2015: Robert Millis

2015: Robert Millis

Robert Millis.

2015: Robert Millis

Publicerad: tis, 2015-12-15 21:59

In January Jewel of the Ear, a collaboration with Swiss sound artist Gilles Aubry, played our first show through the ridiculously enormous speakers at Berghain in Berlin. No sex in the bathroom, that was for the later techno crowd, but the performance, in quadrophonic, was broadcast live on Deutschland radio AND I got to use a Telefunken PS81 turntable--a monstrosity with a 16 inch platter that weighed more than me. Best turntable I have ever had the pleasure of destroying records on. Later in the year, Jewel of the Ear played about ten shows in Europe in October including a magical one at Paris’ Phono Museum. No Telefunkens for the tour but instead I used a lovely portable wind up gramophone called a Mikkiphone, made in Japan in the early 1930s. Built as solidly and heavily as the Telefunken, all metal, but tiny and compact and purely acoustic.

Further highlights: speaking at the inauguration of Sunny’s Gramophone Museum in India; a 32 show tour in the USA, playing guitar and singing among other untoward pursuits (thanks to Sir Richard Bishop for this); spending several days at a research institute in Ranchi India (researching shellac--the material from which 78rpm Gramophone discs were made); scoring the feature documentary film Drawing the Tiger. Playing in Butcher Cover (covering the LP Rawvulva in its entirety) was far more fun than it should have been. And finally the highest highlight was seeing the completion and release of my book Indian Talking Machine on Sublime Frequencies.

My usual jogging back and forth between sound art, song writing and the era of 78rpm records.

But enough about me; musical encounters that have resonated with me this year (though not necessarily from this year) include:

  1. Radio Vietnam (compiled by Mark Gergis) on Sublime Frequencies
  2. Shawn McMillen – On The Clock W/ JJ & Mitch on 12XU
  3. Mark Vernon’s field recordings (not to mention a very strange marionette ventriloquy performance exploration of the notorious Kray Twins)
  4. Jonathan Ward’s always excellent Excavated Shellac posts
  5. Phong Tran’s posts on Sarkari Shorts
  6. getting my first, and so far only, Zohra Bai 78rpm record (an outstanding Hindustani vocalist)
  7. revisiting Eliane Radigue’s work especially Psi 847 and the Trilogy de la Mort.
  8. discovering Annapurna Devi’s sitar and surbahar playing.
  9. Finding several more of Hugo Zemp’s ethnographic LPs--Zemp is a Swiss-French ethnographer who has made some amazing recordings in the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, and Papua New Guinea.

Robert Millis

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