous a-syncopation. At first I thought that this might be simply explained due to the types of cymbals used and the almost ceremonial and tribal tom-toms which are present in the beginning and become a large part of the second cadenza, which is also trance-like. On second and third listen I decided that it was something different despite the obvious parallels to a frenzied African dance in the dirt. This sounded like some kind of frenetic spiritual chase across from the Vatican to Istanbul perhaps. What was clear though was the anxiety soaked barrage of sound that Guthrie works us into is intoxicating with the cymbals runs that he envelopes you with. Drumming crescendos can often seem a touch cliche in most solo works but I found nothing of the sort here, he is as refreshing and original as he was when I first came across him.


I hadn’t heard Guthrie’s music for some time until I ordered this new issue from his Poitier-based label Antboy music. The exploration of percussion is still there, the rattle and clank which gives his music such personality has grown even more organically and expanded over the last decade. Like other Australian drummers of his ilk that I admire such as Tony Buck (the Necks) and Laurence Pike (PVT) there is the use of similar tools to create the sounds. What sets Guthrie apart in my ears is his use of pause which gives his solo drumming such drama, occasionally verging on Opera in its scope, whilst still sounding like it was played in a small space such as in the second piece on this album Stones, which is far more spacious in its beginnings after the euphoric climax of Sticks. But Stones goes travels the path differently from thereon in faster and faster towards a break-neck snap, clatter and crack and further again to semi-echo of the drum-runs of Sticks in communion with this new collection of tones and rings which I can only liken to a broken type-writer made of balsa finally petering out to the noise of it being massaged by rosary beads.

Breaking Bones is a different beast entirely and is a fitting way to round up this extraordinary album in minimalistic grandeur of tom-banging rapture. I couldn’t help my ears searching out something somehow melodic throughout the drawn out slow march of this piece. Guthrie achieves that difficult task of introducing arhythmic elements which evoked Steve Reich’s phasing without bothering too much about the finer details (not to imply that Guthrie should have done so, the beauty here is the incautiousness of his expression). It’s at this point that I feel I should talk about the experience that I had in listening to this with my headphones – halfway through this track of rollicking toms and snare and bass and bluster I experienced an something of an elevation of mind – This extraordinary piece dragged me willingly upwards and upwards on an irresistible trend. The ecstatic punchline at the end is still ringing in my ears even now as I write these words.

An altogether exultant album that does not deserve to be ignored.
Bravo Guthrie.

Joshua Santospirito

2012 BLUES – Heath Scotland

14 Jun

Round #12 ol’ Scotto is the drawing of the week!!
He’s back from injury and in Perth to play the West Coast Eagles – who we’re going to take APART!!!!!

DWT video from the Silent Hour – Sydney 2011

12 Jun

The Silent Hour in held at The General Store for Contemporary Art in Sydney.

acoustic Album – A shitload less understanding than what is required

15 May

“A SHITLOAD LESS UNDERSTANDING THAN IS REQUIRED”
By Drive West Today

a bold improvised instrumental interpretation of the lessons that were pounded into me about humankind, misery, happiness, life and death whilst wandering the Central deserts of Australia and things that have been ticking in my head since I walked back South-East with my tail ‘tween my legs.

You can download the album from bandcamp if you’d like,

  • Track 1 – title taken from Craig San Roque’s article “Coming to terms with country” also previously released in US
  • Track 8 – Anthropology also released on New Weird Australia’s compilation volume #3

Here are a series of notes that I wrote a couple of years back … some of it is nonsense, some of it is kind of poetic, most of it centred around the ideas that I was thinking about whilst making this music.

Part I – Life

[ These are thoughts that I am thinking out loud to the ether … if you care to read them, be my guest, you might even have something poetic to add to the comments section down the bottom … again, be my guest. They are thoughts that I am contemplating in relation to my album-in-waiting, I like to have some theoretical substance behind my albums, so they sit within a design rather than randomly recorded music that has nothing interesting to bring up. They are not amazingly complex concepts but they are, nevertheless, concepts that have developed in a context that may be wholly alien to you, so take your time in reading them, or skip through merrily and blissfully.

