misformed haikku texts

don't mind the above as another possible title, which could also give a thematic focus to everything...

syrup helsinki - it took me a little while to work out the navigation, but it was o.k. once i got that together (though my misnavigation led me to discover that the background reforms every time you reload the site, which is nice). a little cumbersome loading each new piece of work, but not too bad. i get the idea of a different and interesting structure for a site. in terms of content - probably too client driven for me to really enjoy - there's not a specific individual take on anything coming through so it all seems a little generic to me on the whole (there are some very nice things though, don't get me wrong) without any real artist identity. i actually have just read about this company in a new cd & dvd packaging book i bought - there's a few pages devoted to the 'we are escalator records' compilations - though in the book they are in card sleeves rather than the horrible plastic cases on the website.

from all that you've said, i just think it's time you start making art. it's been a long time since you've made art without thinking of it as product - start doing it now. the telafonica bits will come from it, not the other way around.

is 'misformed haikku texts' a solid enough premise? i think it possibly is.


you make that sound like a simple question...

off the top of my head: conceptually i'm interested to traverse layers of process. to take my designs and aesthetic explorations across multiple spaces. to bring digital images into the real environments, take real ones into the digital space and back again... to photograph my computer graphics and re-draw vectors over the top... to scan drawings and manipulate them digitally.

i like the artifacts that develop in these transitions - like a corner of unfocus in an image that only a camera lense can create... or jpeg compression on a painted texture.

in terms of content and form - i hope to be more diciplined to explore certain themes repeatedly - other than starting completely fresh every time i sit down. Specifically, to bring graphic life to my missformed haiku texts... oh and I've been obsessed with dots... and pastel colour gradients...

I guess there's no message or cause other than exploration and expression itself.

telafonica is welcome to anything really.

sweet enough already

what do you think of this site? work and site design...



the what

in your head at the moment, totally separate from telafonica (though that may not be possible because of this process, but anyway), what do you wish to do as a visual artist, conceptually?

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

This all sounds good to me, and confirms that we are again thinking similarly. I would like to develop some kind of plan – as we did with the music – for where we want the work to go… or equally where we want it not to go.

I feel like this sense of agreed direction has significantly helped our process with the sound. It’s given us a beacon at the times we say – I have no idea what to do with this track… I think also with the music the very nature of developing an album has a helpful pre-defined framework within which to operate. This is great because it gives context to artistic decisions… it places limits and expectations about the ultimate end point of the project.

I feel like I’m potentially a broken record when I re-state that for me some sense of exterior and tangible outcome is essential to bring me out of a constant state of flux and into action!

As I’ve mentioned and you’ve picked up, an exhibition would be a great tangible goal for me… as would the new website… an online shop… t-shirts etc. The point I’m at right now is to define the goals more specifically in order to actually begin producing stuff. As an artist some times the definition is as simple and open ended as the paint in your hands and the canvas in front of you… and the process is a raw and natural expression… sometimes for me, it can be more like a design brief where you have limitations, aims and key factors in place before you do anything.

Why do I keep talking about doing instead of just doing? I guess I’m looking to continually interact on a conceptual plane about what is happening… and draw out some kind of mutual sense of direction. I think you’ve defined something of the ‘how’ and I’m turning my attention to the ‘what’ and ‘where’.


an exhibition space close to home?


you driving past my way on the way to a pandas game?

well, why don't we just head back to where this whole thing started? you talked about the clash between wanting to focus on music or on art. from there we have fairly successfully set up a system for the music to progress. and the system was designed to give you space to do art. is it too difficult to blend the ideas of telafonica's visual aesthetic with your own work, heading towards a show or something later in the year? you know that i like the work you do, and our recent discussions confirm that we're both thinking about similar ideas in terms of aesthetics and process. what is missing is content. but i can quite comfortably say that i'm happy for you to begin working towards a show, and i think that telafonica can quite comfortably grow out of that.

