Joined Apart reviewed by The Penthouse

My new album Joined Apart has been reviewed on the website of The Penthouse where I conducted a residencies for their Noise Above Noise program earlier this year and previously their artist residency in 2013. It's a very nice article with some good observations and descriptions of what's going on in the work and the story behind it.

Below is a copy of the text from the review.

The pace of this album punctuated by the 10 individual sound pieces make for a slow and considered listening experience. Calls of something about to happen or having just happened echo in and out- joining up disparate beginnings and ends. There is expectation, loss, hope- sometimes trundling, sometimes arriving, sometimes a long ending.
 Gary Fisher is an artist working with sound, objects, tape and performance as part of a practice that is an ongoing improvisation- a constant process of accumulating, appropriating, sounding and shedding objects and DIY instruments. His work is currently more minimal than it has been at times in the past- with what seems to be explorations into restriction- as both an academic task and because of situations that change within his life.
In 2014 he moved from home town Salford to  London for his MA in Sound Art at London Communication College where he studied under such lecturers as David Toot (experimental musician, author, and professor and chair of audio culture and improvisation) and carried out a number of projects including performing as part of Sculpture/ Allan Kaprow’s YARD at The Hepworth Gallery,  an ensemble performance with Christian Marclay and Thurston Moore at White Cube and his MA show Constantly Evolving but Never Ending curated by Irene Revell (Electra Productions). Love, life and art then took him to Italy where he lived briefly and also took part of a project titled Flea Market with Gilda Manfring at Venice Biennial by Rob Pruitt where Gary extended his explorations into objects and their prescribed function vs imagined functioned as musical instruments.
On his return to Manchester for his Noise Above Noise residency with us here at The Penthouse in Manchester he carried on his investigations into minimal set ups and uses of found objects with some simple yet effective improvisations with paper, a found metal cabinet, radio and self publishing. We curated the performance event to also present new performance works by Matt Dalby (as Tear Fet) – a long time collaborator- and also Helmut Lemke his tutor who introduced him to sound art at Salford University.
And then things seemed to come to a beginning or an end. A relationship ended. An unexpected return home. Back to the start or not at all?
We all go through transitional periods, things change. What this work demonstrates is what happens if an artist can create through these times- pulling together a variety of events, experiences and feelings over a  certain section of life.
The album communicates a long period of time- a document of a series of changes- a document of a number of places. More obvious sound sources such as trains literally makes it feel like you are being moved toward the horizon slowly- with the tension bolstered in parts by chaotic crashing cymbal and dramatic delayed electronics as with track 3 ‘Both Channels’. Ambient sounds linger on penetrated by sharp short interferences, silent pauses, effected electronics, distortion, and tinkered with metal and objects as with track 5 'Broken Square’. And it all swells into one interesting and very worth while journey- Joined Apart. 
You can buy Gary Fisher’s new album Joined Apart via bandcamp for only £4 as a digital download. 
Proceeds go towards a different physical release on vinyl later this year, so you can buy an artwork and also help fund a future one for a small amount of money.


Joined Apart out now. New digital album

My new self-released digital album Joined Apart is out now at Bandcamp
Full download is £4

Featuring 10 new compositions of electronics, tapes, records, objects, found sounds, words, accidents, coincidences, echoes...

A transistor radio signal lost between Italian radio stations, a record crackles, a piano is pushed from a window in some dreamlike sequence, an old Casio fades in and out, traffic passes on a London street, plastic beads become rainfall… 
Joined Apart was formed over a number of years and was recorded, mixed, edited and remixed at different times and places in Manchester, London and the countryside in Northern Italy. Found sounds, found objects, rediscovered tracks, new improvisations, field recordings, scraps of forgotten or unfinished works are brought together by a combination of analogue and digital techniques and improvised processes- too many to remember what was done where. Inspired in parts by found materials, journeys, isolation, bleak landscapes, accidents, coincidences and finding and losing love. The cover photo is taken from a train arriving in Oxford Road station, Manchester

Some reflections on the making of the album

Joined Apart features 10 new compositions made from samples, found sounds, bits of old unused recordings spanning a few years composed and mixed in 2015. It became an album almost by accident. While trying to make some new works I decided to find some of my old stuff to listen to and found a number of sound files and unfinished tracks I never used for one reason or other. Some where more recent Logic projects and some where MP3s of finished recordings. Some of these were remixed and edited and some parts used in new compositions. One track has the left channels removed and the right channels remixed into a kind-of-stereo. In another an electric piano bass line is lifted from an unfinished 'song' and used to add some rhythm to an otherwise abstract composition. That bass line is probably the most musical thing ever to features in one of my compositions. The new material I was working on using samples from records and tapes, electronics and synthesiser gradually became collaged and mixed with bits of the old stuff I was finding. The process became about repurposing the material, cutting, pasting, rearranging meaning every track has had some part of it or been entirely composed in a computer program though the elements of improvisation are still there and on some tracks parts were improvised in real time along with the arranged elements. To me the album sounds rough or unfinished in places. I don't mind this as I usually feel like nothing I make is finished it just arrives at a place where I think it is interesting enough and I am happy to share it.
Most of the tracks were mixed and finished in Manchester in May and June 2015. The album was published on 23 June 2015.

