In 1978 an extraordinary album was recorded in a living room in Melbourne. To start 2019, the People's Republic is very thrilled to welcome one of Australia's most important experimental musicians to recreate that transforming moment ...
SATURDAY 12th JANUARY
Commencing at 8 p.m. [doors at 7.30 p.m.]
David Chesworth joins us from Melbourne to present a rare live version of his groundbreaking album 50 Synthesizer Greats, played on the original synth and almost the very same reel-to-reel.
"50 Synthesizer Greats stands up as one of the essential electronic records of Australia’s recorded music history. It’s simple, naïve at times, but more so, a mindful example of the kind of playful audio discoveries that emerging technologies allow for. Each of the pieces is primitive and raw, with little more than editing and the occasional gloss of reverb. It’s in this rough-and-ready approach that the heart of the record lies. You can still feel Chesworth’s family home situated around these recordings; such is the homely and charming quality these pieces possess (helped by the reel-to-reel equipment on which they were recorded). It’s truly an amazing record that reminds us that less is almost always more!"
“Not only is 50 Synthesizer Greats packed with beguiling musical ideas, it is also a record that helped mark the birth of the independent alternative music scene in Australia as it was added to the playlists of then new independent radio stations like 3CR and 3RRR in Melbourne. More than a mere composer or even sound designer, Chesworth is a sonic manipulator-refractor of spatial (and some might say, psychic) environments. Since the late 1970s, Chesworth has been prominent in Australia and beyond as a sort of pre-post modern, post-concert hall, post-post-punk pioneer of possibilities that transcend all the usual boundaries and categories. As a soloist and founding member of groups like Essendon Airport and leader of his own David Chesworth Ensemble, Chesworth has always had one foot in art and one in pop.”
“Self-released on no label, 50 Synthesizer Greats is actually 37 tracks of minimal synth investigations, full of inquisitive humour and playful experimental spirit. The album was recorded in late 1978 by David in his parents’ lounge room, on an Akai 4000 DS reel to reel tape machine, using a monophonic Mini Korg-700 synth borrowed from fellow post-punk icons Tch Tch Tch. Bouncing down tracks via the Akai‘s primitive “sound-on-sound” feature resulted in unexpected echo effects and tricky mono vs stereo choices, while snatches of the earlier recordings David taped over to make 50 Synths can still be spotted here and there throughout the album. David was only 21 when 50 Synths was made, but his energy and accomplishments were prodigious. With guitarist Robert Goodge he formed the much-loved Essendon Airport, he became co-ordinator of renowned experimental music venue the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, and he founded the Innocent Records label with Tch Tch Tch leader Philip Brophy, with David engineering or producing much of its output."
Guy Blackman – Chapter Music
The performance takes place in conjunction with Architecture Makes Us, a mid-career survey at UNSW Galleries bringing together six major video works by Sonia Leber & David Chesworth exploring craggy geographies, territorialisation, surveillance, exhausted systems and future philosophies and running until late February.
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