Michael Ridge and Hal McGee
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Review by Jerry Kranitz:
Michael Ridge is a UK based multimedia artist who joins Hal on two 30 minute sound collages. Reading the list of sound sources used by each artist is a hoot, running the gamut from heavy rainfall in a courtyard garden, Tibetan Buddhist digital chant machine, children’s sound effects cassette, cell phone conversations, Steim Cracklebox, dog squeaky toys, and the lists go on, though there’s also Korg Monotron and synthesizers.
A trademark characteristic of Hal’s audio art is day-in-the-life conversations from work, phone and out and about on the town. I like the oddly rhythmic crackling pattern that sounds like rain pouring in the living room and lays the foundation for pretty much everything else that occurs for the first portion of the set. We have a mishmash of conversational ephemera, plus electronic tones, squalls and general playfulness. At times the electronics sound like a gaggle of chattering robots, and at others like a lo-fi Jazz jam. The juxtaposition of elements is always fun, like when an old saucy Blues song crackles on the turntable, sometimes slowed to a drag, while Hal engages in chitchat and an ensemble of percussion, sounds and voices engage in a raucously free-wheeling jam. A chanting Native American shaman accompanies a succession of voices, an electronic kazoo and other sundry sounds, before being replaced by first a somber keyboard melody and then what sounds like a toy piano, both of which keep company with a similar chain of audio events. I really dig the toy piano and squeaky toy jam. The incessant high pitched tone accompanied by choppy noise patterns and breathy horn is unsettling and intriguing. Overall a fun assemblage of audio parts and pieces.
UK based multimedia artist Michael Ridge (Zebra Mu) joins Hal McGee on this light-hearted, lo fi and offbeat transatlantic microcassette collaboration. Featuring an eclectic array of sound sources intricately patch worked together over two 30 minute collages.
Idle Chair Gem
Michael Ridge sound sources:
Heavy rainfall in our courtyard garden, Boca ticket printer, 1920's unbranded wind-up gramophone, The Chicago Blues by Bill Snyder and his Orchestra 78rpm record, telephone pick-up coil, Netgear Wireless N Cable Gateway, Gigaset A220A telephone, a random voicemail, Victorian prison crank machine, elevator, Tibetan Buddhist digital chant machine, FM3 Buddha Machine 3, tin winding music box, Nintendo Wii, Virgin Media TV Box, Sony DVD player, circuit bent talking picture frame, circuit bent Panasonic cassette player, children's sound effects cassette, handheld fan, vuvuzela and Marshall MS-2 amplifier.
All sounds captured live on an Olympus Pearlcorder S600 Microcassette Recorder in my studio, living room, kitchen and Norwich Castle Museum, August 2013.
Hal McGee sound sources:
PDF of the scan of the original, cell phone conversation with my dad, Mark McGee playing the gong, obligatory urination sounds, my dog Stanley barking, sounds and voices from Apartment Music 23 (with the participation of Jiblit Dupree, Andrew Chadwick, Rauh, Hell Garbage, Fiver's Stereo, A.J. Herring, Mark McGee), talking with the apartment manager lady; Korg Monotron, Duo and Delay synthesizers; Steim Cracklebox, cockroach hunting story, dog squeaky toys, a magnifying stream of light, was the bull amused?, when seeking what you quest, Code Red, Pignose amplifier, etc.
Recorded with a Sony M-470 microcassette recorder, August 2013 and February 2014.
Artwork by Michael Ridge
Audio mix by Hal McGee
A microcassette collaboration recorded August 2013 and February 2014 in Gainesville, Florida, USA and Norwich, Norfolk, UK.