Friday, 29 August 2008

I Went to the Woods at Walsall

Phew.. we made it... I just spent a couple of busy days putting together an interactive album for Juneau/Projects/ an artist duo I've worked with on many projects over the last few years. The piece entitled "I Went to the Woods" has been an ongoing project at Walsall Art Gallery for a while now and consists of the general public writing and recording music with the artists, at their studio there. August 28th was the album release, complete with performances of the tracks and the chance to buy the DVDROM album (each disk mounted on a small forked branch).

The concert started with the Juneau lads dressed in painted suits playing wonderfully weird wooden bug shaped guitar type things, producing synthesized sounds. A selection of people involved were asked to come and join them and ranged from a young girl reading poetry to an older man playing guitar to two men on piano and cello. These amateur performances reminded me of Outsider Music or the oddness of Captain Beefheart. The aesthetic is it's clumsiness and unconventional nature; a lack of knowledge and experience overlooked and a sincerely found beneath. You can imagine what it would sound like conventionally, but you are also given it's short-fallings; mistakes and imperfections become exemplified, but acceptable, resulting in moments usually carefully removed or avoided by professionals - missed notes, forgotten and mumbled words, over-long pauses, odd lyrics, unusual technique.

Ben Sadler - half of Juneau/Projects/ in painted suit

The Album itself is a cross platform, multi-track interactive piece, with which you can add and subtract different instruments parts and effects as you listen, even recording your own mix or arrangement and playing it back. Not sure how you'd get your hands on a copy but you could try contacting them at if your interested. They have some mp3 downloads from older projects here.

Also at residence at the gallery has been Milee (Feng-Ru Lee) who has been grazing as a sheep in small grass pens in the space, bringing the outside inside. She told me she liked the fact that you are never sure when you'll bump into a sheep out in the country, and had relocated this experience, in a way, to the gallery. As Milee the Sheep she had been living on, tending to and growing (real) grass.

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