if we work it the same way as we are the music, just conversely, then isn't that what we kind of decided back then? just start making art that is aimed at a show. pass me on what you've done for critiquing. i would be very happy with that kind of working relationship, if you are as well. i would imagine that my role could possibly be in suggesting ways to appropriate your work into telafonica. which you would also do. there is a long history of visual artists doing their work and then that being brought very successfully into the visual aesthetic of a band. just have a look at the gorillaz.

i feel the same way about doing everything. posters, albums, shirts, artworks that just stand alone, live visual stuff... i would say, just start making your art. it will fall into place because you have this in your mind anyway. i think the best thing would be to see if you can organise a show. and then go for it. these kinds of things aren't generally given to you unless you already have grabbed a certain level of being known for yourself. i think it's analogous to releasing music through a label. you can hope someone will find you and throw lots of money at you, but really, it's not going to happen. so do it your(our)self.


I've got loops for you at my place...

I'm glad we're on the same page with the visual thinking... not that i'm surprised by that.

Aesthetically I'm interested in tension; that between abstraction and figurative forms, accidental composition and carefully ordered layouts, minimal design and complex chaos, patterns and randomness, Vector clarity and smeard paint, colour and grayscale, unfinished yet perfectly planned.

I like to throw myself into the middle of everything i love, draw something quickly and get out of there before it all becomes too much and I'm torn to pieces.

I also like to avoid doing things i've seen too much.

I feel some sense of clarity of the telafonica aesthetic, which I think will evolve organically, but I really like the idea of creating a diciplined approach in order to push an agenda through to a really well developed point.

I cant think of a better technical approach than what we've discussed to take this forwrd. The thing i need to clarify is outcomes. How can this be more than a website and the odd album cover - In order to really build something significant, what are we actually making? Things to sell, exhibit, wear - design services for other ventures??? Frankly my initial gut reaction when I ask myslef this question is... ALL OF IT, EVERYTHING AND ETC AD NAUSEUM!

We have of course my incredible potential for not bringing projects to life... but I have you to help me do that!!! I think this needs some definition... a plan of sorts.

there are other things I need to respond to, but i'm out of lunch time credit.


the message in the medium?

that's very nice. you've pinpointed quite a few things i've felt but have never really thought about how to formally express, and in doing so you actually clarify a lot of what we are searching for.

there's always a nagging feeling in the back of my mind with collage that it works so much on the aesthetic level that there's no need to do anything other than find the 'cool' kind of images of the time. instead of things that resonate with the artist. it's one reason i think i've never really done successful collage - i can't be happy with just random images.

i agree totally with not defining the aesthetic by the technique/medium. marshall mcluhan would not be happy with us saying that! i think it's fairly clear, though, that what we are after is mechanically reproducable work that is each unique.

are there particular types of images you would imagine you would want to explore? i think we have an aesthetic in mind, but not much in terms of content yet. should it relate to content in terms of lyrics? sounds?


can something be redesigned if it was never designed in the first place?
how do i get access to try stuff out with that? the only settings i can adjust at the moment are whether or not i remain an active contributer!

this blog needs a redesign!


Dirt, Ink and Humming Machinery

It's interesting you should say that, because I've had something of a similar experience. I felt pretty uninterested in print making at uni - which is something I've since come to regret.

I think the tension we've discussed between the humaness of the hand made and the formal perfection of machine printed objects is absolutely alive in this kind of printmaking. For me there's something especially powerful in the combination of disciplined, refined design aesthetics and the freedom of abstract expressionism... it's definitely something I'd love to explore.

I must admit I've tended to become weary of the kind of grainy, pop collage that has been so pushed in the photoshop era - especially when it's combined with so much sentimental, paper faded nostalgia. I think my frustration is something to do with the focus on constructing illusions of vintage; creating a cradle of memory around images which may or may not have weight and worth on their own.

I like images which exist in the time they're created and don't seek to charade as if they've come from somewhere else. This is not to say I'm searching for perfect originality, attempting to ignore all influence and borrow nothing... and I do like collage.

