BenedictDrew
Crawling Through
TorySlime
PRESS PACK LP DIGITAL COVER ART
1 2 3 4 5 Benedict Drew SIDE A 24:30 33 r p m MANA Crawling Through Tory Slime 47min Released May, 2017 LP in an edition of 300. Vinyl mastered and cut at D&M. Includes a double-sided A3 risograph poster, with a new commissioned text by the artist and writer Dane Sutherland, entitled Crawling Through Tory Slime (Acid Pessimism Mix). Design by Benedict Drew and Gustavo Eandi. Mastered for digital release by Benny Ill. Bandcamp iTunes Amazon Spotify Google Play

«It’s a kind of image, this country submerged in sticky gloop excreted by the neo-liberal machine. And us crawling around half blind through the sludge searching for refuge under a huge mountain of ill fitting Primark clothes. We nest in the synthetic fibres gasping for breath.

Something like that anyway.

Seems like reality to me.»
Benedict Drew (2017)

Working at an intersection of sound, video, performance, installation, and visual art, Benedict Drew is known for a shifting multi-format practice that engages with social and political concerns, piecing together narratives that pulse with the anxiety, comedy and tragedy of an ever stretching reality. Crawling Through Tory Slime is his debut long-playing record.

With empty stomach, vapour-filled pasty, vacant retail unit; each vessel and space Drew conjures over the record’s run-time rattles with a nakedly visible and politically-motivated abjection. In these sonic landscapes the strange and the surreal emerges in a wild and pictorial orchestration, just as frequently silly as sharp or sour, luridly manifesting in caked mud and cow pats and slime and toads. Sound shimmers, purrs and coalesces into a vivid psychedelic pasture, a material presence colliding with ad-hoc digital rendering to hark at electroacoustic physiognomy, science-fiction, and the very outer rim of rhythm and machine music caught in a state of near collapse.

The fear of the real, the dispossession of the fantasy. An emotional tide of anxiety rises to sweat gravy and dread all over.

Born in 1977 in Australia, Benedict Drew is an artist working with film, drawing, sculpture and music. His practice provides broad and eccentric viewpoints into the chaos and humdrum of modern living, fluidly moving between the mediums of art and sound to create pieces that present an immersive, critical and conversational approach.

Having graduated from Slade School of Fine Art in 2011, Drew was a LUX Associate Artist from 2011-12, and is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London.

Amongst others, he has held exhibitions at the Derry Centre for Contemporary Art, Cell Project Space London, Walker Gallery, and Norwich Outpost. Participation in group shows has included exhibitions at the ICA, Jerwood Space, Adelaide and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

Beyond a strong presence in the visual arts, Benedict Drew holds a long-standing and unique reputation in London’s experimental and underground music scene. For nearly five years he worked as a producer for the London Musician’s Collective — including the curation of the LMC's annual festival for several years in the mid 2000s, programming artists like Otomo Yoshihide, Keith Rowe, Andrea Neumann and Bernard Parmegiani.

Drew has participated in a diverse number of collaborative settings. In 2008 he provided a soundtrack to Emily Richardson’s film Cobra Mist using field recordings made by Chris Watson. He performed a series of sculpturally inclined experiments with Sachiko M at the Tate Modern and for the Dundee Kill Your Timid Notion experimental festival in 2008. He has collaborated as a musician and video artist with improvised music trio Cranc, formed by Angharad Davies, Rhodri Davies and Nikos Veliotis. With Decentred, a quartet featuring himself alongside Angharad Davies, Tom Chant and John Edwards, he explored contemporary compositions from an improvisational perspective playing works by Michael Pisaro or John Cage. Decentred released their collaborative explorations on record label Another Timbre in 2009. He was one of an initial 100 artists who provided sound for Mat Jenner's rolling Foam project, an archive of one-off commissioned dubplates that began in 2013.

