Thoofa 1 Spoombung
Kev Hopper, bass guitar, musical saw, sampler; Adam Brett, sampler (track 8);
John Butcher, saxophone (track 10);
Charles Hayward, bells, (track 9); Ian Smith,
trumpet, flugelhorn (tracks 5 and 9).
Recorded summer 1997 and winter (i.e. first months of) 1998, London.
- Scent of Eucris (05:50)
- Mono spoombung (02:23
- Assisted spoombung (04:15)
- F.O.A.D. beaky (02:54
- Arsh hoolahoom (01:32)
- INIT. fumeburger (03:47)
- Gu Gi prime (04:56)
- Blubberpussy (01:46)
- Tum Tum Plume (03:50)
- Tinfizzer (05:08)
- I Dreamt of C. Lyons (03:32)
- Sloopthoom (04:16)
- Croclipslipped (01:24)
Artwork (front cover reproduced above) by Kev Hopper.
Notes on the tracks:
- Scent of Eucris (Hopper): This improvised piece attempts to work in a thematic, sequential way with long gaps and silences.
- Mono Spoombung ( Hopper): The Spoombung came about through an urge to create a repetitive, rhythmic form for the bass that would hold it's own integrity and have a simple appeal by way of it's own hypnotic intensity. I'd been listening to a lot of African music, particularly from Cameroon, and was searching for a practical way of relating the attraction this music held for me to my own situation; the tradition I considered myself part of; and the modern electronic instrument I play. I wanted to do this without 'going ethnic'. It was while playing with the quartet, Ticklish, around '96 that various notions I had about how to do this started to take shape and I finally began to develop some of the devices necessary to realise those ambitions. Ticklish as a group had equal value as a forum for discussing ideas as much as a musical outfit.
'Mono Spoombung' represents the form at it's most basic. The instrument is 'prepared' beforehand in time-honoured fashion with various articles such as paper clips, pins or anything that will alter the sound. A simple hammering technique and a rolling series of triplets and flams are used to generate the rhythm at a fixed tempo. With a little practice legato notes can be played while maintaining the beat. It's 'mono' because it only involves myself and the set-up is fixed in advance and does not change during the performance.
- Assisted Spoombung ( Hopper / Flint ): It became obvious that if I could find someone to move the preparations around while I played it might add more of chance element to proceedings. Enter Rob Flint, friend and video artist. Since '97 he's become my regular assistant. The idea of having an assistant is to give the piece more variety and a greater feeling of movement as it steps through changes in sonority, texture, tone and pitch. The chance element comes when articles sometime snag in the strings, making unpredictable clumping noises or start vibrating or rattling together (if I'm lucky)
- F.O.A.D. Beaky ( Hopper ): An electronic piece utilising a heavily processed bass sample.
- Arsh Hoolahoom ( Hopper / Smith ): A mono Spoombung and multi-tracked swelled harmonics from the bass introduce the trumpet of Ian Smith. Ian was one of the first people I asked to contribute to this recording.
- INIT. Fumeburger (Hopper ): The Spoombung makes way for more multi-tracked textures from the bass which eventually transform into a massed section of harsh tremeloes. A quartet of Musical Saws and a box of light-sensitive artificial crickets conclude the piece.
- Gu Gi Prime ( Hopper ): This rotating pattern grew out of one of many improvising moments with Ticklish. The intermittent 'tune' was played on the Sampler before I obtained a good Musical Saw.
- Blubberpussy ( Hopper / Brett ): Adam Brett and I have been playing together since '94 and our duo has gone through many changes. This recording is from '96 and improvised live. The bass is the only sound source for the sampler as he puts it through a complex series of programmes and treatments. During the interaction between the two instruments, things I've played previously can return as distorted, bewildering remnants of their former-selves, leading, on occasion, to much confusion on my part.
- Tum Tum Plume ( Hopper / Flint / Hayward / Smith ): The Spoombung got it's first official outing at 'Accidents and Emergencies'; the event organised by Charles Hayward in Deptford, South London. I remember he played a series of cascading bells during the performance, and I knew I had to invite him to play on this assisted Spoombung with Ian on flugelhorn.
- Tinfizzer ( Hopper / Flint / Butcher ): This is an example of one of the more extreme things that can happen during the course of an assisted Spoombung. The clips and pieces of metal become wedged and stuck to the pickups producing a trebly, rasping tone as they rattle against the strings. The beat slips in front and behind as the preparations are moved or when they fall out of place. This track features John Butcher on saxophone.
- I Dreamt of C. Lyons ( Hopper / Carter ): In addition to the Spoombung, assisted here by Emma Carter, this track has two layers of overdubbed harmonics from the bass plus some intermittent Musical Saw.
- Sloopthoom ( Hopper ): A simple short phrase on the bass is looped and processed through a series of filters and other programmed transformations. A harmonic derivative was used to construct the 'ambient' section.
- Croclipslipped ( Hopper )
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