Monday, 22 December 2008

the video!

After a couple of days work, i managed to shrink the captured footage down to a mere 25mins!

A Garrison Of Two from thorsten sideb0ard on Vimeo.

Friday, 12 December 2008

first draft of a writeup..

Cushendall Detailz..

i'm lazy at writing up things in detail, but i figure i should get down some of the Cushendall details before they recede into the hazy mist of distant memory. I'll scribble down what i can think of here..

day one - early fucking rise! quite exciting driving down to Stranraer at 6am tho, getting a nice stone on, driving through all the small towns and villages en route. Ferry ride across to Belfast, bizarrely met a friend of mine who was on tour playing for Ladytron. One of the singers had twisted her ankle on the way onto the ferry, so they weren't sure if they would have to cancel their gig that evening. Driving up through the glens and coast of antrim was lovely and we found Cushendall pretty easily. Parked near the tower and got out to go pick up the keys. Wasn't completely surprised to see a gang of local teenagers hanging out on the doorstep of the Tower. Received some mumbled insults as we walked past. Keys picked up, and entry afforded, we excitedly made our way up through the tower - kitchen first, lots of posters and postcards and bits of oddities, crowned by two big Penkiln Burn posters - "NOTICE - Welcome To The Curfew Tower" pb Poster 85, and something about "Everything is Shite" - need to check the pb Poster # for that one.

The other big feature of the kitchen is the Journal. The word "Journal" can't describe the size or weight of this tome - it looked like it should have had the ten commandments, massive thick textured paper in a big bound book, with entries in it from everyone who had staying and worked in the tower.

Next we walked through the narrow hall leading to the dungeon part, which was full of Gimpo M25 posters of all sorts. Up the stairs, with a quick cursory look into the bathroom floor, then up in the living room/studio/workspace which was to be our main centre of activity for the next seven days. Up again to have a look at the bedrooms, both pretty decent sizes, minimal furnishing, some bed sheeting, and also a trapdoor leading to the roof in the bedroom on the top floor which was to be mine. Brought all the gear in and got to work assembling our studio setup - mixing desk, studio monitors, two laptops, midi controllers, sound cards.

A few spliffs built and some video footage shot. Went for a quick walk around the town, bought a few supplies from the store and a six pack of beer from the off-license. At first the coal fireplace was merely a novelty, not so as the sun began to set and we began to notice the serious lack of heat. Our skills at fire-building and maintaining were ninja like by the end of the week.
Saturday night we got pretty high and jammed away on some club type music, without thinking too much about our aims or anything too specific to the Tower, just trying to settle into the surroundings and find a comfortable working method. Technically it was okay, but it wasn't gelling musically, and neither us were too happy with it, but it was a fun evening, and being the first night we weren't too worried about it.

Sunday we got up, cooked some breakfast, and went for a walk out around the beach and along the cliffs. Absolutely stunning scenery, and we got busy taking pictures, video footage and sound recordings. After about an hours wandering the sun started to set and get cold, so we headed back to the Tower. Thinking a bit more about what we were trying to achieve musically, but actually being there the themes of separate songs about four characters started to seem a bit tenuous, without much actual sound in the way of being able to realise such ideas. We got back to some more music, but it felt more strained than the previous day, both pulling in different directions and not finding a good medium. We kept away at it for a few hours before getting frustrated and eventually, in a pattern that would become familiar at the week went on, sat with our chairs facing in towards the blazing fire, poking it more trying to eek more heat from it's puny size (we only later discovered how puny when compared against other local fireplaces such as in the restaurants and local pubs).

Monday had a slight despondency to the mood, after not having much achieved to go on so far. We got out and went a walk up and around some of the hills and to the ruins of an old church, Layd Church. Gerry got a lot of good pictures taken, and i wandered around with the sound recorder and video camera shooting a lot of random stuff.

When we got back to the Tower later, without really planning too or talking about it, we ended up doing our own separate things; Gerry started cataloguing a lot of the art objects and paintings around the Tower, and i sat down to work on some tracks of my own, trying a different working method where i'd apply a short time limit to working on each, moving on to a new track after an hour. I managed to do about 4 tracks, not finished, just sketches, of which there seemed to be a few decent ideas in there, although i haven't yet had time to return to them. Again, late night was a similar pattern of smoking around the fire, taking turns to run downstairs and make coffee.

Tuesday, the library in town is open, and we planned to go check email and upload some pictures to Flickr. We got along to discover the library was suffering a power outage and wasn't open. The librarian said to check back in a few hours. After a brief cold walk to the outskirts of town we heading back, and decided to go for an afternoon pint in one of the pubs. What a roaring fire they had, and never having been much of a big guiness fan, i was very pleased to find how well it went down. After a few pints we headed out again and found the library open. Dodgy slow internet connection, and the beer pressing on the bladders meant we didn't stay too long, picked up some food and made it back to the Tower. When we got home i started dabbling with a lot of the sound recordinds i had made, and gerry went about the house collecting some of his own sound recordings. We moved onto a new theory for approaching the music, thinking we could use our sound sources and try to make an early 90's era ambient house record, a nod towards the KLF album 'Chillout', which would still seem somewhat along the lines of what we had been attempting. We pieced together a lot of the separate sound recordings into somewhat of a narrative, starting out with the doorbell going, footsteps walking towards the door, opening, closing, walking sounds, outdoor sounds, camera snapping sounds, and underneath this whole lot we added some low dark bass and a slow 303 acid line. After a few hours tweaking about with it, we had a finished piece. We sat back by the fire, coffee in hand, spliff alit, and listened to our finished piece. It wasn't brilliant, but i think we both felt happy to have compeleted something, even if it was not perfect.

