James Rushford & Joe Talia - Paper Fault Line
LP: Bocian Records, bc 09, Oct. 2011

A. Untitled
B. Untitled

James Rushford and Joe Talia are two of the most exciting musicians active in the Australian experimental scene, engaged in major collaborative projects with figures such as Jon Rose and Oren Ambarchi. On Paper Fault Line, they use strategies from contemporary composition, improvisation and electro-acoustics to create a sensuous and approachable, yet subtly disturbing, 30-minute suite. Eschewing the homogenized sound palette and dynamic conventions of post-GRM musique concrete, the record is structured as a series of episodes which, though retaining a sense of integrity, constantly threaten to crumble into non-linearity. Instrumental performances (on prepared piano, viola, pipe organ and percussion) and electro-acoustic improvisations (making use of analogue synthesizer, reel-to-reel tape recorder and spring reverb) provide the backbone of the piece and retain their raw, performative feel; these performative elements work equally with the meticulous post-production and editing to create a unique work, where the boundaries between composition, improvisation and electro-acoustic processes are well and truly blurred. Recorded in a detailed and unorthodox fashion with much attention paid to room-tone and acoustic contingencies, Paper Fault Line is a fully formed and challenging work by two unique voices in contemporary music. Featuring a guest appearance from Anthony Pateras on modular synthesizer.

(–) Francis Plagne
Its that we know that Bocian Records is from Poland, but if we would just look at the roster of artists they release, it could seem that they are from Australia. Here we have two more musicians from down under, James Rushford and Joe Talia, who have collaborated before with Jon Rose and Oren Ambarchi. Armed with a whole bunch of instruments they recorded their work in different places (Melbourne and Rotterdam, The Netherlands). These instruments include viola, piano, ARP 2600, polystrene, megaphone, cardboard, church organ, chamber organ, brake drums, steel drums, ocarinas, voice (all credited to Rushford), drumkit, spring reverb, Roland System 700, Revox B77, brake drums, steel drums, bass drum, tam tam and crotales (Talia) with Anthony Pateras on Doepfer A-100). I assume these recordings from four different places were all done in a sort of improvised way, which was later collated into the two pieces that are now on the record. I think this is an amazing record - right up the street where I like it most. It combines various things, such as improvisation, electro-acoustic music and composition. Massive blocks of sound are cut with sparse electronics, collage like but never chaotic or out of control. If anything, this reminded me of the old work of Mnemonist and Biota who worked from with similar ideas of improvisation and studio techniques, perhaps sometimes from a more rock context, whereas Rushford and Talia seem to have a more musique concrete like background. Two sides, perhaps only fifteen minutes per side, which is surely not enough. Bring on a CD with bonus material, please.

(–) Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly
New names to me (though Anthony Pateras also appears), Rushford on viola, piano, synth, organ and many percussive objects, Talia wielding mostly percussion (also an LP).
How to describe? Side One is a fine welter of noise, with tones of percussion that tends towards the mid-range and higher pitched end of things, with electronics weaving in and out, the whole thing surging and ebbing. Like the Baxter above, very busy but without a feeling of fussiness, advancing with fervor, then retreating to bubble about and reconsider. The organ is surprising when it enters at the side's conclusion, tonal and church-like (or, at least, funereal).
The obverse side has more of a concrète feel at the beginning, but once again the organ appears, this time more deeply ethereal, with a faint choral aspect. The music continues in a slightly spooky vein, with glass-like tinkling and high keening provided by bowed material. There's an abrupt stoppage (no cuts are listed, so I'm reading this as a continuous work), followed by isolated electro-percussive tones, reminds me of something...Jarrett/DeJohnette from Ruta & Daitya? not sure. In any case, quite enjoyable and I'm interested in hearing more from this pair.

(–) Brian Olewnick, Just Outside