The personal story behind this work is one of discovery and change. The short version is: In 2013 I was living in Manchester and had already been recording, performing and exhibiting as an artist. I was suffering with severe depression and came to the conclusion that I should leave Manchester to get a new perspective on my life. I applied for a Master's in Sound Arts at The London College of Communication, what I considered to be a long shot but worth a try. I got a place on that course and before I knew it I was quitting my job and moving to London in December of 2014. I was studying full time and trying to survive in London. The course gave me access to so many great people and opportunities and really helped me galvanise my idea of what my work was and what I wanted to do as an artist. I met a girl on the course, we started living together and she basically saved my life. We stayed in Italy for a few months and tried to work out a life together but by the time I finished this album that relationship had ended and I was back in Manchester. The story is not important to the listening of the album but for me all the experiences and events are part the composition as much as the sounds.

Some notes on the individual tracks

These can also be found with the release in Bandcamp

01 Right Channels
Tapes, cymbals, objects, Buddha Machine, electronics, keyboards. The right channels from what was originally a stereo mix re-mixed into a kind of stereo. Originally recorded in 2012 and remixed in 2015.
02 Falling Piano Dream
A record for tuning a bass guitar, a record for testing stereo turntable equipment, a real found recording of a piano falling from a window.
03 Both Channels
Original version of Right Channels with both left and right output mixed in stereo. Tapes, objects, Buddha Machine, cymbals. With the sound of a tape recorder breaking under the strain of misuse.
04 Maria With Object And Bow
Recordings of radio static from the middle of the North Italian countryside and an improvisation with a metal object and bow recorded in London some months earlier. Radio Maria is an Italian Catholic radio station.
05  Broken Square
Mini digital synthesiser, square wave tone generator, toy keyboard and an electromagnetic pickup coil channeling internal electrical sounds from the computer during recording.
06 Ten Stage Phaser Version 1
Loops and echoes of mini digital synthesiser, square wave tone generator, radio static, electromagnetic pickup coil channeling internal electrical sounds from the equipment.
07 Listen The Birds
A composition from an old set of records of European bird sounds. Some parts of the records contain background sounds of ocean waves, trains, church bells.
08 Owl Factory
Including sounds from the Nintendo Gamecube startup screen, found cassettes and a toy keyboard. The sudden ending is accidental due to a power failure during recording.
09 Records And Chimes
Improvising with turntables and records to a borrowed recording of hands playing with the chimes of a broken clock.
10 Walk In Plastic Rain
A field recording from a walk in London 

A recording of plastic beads in a flat in Manchester 
An excerpt from a reading of a short story about meetings, coincidences and heartbreak 
A borrowed recording of hands playing inside a broken clock 
A bass line from a song written on electric piano in a half-built house


2015 Update: Manchester, Todmorden, Venice

A short report of what I've been doing during the last few months including a specially recorded new track, a residency and performances at Noise Above Noise and an exhibition in Venice. I have also been recording, mixing and editing a new release of experimental recordings to be released soon I will write about in a separate post.

Hoor de Vogels / Listen The Birds new recording for the opening of Fundevogel space
In April the Fundevogel space opened in Todmorden, West Yorkshire as a new DIY venue for arts and sound events. At the opening celebration there was an exhibition and concert by specially invited artists. I recorded a new piece of bird-themed sound work for the exhibition.

"A collage of sounds from a series of 18 vinyl records of various European bird sounds. Originally released in Holland and the UK for bird enthusiasts, here the records, found in a   record stall in Manchester some years ago, become a curiosity, a discovery from a time passed and a found material to inspire new compositions."


Noise Above Noise residency at The Penthouse, Manchester

During April 2015 I was artist in residence for the Noise Above Noise program at The Penthouse, a residency of working on new live sound works for performance. I was staying in Italy during the first few months of 2015 with a now ex-partner and flew to Manchester with a very limited set of materials from which to develop new work. These included a vibration speaker, an old pocket transistor radio and some guitar pegs.

Arrangement of objects in the studio, Noise Above Noise 2015

With my limited budget I bought a 10 metre long roll of paper and experimented with interacting with it and the kinds of sounds I could make, both with contact microphones and purely acoustic. This formed the basis of one of the live performances. I made a series of videos of experimenting with materials found around the space and on the street in Manchester including: a metal file drawer, broken digital radio and a jug full of screws.

Noise Above Noise 2015 Youtube videos playlist

Also during the residency a new series of prints were made by taking thoughts and ideas about sound that were not necessarily fully formed and then printing them letter by letter with black ink onto A3 graph paper. The process of printing them rather than just writing them down meant they became more permanent works and tangible artworks based on not particularly precious ideas.

Birdcall Print and hand-made birdcall instrument 2015

Noise Above Noise performances with Matt Dalby and Helmut Lemke

24/04 + 25/04, 2015

NAN Residency Special flyer

Towards the end of the residency two performance events took place with myself and friends and fellow artists Helmut Lemke and Matt Dalby as Tear Fet each performing experimental solo sound works. Tear Fet made an uncompromising vocal improvisation and Helmut set up an apparently complicated contraption for listening to the sounds of the environment through the vibrations in the glass of the windows and made a visual representation of the sounds.

The first of my performances took place in The Penthouse corridor and involved the large paper roll with two contact microphones and two amplifiers. The paper was unrolled along the corridor with the audience sitting and standing along one side, it was then pulled, dragged, scratched, screwed up folded and thrown around in the corridor causing a range of small and loud, amplified and acoustic sounds. Later I made a second improvised performance using a 'scrap guitar' made from found wood, the guitar pegs, a tuna can and some strings from toy guitar bough from a charity shop. Found objects were played against the strings in a succession of sound making actions.

The second event was held at the Fundevogel space in Todmorden, West Yorkshire and was another improvisation with the scrap guitar and some electronics. A last minute decision was made to time the performance based on a recording I found in my mobile phone of a field recording made while walking in London from Elephant and Castle to the South Bank. The phone was included in the set up and parts of the recording were mixed with the rest of the improvisation as it played in real time.