PSN Electronic, Bruce Russell and Adam Willetts
3 x portable sound players with headphones. Total running time approx 50mins.
Etherradio Live: Experimental music from Aotearoa new Zealand
Performance by Adam Willetts and PSN Electronic (Peter Stapleton, Su Ballard, and Nathan Thompson)
Substation Theatre, 27 July 2008, 10:30pm
The sound works curated within Etherradio further explore the intangibility of place and location in New Zealand. Internationally recognized sound artists Bruce Russell, Adam Willetts, and PSN Electronic (Peter Stapleton, Su Ballard, and Nathan Thompson) use old and new radio technologies in ways that reveal both the richness of radio as a material of media art, and the depth of New Zealand’s unseen radio environment. Experimental audio, noise music, and sound art form a significant site of engagement with digital and media technologies in New Zealand. Radio is an important element of this both in terms of its role in New Zealand audio practice, and its fundamental locatedness. Radio in these works is revealed to be highly place-specific: the radioscape is a space created by the relations of political and economic power that determine the use of radio technologies, the geographical terrain that shapes radio signals, and the particular content of communications and broadcasting within New Zealand. The sounds of New Zealand radio space evoked through Etherradio are unlike those of any other location.
PSN Electronic was formed in 1999 by three sound artists with a long collective history in improvised music. Peter Stapleton has played in numerous ensembles including Flies inside the Sun, Dadama, and Sleep. He is also a founding member of legendary New Zealand rock outfit The Terminals. Peter’s work is actively discussed in international forums and many interviews and articles on his work have been published in The Wire, Opprobrium and other leading sound journals. Su Ballard writes and lectures on sound as well as performing with The Sferic Experiment in the early nineties and later in Sleep. She presented at the Typhoon sound symposium at Artspace Sydney in 2005. Nathan Thompson is a founding member of influential experimental ensemble Sandoz Lab Technicians as well as Sleep and the free rock outfit eye. He has made three solo electronic albums under the name Expansion Bay. Nathan was invited to perform at the Stockholm New Music Festival in 2006. Together Peter, Su and Nathan formed PSN Electronic out of a common desire to explore the compositional possibilities of radio and electronic equipment within a sound rather than a ‘music’ context. PSN Electronic use a variety of methods and equipment, including tape manipulation, and digital samples, but their focus is on the sonic potential of short-wave radio. Working improvisationally, their work reflects the simultaneous presence and absence of radio. Their desire is to release new possibilities from readily available sonic materials.
Bruce Russell is well known as a member of influential rock group the Dead C and free-noise pioneers A Handful of Dust as well as being an improvising sound artist in his own right. He processes and transforms sound through a veritable junkyard of analogue electronics and a variety of broadcast radio and other electromagnetic sources. Bruce Russell also works in the field of radiophonic composition. Two versions of a piece entitled Tunnel Radio [Detour Autour] were realised for ORF/Austrian National Radio’s Kunstradio show, and Radio New Zealand’s rpm show. This was an analogue tape work using traditional musique concrete strategies to compose a piece based on AM radio recordings made deep underground in the 1.4km Lyttelton road tunnel. In 2001 a piece entitled The War Between Desire and Technology (Tape Version) was included in a show of sound works held as part of the MAAP (Multimedia Art Asia Pacific) Festival at the Powerhouse (Centre for the Live Arts), Brisbane, Australia. More recent radiophonic commissions have included a semi-documentary piece for Radio New Zealand looking at New Zealanders’ experiences of Japanese culture over 50 years, entitled Topsy Turvy Land, a programme for the London Musicians’ Collective station ResonsanceFM, entitled One Hour As Time, and an anti-war electro-acoustic composition for rpm/Kunstradio entitled Access to Evil: Thank You for Talkin’ to Me Amerika.
Adam Willetts is an artist whose diverse practice encompasses experimental music, sound art and sculpture. He utilises DIY technologies and methods in combination with ready-mades and off-the-shelf tools to explore the role of technology in contemporary art and culture by subverting and challenging the conventional use of devices such as computers, game consoles and radio equipment. Adam's performances and recordings are carefully structured improvisations that create a tactile relationship between sound, electricity and electromagnetic waves. He has performed and exhibited widely in New Zealand and internationally. Selected performances include: S3D, a festival of experimental instrument builders curated by Phil Dadson as part of AK07; Lines of Flight Festival of Experimental Music, Dunedin 2006; TASIE The Second Art and Science International Exhibition and Symposium, Beijing, China 2006; Acoustic.Space.Lab workshops and symposiums, Riga, Latvia, 2001 and 2003. Selected exhibitions include: Space Rocks and Star Portals, A Center For Art, Auckland 2007; TASIE The Second Art and Science International Exhibition and Symposium, Beijing, China 2006; Astronomy for Amateurs, Creative New Zealand, Auckland 2006.