The 'Pop songs...' cover is a good example for me of something that blatantly borrows, but doesn't present to be created in another time. It is the result of the designer re-creating an old technique - not filtering images with an old aesthetic.

It is important to me also, that we see our technical approach as integrated with aesthetic concern, but not as the source of definition. I mean to say that a decision to use screen printing should not define the complete process of creating the image... otherwise our screen prints become just derivative.

the age of print

i have to say, i am incredibly in love with printmaking at the moment, especially screen printing. it's very bizarre, because as an art student all those years ago i hated the idea of printmaking. i think it was mostly because all the printing people were these anally retentive types who were so obsessed with everything being clean and aligned etc etc. i'm finding more and more printmakers who use the process much more like painting though, and this excites me. do you think that tension between the freedom of painting and the mechanical repeatability of printing is possibly what we are after? i mean, i know we've both discussed a desire to create the tension between handmade and mechanically mass produced - i'm just thinking more and more that printing, especially if we push beyond traditional boundaries with it, is exactly that.

and we already have a history of doing it.

image by programmable press



p.s. http://www.moust.com
an aesthetic i like. incredibly tactile, especially the painting work.

elmer takes the corner and it's...it's...it's gone into the back the net off hughes' head!!! :)

bugger. i just wrote a nice literate, in-depth reply, then had a computer crash and lost it all. let's see if i can remember...

the naming of an album is a peculiar thing. what i mostly don't like is earnestness and seriousness in a title. i much prefer oddness, ambiguousness (in a non-earnest manner) or just silliness (without being tacky), but things that will be memorable because of this. i like 'morpheme' and 'pop songs for edith metzger' for those reasons. 'we float around these days' has the potential to be read as earnest, though i don't think it is. 'i saw this and thought of you' is good. another title i had kicked around for a possible compilation, though for various reasons i've never used, but quite like and think it could work for telafonica, is '3 minute laptop solos' (possibly with 'a collection of' in front of it).

o.k.. discipline in the visual department. let's get some boundaries down now. it worked for the music, let's try it. did you have anything in mind? my only real inclination at the moment is to stay away from pure computer generation. i like the look of paint and printing ink etc. i have no problem with computers as such (obviously), but, as re: our conversation on design last night, vector imagery and flat slickness just aren't really doing much for me at the moment. of course, i'd happily be talked out of that position by some great work...

so what are the boundaries?


i too, would like to play some music in the garage. though it does take a certain discipline to play songs which telafonica doesn't really seem to have displayed any real aptitude towards (i.e., writing first, practising etc). or are we imagining pure improvisation?


i said i'd put up a list of possible bands to play with. i have to say, it's been rather difficult. i've generally kept to relatively local bands who we could possibly have a chance of reaching, or definitely have a chance of reaching, but there's a couple of dream ones in there too...

architecture in helsinki
cloud control
the detours (? - would we go down with a detours crowd if they weren't all mutual friends?)
telemetry orchestra
deepchild (in live mode, not dj-ing)
don meers (though i haven't seen him listed as playing live for a long time)
the paper scissors
the crayon fields (yeah, they're from melbourne, but i really like them)

ummm...that's about it at the moment. this really is tough. i think we just need to play every month or so and hopefully each time a couple of people see us that hadn't before, like last thursday.


get out of bed and answer the phone.

I like that a lot. It does have the potential to make us seem like wankers... but i'm prepared to concede the possibility that in fact we are, so no bother.

I feel good about not adding a hook. the bass is very compelling and there's a whole bunch of interest sparking elements. Be interesting to see whether he likes it.

I think it would be really interesting to apply some discipline to the visual process in a similar way as we have with the music. It's always been a kind of whatever comes out approach - and while i think in some ways an aesthetic has developed - i believe we're capable of so much more than what we have begun so far. I also believe that restriction can breed some of the most interesting creative expressions.

I think the website can be a great fulcrum for thinking in the visual sphere going forward.

