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scott allison and ben owen - untitled (for agnes martin) (cd)


ARTIST // scott allison and ben owen
LABEL // senufo editions (it)
CAT // senufo041ct


in 2009, allison and owen met in brooklyn with the intention to record 5 minute 'songs' for a potential lathe cut release. deciding to work within this duration and potential medium, they made several improvisation's based on a set of changing environments (instruments) for each new piece. allison's instrument's include field recordings, sine waves, and contact mic; owen's instruments include a speaker with rose pedals, various oscillators, radio with fm transmitter, and contact mic'ed surfaces with objects. this meeting documents decisive marks each person has explored in and out of the studio.

the decision was made to translate the recordings to the medium of acetate record allowing the medium to play it's hand in the compression of frequency as well as the mediums degradation through it's playback. time became an important element in the fate of the work. it was during the period of listening and exploring the collaboration that allison came to agnes martin's painting "garden", and found it harmonious and tied to the subtle tracing of movements and repetitive marks of recording each 'song'; lending meaning in each pass as to the integrity of extended viewing of her work.

allison writes "while at the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden in washington dc, I came across a canvas by agnes martin titled "garden". the work is composed of a grid of horizontal and vertical lines sitting on a square of canvas maybe six by six feet. at first sight the work appeared extremely mechanical and cold. but upon closer inspection, i found the canvas contained wonderful warm non-mechanical details. for example, the lines making up the grid appear to be created with colored pencil's, not what I would consider a hard industrial material. then i noticed the grid is not just a single grid, but precisely drawn lines repeated over top of each other in many colors. the stacked lines seemed to move and shift as one might expect from being drawn onto a canvas by hand. I was awe struck by martin's seemingly simple statement of a cold mechanical grid, that in reality is composed of a long drawn out human process, much like gardening. circling back to the idea of martins canvas as a garden made sense for us in relation to the music we had created. "garden's" openness and non-narrative form lent itself to the openness of our sonic form. using field recording's, radio transmission's and various texture's, we in a way, created gardens from sound, finding ways to bring a human sensitivity to mechanical tools".