Side Down (Anathema Archive 2020)

by Tom White

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"For Side Down, Tom White offers up two contrasting sides of ear debris culled from a recent performance (the last before our new reality set in) and a collaborative dance work. ‘No script on set’ is a deft re-imagining of a piece originally made for 8-channels. Losing none of its space or atmosphere as sounds zip around the stereo field, the composition conjures different architectures as a metallic glistening sounds out in tightly wound space, then mutates into a cavernous echo. Field recordings emerge, familiar yet hard to pin down, place names held back as electronic tones thread through water drops to breathe a sigh of relief. ‘Behind the face of a rock, throwing stones (Rehearsal Music)’ is part of an ongoing project with the dance company Surface Area (choreographed by Nicole Vivien Watson), a collective project comprised of deaf and hearing artists. The project explores British Sign Language, D/deaf culture, Japanese culture and Butoh. The music is sensitive to the collaboration - playing with heard and felt sensation, working with sounds’ potential for moving the body. The sonic palette is more paired back than the first piece, it pulses and builds, creating space in which both deaf and hearing bodies can respond to the sonic textures and chattering objects, or the non-cochlear resonances that can be felt in the body."

Ben Ellul-Knight
Glasgow, August 2020


released November 9, 2020

Anathema Archive 2020

Mastered by Renato Grieco

SIDE A: 16:08

No script on set.
Part 1 - 80 Hours
Part 2 - Lachman
Part 3 - Dedication (Puglia, July 2011)

8 channel composition premiered at Café OTO, London March 3rd 2020
Recordings from 2011-2020

Edited and mixed January/February 2020

Mixed from 8 channel to stereo
March 2020

SIDE B: 16:48

Behind the face of a rock, throwing stones (Rehearsal Music)
Rehearsal music for forthcoming dance production
Behind the face of a rock, throwing stones
choreographed by Nicole Vivien Watson/Surface Area.
Recording and mixing 2018-2020

Thanks to Nicole Vivien Watson, Andrea Kearney, Renato Grieco,
Gunther Valentine, Mark Vernon.


Joe Murray | TQ Zine

Side one starts with the clatter of glitter-infused rocks.

From then on small sounds are coaxed from a variety of foam birds with nervous mercury. For many Tom White will be a familiar name, famous for his reel-to-reel tape manipulation and the trademark ripping and stretching sound of those tiny magnets bristling. On this wonderful tape we celebrate Tom’s waxy ear knowledge. As subtle as any paint brush jockey he delicately places and smears sounds with an architect’s knack for getting the damn thing to stand up straight.

Fizzing and crackling nick-nacks judder like stars in a constellation. But as soon as you step back you can see the big picture – a boxy bear, a rudimentary swan – both beautiful and tantalisingly unknowable.

Cassette memories waft like finest gravy, as rich in the nostrils as in the ear-holes. A singing oik transforms via dog howl into bicycle percussion leaving water babbling like a first year chemistry student with bright ideas. If you’d not guessed it, this side mainly toys with collage-mathematics and deep memory cosh.

Side two is a more direct and minimal offering. It opens with the sounds of tape flutter itself, the brittle rattle of flapping mechanics becomes a gently swaying sea of tin-plated bulrushes, or if you’d rather, Bertoia’s famed sculptures plucked by heavy gravity fingers.
The metallic theme continues: thin wire sings, a steel flask containing a brace of bright red powerballs is gingerly rattled. The slo-mo gunfight in the background battles the chatty conversation of Alpheus heterochaelis.
I’m reminded that the wonder of small, sharp clicks is never to be underestimated.
Another winner from Mr Tom White!


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Tom White London, UK

London-based artist. Published by labels Glistening Examples, My Dance The Skull, Vitrine, Fractal Meat Cuts. Chocolate Monk, Alien Passengers, Calling Cards Publishing and more.

Collaborators include Maya Dunietz, Kieron Piercy, Ben Knight, Stuart Chalmers and most recently in Al Fresco with Lia Mazzari & Sholto Dobie .
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