Simon Wickham-Smith

(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Since 1990, English soundsculptor Simon Wickham-Smith (1968) has recorded a number of albums with Richard Youngs in a simpler, quasi-psychedelic format.

His own (cheap) recordings include Giladji (Giardia, 1999), based on drones of glass harmonica, Butterfly Dust (VHF, 1999), based on improvisations on organ, voice, reed, and dijeridu, Adelaide Audio (VHF, 2000), Dyro (PseudoArcana, 2002), Murrinh Kulerrkkurrk (Rhizome, 2003).

The most interesting of his albums is probably Extreme Bukake (VHF, 2002), where he turns to computer-based collages inspired by Buddhist and Catholic (Ave Regina Caelorum) religious music (heavily processed and distorted chants, new-age angelic psalms, dissonant drones from hell).

Unreleased compositions include the spoken-word experiments of Multiple Tongues (1999).

The highlight of Rapt (Disposable Thumb, 2004) is the 35-minute Heaven's Gate Sankirtan, one of his most terrifying compositions, that manipulates funereal chanting to achieve a sense of overwhelming spirituality.

Twofordancin' (2005) marked a turn towards dance music, although a very hallucinated kind of dance music, sort of a cross between Massive Attack's trip-hop and David Byrne's ambient ethnic music.

Buckminsterfullerene/ Pange Lingua Gloriosi (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, 2005) contains a disc of ambient world-music and a disc of abstract soundsculpting.

The triple-disc Three4listnin (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, 2007), composed over the course of eight years, continued the dance experiment of Twofordancin' with a 28-minute house jam (recorded in 1999), and also delivered the ambient piece Sealight (2000), the shoegazing drone-scape The Horizontality Of Saskatchewan (2002), the subliminal Cool Memories (2004) and Cool Memories II (2005), the 45-minute electronic poem Angels And Birds And The Coming Of Night (2004) and a 48-minute live performance of glitch music (2007).

Love & Lamentation (Pogus, 2008) collects works of the new millennium that focus on the human voice. Samples of a Japanese zen prayer and an Erik Satie organ piece yield Sandokai (2001). The composer considered The Kin-Kindness of Beforehand (2003) as the most complex of his "Multiple Tongues" pieces. Like the others, it scours a vast range of vocal registers, each manipulated to further enhance its unique features and sometimes contrasted one against the other to extract further meaning. The real highlight of the collection, though, is the 43-minute three-movement Love & Lamentation (2004) for samples and electronics, that uses Turkish folk music and skipping dance beats (first movement), harsher digital manipulation of voices and hypnotic repetition (second movement), distorted trumpet fanfares and dilated choirs (the third, moving movement).

A Seventh Persimmon (Tape Drift, 2009) contains three lengthy pieces, of which the 29-minute Ursa Minor harks back to Eno's anemic music for airports and the 21-minute Keyboarding explores a highly chromatic and pulsating alter-universe.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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