Label: De La Catessen
** Edition of 100 hand-numbered copies. Notes by Jon Dale ** By the time I landed in Adelaide somewhere in the mid 1990s, to complete my secondary schooling and get the hell out of dodge – the tiny country hamlet that I’d been living in, in the northern parts of the Upper Hunter in New South Wales, at the foot of the Barrington Tops – I’d already been indoctrinated into a set of ideals through my reading, listening, and the questionable guidance of a few family members. Foremost was a kind of ideological thoroughness borne of punk’s idealism, coupled with a notion that volume and noise were the radical edge of experimentalism (learned mostly through listening to the guitar groups of then-recent times – Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Loop, Spacemen 3, Band Of Susans, etc.). Adelaide was both contextually vast – a ‘real’ city, the first one I’d lived in since Sydney in the ‘80s – and yet somehow limited, closed-off. I credit the latter to matters both personal (a propensity towards shyness) and cultural (a strange parochialism within the ‘indie rock’ circles I’d fallen into). The idea of silence and minimalism as virtues took a while to settle in. Discovering Morton Feldman via an article in a mid ‘90s issue of The Wire, I wondered what the hell I was reading about, and why I hadn’t known about it sooner. There seemed, to me, to be no parallel community or creative endeavour in the city I was living in. Truth was, I couldn’t have been more wrong if I’d tried.
I think the scales really fell from my eyes when I met Stephen Whittington, who was a guest lecturer in a popular music subject I took at the University of Adelaide, talking about the Velvet Underground and their connections with composers like La Monte Young. From there, it was a short step to seeing Whittington perform Feldman's Triadic Memories one evening on campus, one of the few times I can say, with conviction, that my listening to and understanding of music was irrevocably changed. (I ended up writing about this performance in The Wire.) I’d heard mention of the city’s history of experimental music practice, and of a few composers in that orbit – David Kotlowy’s name would be spoken not so much with reverence, though he was clearly highly respected, as with a questioning curiosity... (continued as bonus item). All tracks recorded at Elder Hall, Adelaide, September 6th 2020. Produced, engineered, edited, mixed and mastered by Lachlan Bramble. Mastered for vinyl and cut by Frank Merritt at The Carvery Studio, London. Vinyl labels detail from Three Vessels by Steven Kotlowy, photo Denis Smith. Designed by Sam Songailo.