I had an interesting conversation with jess a couple of weeks ago about the possibility of renting some shared studio space. It's something i've thought about here and there, but as with so much in my brain - flux. I'm excited by it because my place is quite prohibitive of any real art mess, and it would be fun to through some paint around.

I've been tied up at nights trying to finish a website for some old clients - so no cut us audio yet - but i'd like to aim to do it on the weekend.

must try to make these posts when i have the energy to extrapolate.

ps. I have had strong impulses over the last couple of days to get in the garage with a bunch of instruments and play them really loud and shout into microphones... I think that could be our next departure.

what's in a name?

i quite like that phrase as a title. another i had thought of, following a comment you made about the lyrics in listening in for static, is 'we float around these days'. should we have a handful of possibilities and then run them through the discussion/editing process.

i had thought of some sort of hook for the remix, but everything i tried seemed to just fill up the space too much without actually being brilliant, so i decided to let the bass line remain as the hook, accentuated by little things along the way. granted, it ain't pop, but then, dub isn't.

i still like the current telafonica site aesthetically, but think it would be good to change. what i think i'd like changing the most is the number of levels required before getting to the actual content. i do, however, like that, even a few years after it was put up, i still haven't really seen anything quite like it on the web. i think that spirit should remain intact. of course, that will probably mean a longer period of creating.

what is our agenda going to be visually? i think we've come a long way in developing an aural agenda in the last few months, and that has helped create the music incredibly. perhaps a similar system of being really specific about a visual agenda will help us develop the idea. is the website going to relate to album packaging in any way? so perhaps the name of the album and its aesthetic are therefore important considerations in terms of the website. is what we do as a live visual thing going to impact on it all?

sorry i don't have any actual ideas at the moment - just vague feelings. but if we can make those concrete, i think it will help.

i've started making a list of people we'd like to play live with. i think we should exchange lists over the weekend.

lastly, have you had a chance to get all the things from your computer into files i can work with at home?


Sorry i cant take your call right now...

I missed your call - then you were engaged. ah well. I'm really happy with the mix - there's a bunch of stuff i think you maybe could add, but not necessarily should. I guess if anything you might go for a more pronounced hook of some kind - but that's me talking more about the songs marketability than it's quality.

On another note, I had an idea for an album title today while i was washing my hands..."i saw this and thought of you."

i think i'm leaning to a more separated structure for the website. feel free to send me through any further thoughts you have about how you'd like it to function, or look. I'd like to get something reviewable together in the next week.


new sharp dub

well, i actually rechecked my e-mails and found that it's not due until thursday, so i'm hoping if there's anything you want to throw at it in terms of suggestions, you would.

there's not actually any guitar on it. did you mean the distorted stuff in each ear? or perhaps the melodica?

i really like it because everything, except the drum pattern that comes in about a third of the way through, is played live, right the way through, not sequenced or looped. yet it still sounds fairly electronic. i played the drums through a couple of times (the left and right rhythms) with the whole track, the bass is a single take right the way through, same with the thumb piano, melodica, mixing desk feedback.

actually, there is a guitar - sorry. that's the bit i used from what he sent me, so i didn't play it myself, so i forgot about that!

i've sent scot the same mp3. haven't heard back from him yet. well, i have, but he told me he'd got it and hadn't had time to listen yet, so no feedback yet. but if you'd like to make any suggestions, please do. is there enough melodically to hold attention? i like that it is relatively short. but do you like that or see any problems with it?

in regards to how the process is different when it's not telafonica specifically - i don't treat it too differently. the main difference with this is that it has a much shorter gestation period and doesn't have to mix with anything else, so the initial experiments tend to stay closer to their original form. i can imagine doing a piece like that for telafonica and putting it forward as such, but then being more particular about critiquing it, particularly in terms of how it relates to the the other stuff we need at the moment. but, as with any music i create, it pretty much reflects what has taken my fancy listening wise this week - in this case the good the bad and the queen!


a writing experiment

our first attempt to gather all the thoughts into one slightly coherent thread.