Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.

JH

From Scratch Survey

AA
View Discussion
From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery One at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery One at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery One at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery One at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery One at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery One at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery One at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery One at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery Two at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery Two at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery Two at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery Two at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery Two at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery Two at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery Three at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett

From Scratch make catchy and hypnotic music—with rhythm its key element—with similarities to say, the driving rockier numbers of the German group Can, or the English group Soft Machine, even though its origins (when formed in the mid-seventies) are from avant-garde classical music, detectable with its affinities to minimalists Glass, Riley and Reich in its use of repetition. What is interesting is that the characteristic deep bass (vibrating) sound from the thumped plastic pipes sounds strangely ‘airy' or ‘breathy'—like a wind instrument. It's physical: very bodily, earthy, and penetrating. Though complex, it's drum music for intellectuals to dance to.

Titirangi

 

From Scratch
546 Moons
Curated by Andrew Clifford

 

3 March - 27 May 2018.

A survey show taking up two floors, 546 Moons allows us to see and hear the experimental rock group From Scratch, to celebrate the work of Phil Dadson, Don McGlashan, Wayne Laird, Geoff Chapple, James McCarthy and other musical collaborators in this legendary three (occasionally four) piece band—with its carefully devised, extremely unusual, mostly percussive instruments.

The word ‘rock’ is so elastic in its musical application that it is almost meaningless, but these players know—as Duke Ellington once put it—that “it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” It is catchy and hypnotic music—with rhythm its key element—with similarities to say, the driving rockier numbers of the German group Can, or the English group Soft Machine, even though its origins (when formed in the mid-seventies) are from avant-garde classical music, detectable with its affinities to minimalists Glass, Riley and Reich in its use of repetition. What is interesting is that the characteristic deep bass (vibrating) sound from the thumped plastic pipes sounds strangely ‘airy’ or ‘breathy’—like a wind instrument. It’s physical: very bodily, earthy, and penetrating. Though complex, it’s drum music for intellectuals to dance to.

Not only is From Scratch a vibrant band, but it can also be seen as visual art: live performance involving movement, drawing, theory and action as a form of onstage (or gallery, moving or static) sculpture. The position of every player and instrument is schematically worked out carefully in advance, with performers sometimes shifting ‘stations’ during performances.

On Te Uru’s ground floor, in Gallery One, we have aural and photographic documentation of various tours, their promotional posters, video recordings, and many examples of their invented instruments. Plus some of Dadson’s geometric graphite drawings on black paper that he exhibited in Artspace in the eighties.

On Te Uru’s middle floor in Galleries Two and Three, there are more instruments, videos of performances, and more documentation-including compositional scores-that are not to be touched. In Gallery Two though, visitors are encouraged to experiment with the strange Heath Robinsonish devices (mostly made by Dadson, in the tradition of Harry Partch), to try making sounds by hitting, plucking, shaking, pinging, strumming, rocking, tapping, rattling, stroking, blowing, rubbing and so on. This reflects a non-precious view of creativity, that anybody can be an artist or musician; they just need to have their potential industriousness kick-started by being shown the wonders of aural texture, and the concentrated intensity of each participatory listening moment.

There is a theoretical component to From Scratch, revolving around the band’s interest in the philosophy of Rewi Alley, the New Zealand-born communist who (as a poet and social reformer) lived in China, and was a colleague of Mao Zedong and Che Guevara. I might be mistaken, but the connections between theory and praxis seem to have been downplayed here, which is surprising because I think younger generations would find it immensely interesting. The re-publication tomorrow of the Splash 5 magazine might shed more light on this aspect.

John Hurrell

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH
John Stezaker, Blind (Film Portrait Collage) VIII, 2017, collage, 25.3 x 20.3 cm, courtesy of The Approach

Stezaker in Auckland

STARKWHITE

Auckland

 

John Stezaker
John Stezaker: Collages

 

9 October - 3 November 2018

JH
Shannon Te Ao, my life as a tunnel, 2018,  two-channel video with sound,  duration 9:48 min, cinematography: Iain Frengley,  installation view: Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland

Recent Te Ao Project

HOPKINSON MOSSMAN

Auckland

Shannon Te Ao
my life as a tunnel

 

8 September - 14 October 2018

JH
Installation of Vivian Lynn's 'Extricating Form 1969 - 1984', curated by Christina Barton, at Bowerbank Ninow, Auckland.

Vivian Lynn Works on Paper

BOWERBANK NINOW

Auckland

 

Vivian Lynn
Extricating form 1969 - 1984

 

12 September - 13 October, 2018

JH
Grant Stevens, The Waterfalls, 2016-18, archival ink on archival paper, ongoing series, each 825 x 550 mm

When Artifice Creates Nature

STARKWHITE

Auckland

 

Grant Stevens
The Mountain and the Waterfalls

 

1 September - 29 September 2018