Espadrille is a free-improvising trio capable of cosmic noise, primitive grooves and slow transformations. The group uses drums, modular synths, saxophone, electric guitar, an ancient Casio radio-keyboard, and various effects and found objects. Parts of pieces may be described as, or fuse elements of ambient music, noise, rock, jazz and Krautrock, and comparisons might be made to artists as varied as The Necks, Sun Ra, Castings, Henry Cow, Boredoms, Gang Gang Dance, and Art Ensemble of Chicago.
Disc 1, the CD Seconds, is an archival project, releasing various recordings for the first time. ‘Soft Drink’, ‘Morse vs. Moose’ and ‘Beefheart Is A Cow’ are excerpts of lo-fi rehearsal recordings, though the distinction between rehearsal and live performance is largely irrelevant here. ‘Bex Render’ and ‘Fleeting Spheres’ show the group’s capacity for longer form works that seamlessly fuse unwieldy and sometimes primitive electronics with live instrumentation. ‘Fleeting Spheres’ was recorded at a concert where Ryszard Dabek was contributing his live mix of original images, so it is fitting that it supplies the aural aspect of Skarpa.
Ryszard Dabek is a Sydney-based media artist who works with images (video, film, photography), collage, sound, installation, and an interest in the idea of a present haunted by spectral vestiges of modernity. He has exhibited in many contexts nationally and internationally. His creative relationship with Espadrille encompasses live improvisations with his own film and video that result in provocative collisions and synergies with their spontaneous music-making, both in live settings and in works realised for other modes of dissemination.
Disc 2, the DVD Skarpa, is an exercise in conjuring the ghosts of twentieth century utopianism that haunt that most embattled of European metropolises, Warsaw. Constructed from footage shot in 2007, the film documents the largely despised relics of Socialist Realist architecture and statuary that dominated the built environment and symbolic realm of the city’s post-war reconstruction. Drawing from the modernist tradition of the city poem film, Skarpa seeks to counterpoint the built environment with the elusive subjectivities of its inhabitants. Central to this process is an integral relationship between sound and image. The soundtrack composed by Sydney improvising trio Espadrille directly informs the structure and appearance of the film, with the imagery often buckling under the weight of its unstable sonic counterpart.
For excerpts of the work Skarpa, visit: