Julia Reidy is Sydney born guitarist and composer now based in Berlin. She plays in Tennis of All Kinds (with bassist Adam Pultz Melbye) and PALES (with percussionist Samuel Hall), though has also released a number of solo recordings, most featuring her 12 string acoustic guitar on the likes of Feeding Tube, Slip, and Opalmine. Her most recent release is Beholder, issued on Room40 offshoot label A Guide to Saints. It’s a fascinating experimental work that blends a unique take on pastoral guitar, with improvisational gestures, field recordings and synthesizer. It’s quite difficult to place. With this in mind we took the opportunity to ask about the music that moves her.
This from Julia:
Here are 10 of my more-recent musical influences. I chose to focus on music/musicians I’ve personally encountered in a live setting, that have left a strong impression on me.
1. Sydney-based duo of Shota Matsumura and Andrew Fedorovitch using torturously detuned guitars and introspective murmuring, creating boundlessly desolate scenes of desperate melancholy. Their forms are fleshed-out and stumbley, their pieces roll out like dream-state, drugged-up folk medleys. They make films, installations, albums, poems, I’d recommend seeing them in concert for the full effect. For fans of lo-fi sound quality and uneasy feels.
2. Laurie Tompkins makes astonishingly strange music. HWSL exemplifies his particular strain of hyper-episodic eclecticism, cathartic group-shouting and hitting of things, riddled with obscure references, forced audience engagement and the abuse of many common objects – this guy had nothing to do with any of the cool-things-happening-in-Berlin when I stumbled upon him, and thank god I did.
3. Currently based in Stockholm, Andreas Dzialocha‘s work was brought to my attention firstly through his piece for improvisors entitled ‘NOR’ – a composition/interface that uses OSC-JS and Ableton to create an artificial environment for communicating within an improvised music context. This turned out to be only a surface-scratching moment to the rest of his deep and multi-faceted body of work – my favourite of which being his heartbreaking solo bass guitar/electronics music.
Refined, controlled and yet gutsy as heck – Andreas’s music has the mind of a computer and the soul of a human being – the results happen to end up in tantalisingly glittery gorgeous sonic paradise, so perhaps there is hope for humanity after all…
4. The Chorales of Lucie Vítková are a series of short pieces constructed mainly from various acoustic instruments, and held vocal tones. The in/compatibility and fragility of these sounds are all on display within these pieces, microtonal spaces between the higher voice of a piano chord and an out-of-breath human voice in its approximation of a sustained pitch jumping out as one of many delicate and accidental artefacts of this beautifully intricate sound mosaic. The link is here.
5. Sunrise Over a Distopic Future City is the collision of the rough, choppy drum wizardry of Christian Tschuggnall and the fiercely bold and eclectic synth domination of Liz Kosack. Self-described as ‘maximalist’, this band jumps between grindcore-esque brutalism and stretched-out doomscapes via anything from glitchy breakbeat to some terrifying cowboy lullaby. I saw them for the first time at Studio 8 in Wedding – a particular context which made me appreciate how different this music is to much else happening in that place at that time.
6. Manuel Lima performed 36 Lessons in Berlin last year – a collage of material consisting of synthesised, recorded and found audio – from YouTube. The content is a drawn from instructions, followed from ‘randomly generated instructions dictated to him from a Python script’. What affected me about his performance, and later listened to the album with an idea of his approaches in making it, was how comprehensive the piece felt, despite its varied miscellaneous content and the feeling of detachment that comes with hearing so many contrasting snippets of information from disparate sources.
For me, the way it’s all held together by the entrance and exit of warm synth drones, narrated translations (or ‘lessons’, as it’s put) evokes an underpinning sense of loneliness, that seems evident only through the transparency of a human being executing automatisms.
7. Alex Spence‘s cut-up landscapes offer tactility and abstraction, distance and intimacy. She performed this a couple months ago at Ausland, Berlin, and stole the show. She’s lived in Canada and Australia over recent years, with many adventures in between, ostensibly finding their way via flickering grabs of field recordings, tiny loops of conversation, poised clarinet mastery and various other good-sounding things.
Her body of work is varied, detailed and incredibly considered. I think her performance style is brave, unique and incredibly sensitive and that her choice of material reflects long processes of experimentation and thoughtful decisions.
8. Installation artist, instrument builder and musician Klaas Hübner’s SOG is a documentation of various encounters between man and mechanism – presented as raw, stripped-down instances of singular performances. A highlight for me are the various iterations of his work with whirly tubes, as in Single Tube and Music for Ceiling Fan and Tubes, which offer hauntingly ethereal voice-like wails and feels reminiscent of folk music of an estranged extra terrestrial species…
9. Merry Peers are Yoshiko Klein and Brad Henkel – synthesiser and trumpet, respectively. Long-arcing trajectories packed with a million micro-adventures featuring a disorienting mixture of acoustic and electronic sounds navigated by seamless segues or sharp cuts. The experience I’ve had listening to this band is at the very least one of unrelenting captivation, if not also being awestruck by their instrumental mastery, decisive twists and turns, or moved to tears by a vocoder poem over other-worldly synth passages..
10. Warsaw-based LOTTO delineate paths through dark-as-fuck textures, over churned out relentless minimal grooves. Slow-evolving pieces crammed with much detail, one’s focus can hone in or zoom out to at some point realise that they’ve been taken far from where they started. I saw them perform shortly after ASK THE DUST surfaced – which draws broader and more reckless brushstrokes across tumbling and undulating ‘scapes – V V, their newest, is one of razor-sharp focus and steadfast persistence.
You can find Julia Reidy’s Beholder here.