In 2015 Drew created De Re Touch for the Art on the Underground project, commissioned by Transport for London. An ad-sized video artwork by the artist played on digital screens in over 60 London tube stations over 5 months, embedded within the standard frame of commercial advertisements. He also created an imaginative soundtrack for this unique environment.

He also participated in 2016's British Art Show 8, a major showcase of emerging artistic talent touring the British Isles every five years through cities like Leeds, Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton.

A recent solo musical performance from January 2017 at Cafe OTO is archived on his bandcamp page alongside several other self-released works. He released a cassette tape via patten’s record label Kaleidoscope, Dreamspace of the Burger King Commuter, in 2016.

Drew’s solo exhibition for the Whitechapel Gallery in London, The Trickle Down Syndrome, promises large-scale installations ‘comprised of five connected yet distinct rooms drawing on wide-ranging references, from the stage sets of classic Hollywood cinematographer Busby Berkeley to the Surrealist worlds of artist Max Ernst.’[1] It runs from 7 June - 3 September 2017. A band of experimental musicians convened by Drew will perform within the exhibition space on 1 July as part of Art Night 2017. His debut LP for Mana was developed alongside the exhibition and will be available at the gallery for its duration.

Drew currently teaches at the Slade School of Fine Art, and lives in Whitstable where he maintains a studio art practice.


[1] Whitechapel Gallery: Benedict Drew: The Trickle-Down Syndrome


EXTERNAL RESOURCES

1
Pierre Mariétan Rose Des Vents. Action Musicale

Released April 2017.

2 x 140g Vinyl LP in gatefold sleeve with 15-page A5 risograph insert, mastered and cut by CGB at Dubplates and Mastering in Berlin. Edition of 500.

Digital version engineered for release by Guillaume Billaux; recreated from original analogue quarter inch master tapes as a single long-running composition.

First commissioned by the French Government in 1981, the LP Rose Des Vents. Action Musicale evolved out of a six year project by Swiss composer Pierre Mariétan to document and musicalise the sound environment of urban landscapes within France, creating an inter-geographical auditory map of cities and townships located in the suburban reaches of Paris, including Bezons, Herblay, Montmagny and l’Isle Adam.

Through a mix of field recording, interviews, vegetable market catcalls, braying animals and urban hubbub, Mariétan paints a broad, psycho-acoustically vivid and decentralised profile of metropolitan life from the period; carried to the ear through a coupling with musical studio performance and serialist compositional technique. Over an hour and forty minutes, the recording provides an intersectional and ambient passage through environmental and urban narratives, the radiophonic voice of Ana de Carvalho offering fleeting, poetic orientation with announcements of each titled scene, divining and evoking the sonorous qualities of each landscape as it comes into focus. Each scene tangible yet non-specific, the artist arranging and signalling the possibility of civic and pastoral space as a musical container for spontaneous, sonorous interactions.

Mariétan’s profile is of a rigorous yet open and exploratory composer, utilising principles of chance and curiosity in organising found sound and often negotiating or encouraging encounters with improvisatory gesture or incidental and occurring sound. In 1966 he established the outfit GERM, grouping composers and musicians dedicated to developing new meeting points between composition and improvisation. Members assist in contributing recordings and performances throughout Rose Des Vents, including musical passages on piano, synthesizer, horn and saxophone. These studio pieces, played on saxophone by Daniel Kientzy or piano by Gerard Fremy, recall and redeploy techniques developed over the lifespan of the project, where site-specific actions and concerts were performed within each of the towns.

In many ways, the album is a folding of each facet of the author’s life and work into a single representative culmination. A sympathy towards radiophonic or documentary production values is recognisable—Mariétan produced two iterations of Rose Des Vents. Action Musical for Alain Trutat and Jean Tardieu’s ground-breaking Atelier De Création Radiophonique on Radio France Culture ahead of this LP release—alongside the influence of his work in urban acoustics and research into forms of sound ecology. So too is the obvious pleasure taken in introducing the sweetness of music to children, with notable samples from his educational workshops and sound installations helping to internalise and evoke a sense of inquisitive delight.

