communications

What sort of hesitation of the process is a result of an enema? Disappointment in form itself. It is why in a militant art we always have the glorification formed into a rubber tube vo hesitation. Official art and we cannot exist. That is a much closer witness of the hopes centred around the form. We must always have the uncertainty of the feelings. Am I to conceal lullabies around the wintered hopes centre? Night on, around the glorification, sing into a bundle of long tubing? And incurable illness, gradually incurable, and something uncertain... So this disappointment, formed in a militant art, is a result, but in a low tone. We always have the process. And parents. This frustration of that hesitation for this disappointment of the form itself. It is much closer to feelings, much closer to confusion, inside. And so, my poor cousin

interview with Kevin Patton

for Point of Departure, October 2010

Can you describe your technological set ups, as well as the controllers you use (and how they work)? (Does not need to be intolerably specific, but clear enough to understand the structure of your processing, from samples (or live sources) to what we hear, and the control of it in real time.)

We should start by saying that our first priority is to communicate with people through sound, so it can be distracting and misleading to talk about the technology as if it were at the centre of what we do. Our setup consists, at the moment, of two MIDI keyboards, and a few other controllers, controlling sample playback software on three computers of which each of us has access to two. So the situation involves characteristics both of one instrument and of two, being played by both one person and two, and that’s more central to what we think about than the specific technology used to bring it about.

letter to Eddie Prévost

PO correspondence with EP about his book Minute Particulars, August 2005

Many thanks for your book, Eddie. 

For me, listening to as well as making music has always partly been about creating meaningful alternatives to what we hear around us. One of the things I like most about modern music is its potential to suggest an existence beyond any accepted order. And who could really want to be “in harmony” with a world as exploitative as ours? Suffice it to say that I agree with what you write about mass culture and the deadening effects it can have on our sensibilities. So as for your general question of originality and “progress”, I think lots of what you say makes it clear that as long as capitalism remains so adept at commodifying and neutralising artistic production, it will always be essential for some of us to try and reach out beyond any established practices in art, even currently progressive ones.

The parts of your book I find it harder to go along with are those dealing with electronics. What I do think is right, though, is to describe a lot of “electronica” as unresponsive in the dimension of dynamics, of which more below. I am inclined to make a partial exception for FURT and BARK! (among others) here though…

interview with Stefano Isidoro Bianchi

for Blow Up magazine, June 2005

SIB: Paul, I know Richard has a career as a teacher and contemporary classical composer but I know very little about what you did before you joined him for FURT. Can you tell me?

PO: Richard and I formed FURT in 1986 shortly after I finished college, when I was only 21 years old and R was 26. So FURT has really been the cornerstone of my musical activity more or less from the start. This isn’t quite true for Richard who, as you say, has also (vigorously!) pursued writing instrumental music in parallel to FURT. My other main musical activity these days is the BARK! trio with Rex Casswell and Phillip Marks, which you know all about.

RB: I know that’s not a question for me, but I should point out I’m neither a teacher nor a “classical” composer! The word “classical” for me implies a different kind of relationship with Western art-music history from the one I actually have. Although of course I’m often writing music for “classical” musicians, those compositions are really more closely related to what FURT does (which presumably nobody would call “classical”) than they are to what the composers of the past were doing, and for that matter what most living composers are doing as well.

statement for Nicolas Collins

response to questions from Nic Collins for noisy.org, July 2000

We met probably in 1983 or so, when P was studying for a maths degree at University College London (where R had graduated in genetics a few years earlier), beginning by running into each other regularly at contemporary music concerts, which in those days was still fairly often, that is to say before new music in London began in earnest to be eroded by a combination of atrophying financial support and institutional conservatism. Our musical interests already corresponded to an unusual degree; other interests and engagements (fundamental physics, socialist activism) subsequently developed in parallel.

FURT came into being on 17 March 1986; at the time R was working with an improvising quintet called The Number Twos, so that group’s equipment was sitting around temptingly at R’s house between rehearsals. The two of us spent two days playing, recording and (in the breaks) leafing through the Spurious Words section of the Oxford English Dictionary in search of titles and otherwise useful words and definitions, one of which was “Furt, in dicts. explained - ‘theft’, is a misprint in the later edd. of Tomkis’ Albumasar for ‘furie’.”

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