The concepts that I have in my head are ones that come from conversations with people that I have bumped into in my work in Central Australia and the experiences that I had there. I think Central Oz is unique in Australia and, consequently, misunderstood by many people. I worked as a Mental Health nurse in remote Aboriginal communities. Mental Health, by itself, is a very misunderstood area at the best of times. Remote Aboriginal communities are also majorly misunderstood which has led to many poor decisions by successive governments which have complicated the demolition of their cultural integrity. I won’t go into that much. ]

In 2004 I made another hand-made album that was titled “the balloon”. The background concepts of the balloon had been largely influenced by Dante’s La Commedia Divina. Certain phrases and images that Dante used stuck in my mind and I thought about how they might apply to some sort of high-urban fantasy sequence of someone running out of their apartment window and stepping into the space of air between buildings and soaring upwards. It reminded me somehow of a particular scene in Gabriel Garcia Marquez “One hundred years of solitude” where the village’s most beautiful girl was once lying in her bed and she simply flew up and out the window and into the sky. Nothing more is mentioned about her for pretty much the rest of the book, transforming that moment into a simply exquisite mythical scene.

boy Brightlulb was a character that was developing in my head at the time, and what I named myself when wielding an acoustic guitar (he has since left the building). The balloon itself was something that the boy saw floating gently over the cityscape, past the Russell Hotel and out of sight. It caused wondered in him about what lay beyond the visible landscape of buildings, cars and smog. This was really me wondering how to get the hell out of the urbanised hell that I felt I was surrounded by. Whilst I love cities, another part of me hates them, a small but not insignificant part of me. So I imagined myself willing the balloon to float towards me … or perhaps I just imagined the balloon floating toward me as I sat on the tin roof-dunes of warehouses and apartments. As it came close I stood up and reached for the string dangling downward and I grasped for it.

As I floated over the mountainous buildings, between windows of offices, toward the blue sky, I saw people at desks, board-meets, couriers, I saw hustling and I saw bustling. And I ascended upward.

There was a line from Dante’s Purgatorio which was translated to say “a cloud enclosed us”; myself and the balloon, Dante and Beatrice; the protagonist and the guide. Retrospectively I have the idea that my thoughts were searching for something divine. I was dreaming about what was beyond the reaches of the city. Perhaps I was yearning to explore the world, who the fuck knows?

My life growing up in Melbourne entailed living in suburban and then urban areas, very urban. In lived in three-storey terrace houses with twenty bodies, cheap wine carpets and dimsim dipped in curry dinners. I moved to Sydney warehouses on busy streets with apartments flats towering around, no privacy, only fumes. The one patch of paradise was hanging off the fire escape mid air either accepting how beautiful urban profanities were or wishing my way out. There was a piece in “the balloon” called “Flying out the 3rd storey window”. Suicide is not something that is particularly interesting to everyone … though I’ve met people who think of it all the time. I seem to be a very good coper. The song-title didn’t actually mean that I was flying downwards, more up really. I don’t know how I coped with Sydney. Perhaps I didn’t cope, I just moved to Central Australia, I got the hell out of Sydney.

Part II – Death

A very charismatic man, came for a very philosophical planning day for the Remote Mental Health Team and put the first line of a poem by Gabriel Garcia Lorca (another Gabriel) to us –

“ (Perhaps it occurred because he hadn’t learnt his geometry) ”

Perhaps he hadn’t … I hadn’t thought about this in terms of geometry.

Suicide in Aboriginal societies is something that plagues all of us in Central Australia who are not racist bastards. Suicide didn’t really exist in Aboriginal cultures around twenty years ago. It’s rampant now. Where suicide in Western societies is generally thought about in terms of depression, suicide in Aboriginal societies almost exclusively comes under the banner of powerlessness. Most suicides have a few common elements – domestic violence; an argument between families; and an individual tries to take their life in a public place where they are easily seen by everyone, sometimes succeeding, but never with a truthful purpose; Alcohol is often involved but not necessarily.

They are seen to be extremely impulsive and the perpetrators do not usually have thoughts of suicide and do not have depression per se. Suicide prevention is a tough concept for NGOs. The problem they face is how one combats an enemy with this elusive nature. The locus of the perpetrator’s control is so far from their centre of gravity it’s hard to imagine that they can stand on solid ground without falling to their dooms. The perpetrators are many and give no warning signs until the screaming comes, the heat of the moment seems to burn all ties with reason as they teeter on the edge of oblivion.