It's these components, combined with themes and concerns about the acoustic environment that resonate 30 years later and establish Rose Des Vents as such an approachable, listenable and lovely piece of experimental sound art. The conjuration of an emotional or psychological plane through musical and metaphorical synthesis allows the listener to situate themselves within the montage in a near cinematic manner, discovering an underlying sonority embedded in the psychic atmospheres of communal life.

2
Benedict Drew Crawling Through Tory Slime

Released May, 2017

140g Vinyl LP, housed in a matte reverse-board sleeve with offset printing in an edition of 300. Vinyl mastered and cut by CGB at Dubplates and Mastering, Berlin.

Includes a double-sided A3 risograph poster, with a text by artist and writer Dane Sutherland, entitled Crawling Through Tory Slime (Acid Pessimism Mix). Design by Gustavo Eandi and Benedict Drew.

Wild soundscapes from Benedict Drew, an artist splitting his time between installation art and music that hums and spills over with vivid material encounters; sounds are slurpy, runny, fizzy, spongy, hard as rock.

Following digital releases, a tape for patten’s Kaleidoscope label, a musical score to accompany his De Re Touch video art project commissioned by Transport for London's Art on the Underground, and many active years in London's experimental music scene through work with the London Musicians' Collective, as a solo performer, and via live collaborations with artists including Rhodri Davies, Chris Watson and Sachiko M; Crawling Through Tory Slime is Drew's debut long-playing record.

Music on each of the record's faces bleeds together continuously, recalling long improvisational sets, floor-sucking dub-wise, psychedelia, plunderphonics, and tight GRM-era electronic sound design pieced together with drum machines, cloudy synthesiser, bits n’ bobs. There’s a certain English charm, humour and taste for cheap science fiction and cobbled-together escape routes out of reality that follows a lineage set out by artists like Jeff Keen or Bruce Lacey, reset for the exciting horrors and delights of contemporary life.

Benedict Drew's solo exhibition The Trickle Down Syndrome runs from June to September at the Whitechapel Gallery, designed over the same period as the LP and "drawing on wide-ranging references, from the stage sets of classic Hollywood cinematographer Busby Berkeley to the Surrealist worlds of artist Max Ernst".

3
Diptera 001 [Antenna]

Released June, 2018.

EP in an edition of 300.
Mastered and cut at D&M.

Alternatively banging and evasive, exhausted and unglued. Stepping along the rim of the silver screen. Diptera takes a near electro-acoustic approach to the DNA, texture and pressure of UK Garage with a debut release on Mana comprised of four tracks. Obsessively written over four years and teeming with material detail.

The duo's musical collaboration operates like a relay. Initial tracks made by Activist DJ — short sharp affairs focused on swung drums and darkside — are passed on to Wesley to be broken apart, tinkered with, and slowly refigured into more anxious and impressionistic musical forms, etched with intricacies and mixed fidelity. The result is a distinctive and resourceful excavation of hardcore at its most agile.

A fly on the wall may face some adversity, so if you imagine a human hand in basic swatting motion, maybe you will also couple the image with an evasive manoeuvre of some sort; usually there is a moment of hesitation where the human is unsure whether their aim was true. "Did I catch it?"

4
De Leon

Released early March 2018.

LP in an edition of 300.
Mastered and cut at D&M.

Gamelan and capoeira in dub. The collective behind this doesn’t like to talk much but their music is beautifully conversational. De Leon is the most organic and percussive of their shifting identities, developed on their Aught project in small-run, clear-shell cassette tape releases over the last few years.

They've appreciated a cult interest for their takes on outernational rhythm, field recording, and the tension and relief on the knife-edge of dance music; all delivered with an impressive commitment to anonymity and clarity of vision through cut-and-dried aesthetic minimalism.

