Signal to Noise

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On Sunday night I went to my friend John Newman’s sound install­a­tion at the Deaf Cat in Rochester, put on by the TEA people. There was a Damo Suzuki improv gig the previ­ous night when I was away. I’m sure they organ­ise these things when I can’t come specific­ally to spite me. I also went to watch at their band dating event they put on on Thurs. They got musi­cians to fill out a profile, then assigned them to a band, gave them 2 free rehears­al sessions, then they played whatever they came up with on the night. It all worked out very well. There were sound­scapes and some­thing that soun­ded like a Talk­ing Heads rehears­al.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be back in time from Shef­field to come on Sunday, but I said I’d take some photos for John if I could make it. He created a script to collect tweets featur­ing certain keywords such as noise, and then gener­ate sound and visu­als based on the text. That was shown, and there was impro­visa­tion from vari­ous people. I think that’s a good basis for bands to work on, get up on stage and join in when you feel like it, then get back down when you fancy a drink.

I brought a tripod and shut­ter release with me, and a box of tacky 70s filters, because why not. I was glad of the tripod and shut­ter release, because the cafe had no light­ing, so these photos are all about 6-8 second expos­ures (hence the rain­bow sensor dust dots, which I quite like). No-one was moving too much. The filters weren’t much good, because they tend to rely on there being points of strong light for their effect. There were Willi­am Burroughs films projec­ted at the same time as the improv, but the layout of the cafe meant that they had to be on a differ­ent wall than that behind the musi­cians.


I also managed to do two things I’d meant to do for at least 3 years. Give Matt McN the boxes of sheet film I’d got for £1 each, and buy Shareef’s album. Matt has finished at art school, and doesn’t have the same access to the large format camera, and Shar’s old band broke up, but never mind. Cham­pi­on procras­tin­at­ing. After­wards I went with Bee and Matt to the pub, and drank honey jack daniels that tasted like drink­ing cereal. Rochester Weth­er­spoons gives me the creeps.



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