Wednesday, apart from a trip to the shops for food and supplies, we didn't leave the Tower, working away on collecting more sounds and video. Evening time we settling down in making another piece, this time we decided to not have any synths at all, and stick to sounds exclusively recorded around the Tower. This piece ended up being our strongest of the week i think, the one more closely associated with the Towers environs and atmosphere. Its the track called 'Garrison of Two' in the EP of the same name. More than just an audio collage it felt like a track submerged in the Tower, with a real atmosphere to it and a progression to the track. Late, the night before we had been listening to some Polmo Polpo, and i definitely think that was on my mind when we were working on this track. As we sat back around the fire to have a listen to the evening's work, i think we were both really pleased with this one, and how the combination of our sounds seemed to compliment each others without stepping on each others toes or competing to be heard in the mix. We had this one finished reasonably early in the evening, and decided to revisit the track from the night before, re-recording it without the synths, stripping it back to only audio sources from around the Tower too.

Thursday we went out for a drive around the coast and to see something outside of Cushendall. Snow had been following and the coast looking beautiful. It was a relaxing afternoon and we got a lot more footage and sound recorded from the day out. Still in the afternoon when we got home, i started work on another piece using a sound recording i had just made of some guys working outside our door of the Tower, the track which became 'Anniverary's Over', a very simple piece based around a repeating bass constructed out of the sound of a passing car, and that one field recording of the guys talking and working. It came together very quickly and seemed to work well in its simpleness, so we added that to the growing EP. Later, Gerry suggested an unrelated acid jam on the computers, which ended up being excellent fun, with no pressure to be part of the week's work. Gerry programmed the drums and set up the whole song structure, getting to work on some squelchy acid lines, while i stuck to finding some nice disco and vocal samples to chop and lace around his structure, and also settling on nice bmore break to spice up the progression. We finished off all the smoke we had by the end of the evening, but again, both quite happy with our outcome.

Friday being our last day, we spent a good amount of time cleaning the tower up, and had a good walkbout town and down the beach. We had been told there was a baby seal hanging out on the beach for the past few days, but unfortunately we couldn't find it. Our plan for the last evening was to go to one of the other local pubs, this one known for its live traditional music during weekends. After a nice big plush steak dinner in the adjacent restaurant we headed into the pub, slightly earlier than the musicians, finding a warm reception from the pub's landlady who told us a bit about the history of the place, and led us into the room to the front of the pub where the musicians would gather. The pub was crazy, unchanged since the early 1800's and made up of several small rooms, almost like a converted house. The room we were in was no larger than an average sized living room. Before long, some of the musicians were turned up, men ranging in age from about 40 to 70, who all lived in neighbouring towns and came down to this pub every friday night for impromptu sessions. The room being so small, we immediatelty got talking to them, and again were very warmly received. I've never been a fan of traditional music. be it scottish or irish, but being so close to the music being played with so much passion, so well, and so intimately, it was impossible not to fall in love with it. An absolutely amazing night to finish the weeks stay.

By the end of the week, i had completed a large sketch portraying me and gerry standing in front of the tower, and we had burned a copy of our four tracks to a cd, which we taped into our page's entry of the Journal Tome. Looking forward to getting back home to some heat and warmth, and also pick up some smoke, it was still with a sad wave we took leave of the Tower on our departure on saturday morning.

aiight, that still leaves out a lot of details, but i think that captures most of the weeks events, i'll post this now, and me and Gerry can keep adding to it!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

"Garrison of Two" web EP now available for download

We've uploaded the four tracks we recorded in Cushendall, as a web EP available for download from the highpoint lowlife website here.

Four tracks:

1. A Walk In Cushendall
2. Garrison Of Two
3. Anniversary's Over
4. Turnley's Acid

The first three are composed entirely of sounds we recorded in and around the tower during our stay, and the fourth was our acid jam on night 6!

Direct EP download here

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Curfew Tower

Hello. Welcome to A Garrison of Two, our place to ramble inconsequentially about our stay in The Curfew Tower, Cushendall, County Antrim where we, namely Gerry Moore and Thorsten Sideb0ard, were artists in residence between November 29th and December 6th 2008.

Sideb0ard + Moore

Thorsten has already written quite an extensive preamble on his blog, so rather than repeat that here, go take a look. As it turned out our stay was most productive. We produced three pieces of audio (music?) which stuck closely to the guidelines laid out for our residence, in that the art we produced must reflect The Tower and / or its environs. We also prduced another track where we jammed on some acid, just for fun. :)

This blog is where we intend to post the media produced and muse on what was a truly memorable week.

Also worth reading: Thorsten's post Tower post at HPLL

hmm, yoghurt!

Cushendall one - yoghurt days from thorsten sideb0ard on Vimeo.