Saturday, January 30, 2010
Rik Rue - Bend An Ear (tape, Les Ballets Mecaniques, 1987)
Rik Rue was born in Sydney in 1950, and at the age of 15 began constructing his own soundscapes from found and outdoor environmental sounds. Environmental sounds, his primary musical influences, have always provided him with "abstract and subconscious pleasures and an inner understanding of the physical environment", and manipulating them seemed to allow an imaginative reconstruction of, and some control over, the world that produced them. Rue, who is self-taught in composition, stayed in London from 1970 to 1973, while studying part-time at the Slade School, Camden Art Centre and Royal College of Art. Back in Sydney, from 1976 to 1979, his interest in improvisation and jazz surfaced in an organisational way when he helped present concerts of experimental and improvised music in the Paris Theatre in Darlinghurst and small galleries such as Central Street in Sydney. At this time he also played with a number of prominent Sydney improvisers, including Jon Rose, Louis Burdett and Serge Ermoll. Rue also achieved an important musical breakthrough. By using the tape recorder, he realised he could combine his love of environmental sounds, and of world musics, with his interest in improvisation and his desire to document and re-arrange sounds. Thus, the tape recorder became his `instrument'. He began presenting `live mixed' tape works in performance with improvisers such as Jim Denley and with the improvising group The Relative Band in the 1980s. Since the early 1980s, Rue has continued to work with live tape mixing in performances, particularly when playing with Mind/Body/Split , a group of Sydney-based improvising musicians including Jim Denley (flute and saxophone), Sherre De Lys (voice and texts), Jamie Fielding (synthesiser and percussion), Kimo Venonen (electronic samplings and manipulations) and occasional distinguished guests, such as Amanda Stewart (voice), Chris Abrahams (piano) and Graham Leake (percussions and samplings). At various times Rue had released a number of works on compilation discs produced by Fringe Benefit records but later, when he felt the need to personalise his output, created his own independent cassette label, Pedestrian Tapes in 1983. In recent years, Rue has extended his activities to include creative radio programming, hosting new music shows on Sydney's 2MBSFM and 2SERFM. His regular program on the former station, Stopgaps and Measures , began in 1985 and featured a wide range of works, from regional environmental works and sound/text experiments to local and international new music.
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