It is important to note that this type of suicide, used as a threat under pressure, is not at all singularly related to Australian Aboriginal people but is also found in all societies where there is some breakdown of structure. The Western suburbs of Sydney would sport its own fair share of this behaviour, but perhaps not on the widespread level that this behaviour has been taken on in the last twenty or so years.

Geometry is the study of bodies in space, the distance between this object and that one, their angles, their connections, my relationship to you, your relationship to the government, this could extend from country to country, the planet to the sun, the solar system to the galaxy so on, so forth, etc, Amen.

Lorca’s poem begins with a parenthetic afterthought. Perhaps he had never stopped to think about his relation to the world, his connection to his family and friends. Perhaps Lorca judges him here: he had never stopped to think and learn. Literally speaking of course, he had perhaps not stopped to think even about gravity, the gravity of the situation or the gravity that makes him plummet to the humid concrete below. If you follow our gentle Spaniard out of the window in slow-motion you wonder what is going through his head right now. Is he perhaps thinking “oh shit! I think I’ve overdone it!” Or is he so caught up in the intense emotions that we assume are required to follow through on this act. Like the suicide that associates itself with Indigenous peoples, you could imagine that, in the moment, all thought of consequence are disconnected, all ties to the things that anchor you are untied, you become weightless, your feet leave ground.

Part III – In between

Central Australian languages have a word for those who have passed on. You do not say their name after they have died, you call them “Kumunjay”. In fact anyone who has the same name as the deceased must also be called Kumunjay. Some respected person named Alice died once in the town of Katherine in the top end of the Territory, from a time they referred to Alice Springs as “Kumunjay Springs”. Kumunjay is not a name really, just indicates that you have an unspeakable name. Everyone understands and doesn’t bother questioning, they just call you Kumunjay until such time as people forget who died and go back to the original name. Some people change their name completely to avoid the Kumunjay phenomena – I met a Cigarette Morton once, and a Jungle Bob … Tarzan.

I was discussing the flying boy of the poem when someone said the word “anomé”. I said what? They said the boy had become disconnected from the world and from himself. In that moment, whether he has died or not, he has become not-himself, unreal.

If you look at the scene even more closely as the young man screams at his wife you might notice that something changes. Look at his belly. Something about it shifts; something more subtle than his centre of gravity. Perhaps his locus of control passes out through his navel. Perhaps it slips in through hers. Perhaps that’s why the look of terror on the face of his wife equals the anger in his. Perhaps he has given her all power over him but stolen her power over herself.

“Shit!”

If I were her I’d rip that little silver ball of light out of her belly and piff it as far from her as possible. As far out of reach of him lest he forces it back on her again. Throw it out the window!

“Shit!”

It’s this point that our young Spaniard becomes disconnected from everything. The silver ball is now falling to the concrete ground three storeys down and the fear has taken grip of his senses. As he runs for the window and his feet lose their connection with the floorboards, the world loses its connection to him, and he will go tumbling after. The situation has run out of control.

The man said that the word for this is anomé, the name for those with no name. An Aboriginal Mental Health Worker said yeah, that’s what we call Kumunjay, same thing see. The other bloke paused and said, isn’t that interesting, you could say that in that moment, in that moment before he becomes Kumunjay to the living, he has become Kumunjay unto himself.

It wasn’t as out of control as we thought. Perhaps he flew out onto the fire-escape and lay feeling sore. Sore but connected, connected to his world. Nothing but a bloody lip to show for it.

Lady luck does CPR. Nice lady sometimes … but these things brew over time. Again, the ‘next time’ is already thinking about next time.

Remember son, all our problems come out of a clear blue sky.

#12 Mitch Robinson

2 Apr

First game of the season … first scalp – the Richmond Tigers
… here he is in his 50th game for the AFL and for the Carlton Footy Club

And he’s Tasmanian to boot!!

For other pics in this series (there’ll be one for every week of footy) go to the CARLTON BLUES 2012 PAGE

Forest Festival 2012

22 Mar

Nadine and I went to the Forest Festival up in Jackey’s Marsh in the North of Tasmania in Feb. Drive West Today (me) played in the forest there – it was beautiful … nothing nicer than a hippie festival. I only made time for a quick sketch that weekend – here it is. The Great Western Tiers are really nice. I’d like to go back and check out the caves up there if I get a chance sometime. Apparently they’re spectacular.