Satellite – Sylvedic

Satellite – Sylvedic

VFI018

Tracklist

  1. Acres
  2. Ridges

Notes

A single raindrop amidst a deluge, contributing the smallest part to a resounding cacophony, indifferent, yet equally important to the environment it exists in. Perhaps not the most orthodox way of introducing a release, but in this case we find it to be an apt description for Satellite’s first full-length release, presented in glorious stereophonic sound and available exclusively here, from us. We recorded this album in July 2007 in various outdoor locations throughout New York’s Hudson River Valley – the air was thick with humidity and thunder rolled in the distance, creating low, symphonic rumbles amidst a sea of singing insects – and somewhere between the cicadas and the ozone we attempted to add our own voices, mixing prepared guitars and electronics, cutting through the heat with our own pianissimo voices, indifferent yet important as the rain began to fall. Originally available as a limited edition pressing of 25 hand-assembled packages, Sylvedic is now available exclusively as a digital release, documenting and disseminating a unique record made by unique people during a very unique time. Come join us in the infinite as we invite you to drift away with us, melting into the night to sing our songs once more amidst the deluge of indifference.

Updated Notes

Similar to the notes for this ensemble’s previous album, it’s now been just over a decade since these recordings were made. Prior to the sessions being arranged, I’d recently postponed my thesis defense for a semester, nearly landed an editing gig at Electronic Arts, had that fall through, ran out of cash, found that my lack of proper office experience negated my ability to land temp gigs, and then discovered that my similar lack of experience in the arts world nixed my ability to land anything meaningful in the field. A wonderful catch 22 to be in, especially while living in the SF Bay Area – albeit in between bubbles, but living out there still isn’t cheap. Looking to re-up on cash, I was beginning to make a deal with my uncle to head to Colorado to work for his spar business in some sort of desperate ploy to a.) live cheap and earn big and b.) not return to New York and by extension, my parents’ basement – proof that in spite of my age, I’m just not a millennial.

But before I could head east to the mountains, I still had a couple things to take care of. First, Pau had a show at the Art Museum of the Americas in DC, so I booked a $100 greyhound across country to assist with the electrical work for the show, creating custom extension cords disguised as garden hoses – relatively interesting, but I also managed to blow the circuit breaker of the museum while installing. Not my fault – you just can’t run neons in a 100+ year old building. Years later, I met the current director of the museum and told hint he story – with his response being – “you know where the circuit breaker is???” I do. While in DC, I was contacted by Steini who was trying to arrange for a ticket from Iceland back to the US by way of a cultural grant, but needed a cultural sponsor in the US – and somehow I was it. So, under the guise of my mother’s nonprofit letterhead, I crafted a letter of invitation for him to come play at our venue. No one had to know that said venue was our back yard, but considering the number of art spots in upstate New York that are essentially just that, it seemed fairly legit. Somehow, probably owing to the fact that this was before the recession, we got the grant and Steini arrived.

A small piece of trivia: I’ve never been good at booking shows in New York. The city is what it is, but I always had a bit of a small town mentality when it comes to big city shows. Hudson is fairly compact, Albany too far and Rochester, Buffalo and the likes too foreign. And the Hudson Valley far too fleeting. For a second there was a Sonic Arts collective in Kingston, but that evaporated almost as quickly as it formed. What I’m trying to say here is that I honestly did try to hook ups legit show for my Icelandic counterpart – but with the schools out for summer break, no one was biting and I lacked the transportation to arrange anything elsewhere. Eventually, a bit of good fortune came my way by way of Pauline Oliveros – local legend, personal mentor of sorts, thesis reader and all-around wonderful human. I made it a habit to drop in on her whenever I was in and around our shared hometown, and in this case it was by way of a concert at the Free 103 Wave Farm. After the show, I just happened to mention that I was looking for a venue and less than 5 minutes later, she’d arranged a bill for us via the good folks in Acra.

So these recordings. The first came by way of a board feed from the Wave Farm recording that was simulcast on the Free 103.9 radio network. The second was from a night prior from The Rock, otherwise known as my family’s historic residence. Both were live recordings with only a bit of my usual mastering tweaks added for clarity – but no multi-tracking or any sort of studio wizardry – just a couple SM-57’s to a two track recorder. After the shows, I returned to Oakland to pack up my life in preparation for the Colorado adventure, which largely set me on the path from performance to building. I guess int hat light, from a historical perspective, this recording almost seems like an epilogue to the path that my graduate studies had taken me on – anything after this will begin to feature progressive additions of my own instruments as opposed to commercial pedals and traditional instruments with extended techniques. I’m sure I’ll eventually revisit this approach to performance at some point (ideally in the company of old friends and collaborators), but at the moment, space and time are both at a premium. Working on that.

Media

Personnel

Gudmundur Steinn Gunnarsson – prepared guitar, electronics

Travis Johns – prepared bass, electronics

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