These six pieces of music seem formed from wood, metal, air. Dramatic, balletic flourishes and tightly woven interlocking patterns are embedded in slowly changing and "live" atmospheres. The shadow of a hand over the mixing desk makes gradual adjustments to alter the pressure and dimension of the space.

A number of tracks first appeared on De Leon's set for Blowing Up The Workshop in February 2016.

5
Nicolas Jaar Pomegranates

Released August 25th 2018.

Mana is pleased to finally present Pomegranates by Nicolas Jaar as a double LP, with new mastering by D&M. The sleeve is designed by David Rudnick, with labels by Stéphane Jourdan and a new insert created by Jaar collaborator and friend Maziyar Pahlevan.

Longer and slower-releasing than his other albums, Pomegranates often parallels the cinematic epic on which it’s based (Նռան գույնը), with ideas pursued over long timelines and across dark landscapes, assembling elements and moods from the aesthetic and folkloric landscapes of Armenia. Jaar’s identity is perceived within this, folding in his heritage as Palestinian and Chilean as he attempts to build a musical architecture outwards that frames as much of the mess and sprawl of life as possible; using a language that investigates the movement and fluctuation of his own artistic career and character similarly to the film’s tracing of the coming of age of the young poet, Sayat-Nova.

At times, Pomegranates feels profoundly intimate, as though looking through the archive of a friend’s music and discovering the accent and common currency that lives within each of these tracks. Much of Jaar’s most elegant and touching melodic work is nestled here, its power residing in its simplicity and willingness to speak to the heart and not the mind of the listener.

In the text document included in the first freely distributed version of the album in 2015, Jaar writes that the album was conceived during a moment of change, and that the pomegranate became an icon that heralded that passage of time. The physical publication of Pomegranates closes one door whilst opening another, keeping promises and marking a significant point in the career of an artist who restlessly reinvents himself, with a document that illustrates a common language of lyricism, freedom, and emotional resonance linking his many paths and projects.

7
O YAMA O

Released October 2018.

O YAMA O explores a certain domestic and democratic quality of everyday life, born through associations to folk music of Japan and a folding of myth, tradition, and routine; the non-spectacular and the sublime.

Formed of musician and artist Rie Nakajima and Cafe OTO co-founder Keiko Yamamoto, the group has performed since 2014 at venues and festivals such as noshowspace, Ikon Gallery, Wysing Arts Centre, Supernormal, Borealis Festival, Mayhem, and allEars Festival.

Nakajima’s performance often focuses on the use of found and kinetic objects, using modest items such as rice bowls, toys, clockwork, balloons and small motors as instruments to create a “micro orchestra”. Elements are layered into impressive and immersive atmospheres. Yamamoto alternatively floats and charges through this with body and voice; chanting, incanting, thundering, whispering, stamping on the floor.

Their debut album consolidates their musical conversations into keenly paced studio music, the duo working with additional instrumentation and a resolved focus on melody to provide vivid portraits of folkloric Japan in song.

They move between pop and the philosophical, defined by the overall space afforded to texture and movement. In small, delicate sound an intimate musical climate is established that reflects on life, telling stories of improvised clockwork, whispered dreams, small movements of the hand and the rhythm to be found in the shuffle of a deck of cards.

Grandly theatric and dramatic flourishes add solidity to these illustrations, operas driven by the swooping energy and power of Yamamoto’s voice can be playful or emotionally charged, particularly when the duo arrange themselves in ensemble with violinist Billy Steiger and percussionist Marie Roux. Production by David Cunningham creates the shadowy presence of a leftfield Flying Lizards dubwise depth that adds subtle strangeness to the atmosphere. The result is something raw, full-bodied; full of energy, grace and mystery.

Mana is a record label established in 2017 by Andrea Zarza, curator at the British Library Sound Archive, and Blowing Up The Workshop founder Matthew Kent. 

Publishing works at the intersection of contemporary and archival sound, Mana is a platform redrawing narrative boundaries and perspectives through a playful, radical and unexpected approach. 

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