This photo of the Quiet Club was published in the last issue of The Wire, to accompany their track listing on the cover CD. Buy the magazine to get lots of intriguing music and see a microscopically small version of this image!
Apparently the photos are so small the magazine did not see fit to credit me. Likewise, the selection from The Quiet Club is so abbreviated that it scarcely hints at what their work is really like.
I took this shot at the release party for the Sonic Vigil 4 box set at the Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, 18 December 2009. If you are at all interested in intriguing quiet/loud drone/ambient long-form music this set is a great buy: four disks in a custom-made package for 26 Euro. Find it at Farpoint Recordings but not for long... there are only 150 numbered copies!
It was all recorded live at the fourth Sonic Vigil festival, held in St. Fin Barres Cathedral. The quality of the recording is excellent, with lots of depth and clarity. Field recordings, poetry, electronics and much more make their presence felt. Perhaps the only binding characteristic is an openness to improvisation and non-rhythmic forms.
Though some of the pieces are no doubt edited, it is remarkable that so much listenable (your mileage may vary!) music came out of a single six hour session. Generally these experimental things are eight-tenths dross but this recording turns that ratio on its ear.
Favourites include Mersk on the first disk and the Homer Simpson opening to The Quiet Club (plus John Godfrey) on the second. Roland Etzin gets some nice low frequencies pulsing irregularly under what sounds like lazy turntable scratching (I mean that in the best possible way). Then he introduces location recordings of saws and cows. SAFE has never sounded better, perhaps because I don't need to go deaf hearing them.
In fact, my tactic is to simply start the disks playing in the background and modulate the volume according to my interest at the moment. I am sure that is a fitting way to integrate these noise pieces into daily life. And since there is so much material, different sounds register with each play-through.
The last disk is text-based and will not be to all tastes, unless you have been steeped in sound poetry and Dada. The shortest track is from Christine Werteim, which starts off like a Monty Python Sketch (the one about "getting hit on the head" lessons) and gets worse. But Jaap Blonk is pretty astounding, at times sounding like a motorboat, at others like six different cartoon characters all talking at once. And then there's the bit about the prime minister. Wowza.