SIX IMPROVISATIONS FOR COMPUTER AND GUITAR (3″ CDR, Twice Removed, 2012)
Vital Weekly (NL)
The only name I did recognize was Andrew Tuttle’s Anonymeye project, whom I saw live many years ago. Back in Vital Weekly 793 I quite enjoyed his release on Someone Good, which was a more complex album than this 3″CDR. On that album he played all sorts of instruments, and arrived at some nice sort of pop music with many small variations. Here it’s all about guitar and computer, and I assume it’s in that order. Tuttle recorded some of his guitar playing and then switched on the computer to do some of that transformation. The sound of the guitar is never far away, and we hear some of the fingerpicking of Tuttle, being nicely (in a limited way) stretched out a bit, adding some harmonic scales on them and all that sort of treatments that computers sometimes seem to have. Now this should indeed drag me out of any depression I may feel. Here too we have ambient inspired music, but the pieces are all sort and to the point, guitar is nicely recognizable and almost sunny. Let springtime come!
Brisbane’s Andrew Tuttle (no relation, as far as I know) has recently issued a 3-inch EP of guitar and computer exercises that… well, that is just lovely. Each note carries with it a fluttering, feathery tail of sound that spirals clear off into the distance from its humble origins. Even with audible edits happening at various junctures, the stream of consciousness never feels broken or interrupted, making the digital elements truly as natural for Anonymeye as is the friction between the skin of his fingertips and the metallic strings of his guitar. That is, though nothing here feels especially revolutionary, nor is any of it technically (or technologically, for that matter) mind-blowing, Anonymeye’s approach still seems even more fully-integrated than just being electro-acoustic music — it’s as if the computer really is an acoustic instrument to begin with. Of course, this isn’t how the physical world allows for us to observe what actually goes into music like this, so I guess we’ll just have to close our eyes and imagine. Which, upon a single soothing run-through of this short, breezy-and-easy sampler, seems to be the best way to do this thing anyway.
9/10 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
An author of outstanding Anontendre (second place in the recapitulation of 2011: http://eyebient.tumblr.com/post/15301165956/eyebient-recapitulation-of-best-ambient-albums-in) returns with his distinctive recognizable original style. This time we are suspended over huge tracts of the Rocky Mountains. Short but beautiful tracks perfectly reflect our longing for something that we have never experienced, revealing of film nature of our desires, that we can fulfill only on the computer screen. This year belonged to the Australians. Kevin Parker from Tame Impala re-defined the sound of The Beatles. Anonymeye re-defines what used to be called an acoustic sound.
First up we have Anonymeye’s “Six Improvisations for Computer and Guitar” … which manages to say a great deal in its 18 minutes.
The soundscapes presented are brief … with the longest track clocking in at 4:24. Consider them concentrated ideas … tracks that are packed with inspiration … rather than perspiration. Using the computer to loop, repackage and abstract the sounds created on the guitar, Anonymeye creates the most delightful soundscapes … pieces that sit nicely on their own but deserve to be heard in the context that the full release provides. These tracks merge and blend into one another … creating a consistent atmosphere that can and should be unhurriedly savoured for its textural richness.
Tracks like “three” dance and swirl in the listener’s consciousness … the guitar is initially abstracted into layers of droning sound before becoming more apparent as a melody comes to the fore.
This is deep music that rewards any listener who is prepare to dive in and become immersed in the sounds presented. Whilst not demanding your attention, Anonymeye certainly rewards the attentive. Recommended.
Intriguing, countrytronic noodlings increase the depth and subtlety of the Anonymeye blueprint.
– Following the career of Brisbane’s Andrew Tuttle has been a journey of increasing depth and subtlety. If you’ve been kicking around this little berg long enough to know, you’d remember the splattery synths of Molliger: explosions of bratty, youthful noise, long since lost in the mists of time.
Andrew packed such in-your-face noises away and then started trading sounds under the name Anonymeye, slinging a guitar and laying down some dusty countrytronica, I almost didn’t know what to make of it. With each ensuing release, however, he has refined this craft, working the synths and strumming into elegantly designed productions of variously ambient, folktronic or glitchy styles, all of which echo with what has become his trademark meshing of organic, acoustic guitar sounds with brilliant synth edifices, strange processing and synthetic echoes.
These Six Improvisations For Computer And Guitar move on from the place Andrew reached with 2011’s Anontendre, heading into even smoother and subtler territory. Clearly a bit worried that people will think he’s gone soft, the EP’s accompanying press-release states explicitly that he’s never been “…at ease with the ethos, imagery and sound of “new age” music.” However he does concede that new Anonymeye material has “…increased emphasis on a harmonious interplay between the computer and acoustic instruments.”
I don’t think he’s got much to worry about there. Six Improvisations takes advantage of the new quiet to blend genres more deftly than ever before. The briefest, ambient, country vista (like hearing a synthesiser from the top of an Arizona mesa) rolls into a pretty little folktronic ditty. Then syncopated glitches of synth melody blend into a blissful edifice of sound, before a propulsive synth melody, rolling like a massive, slowly rotating turbine, envelops everything in the kind of massive grandeur you’d expect from Blanck Mass. I could’ve asked for more of that, particularly since the penultimate track merely meanders through a very simple tune, that doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere over the course of four and a half minutes. The EP’s closing track, with a scintillating, brassy choir of angelic voices is again much shorter than I would have liked, but still reminds me of fellow Brisbanite Tom Hall’s awesome, ambient structures.
Laid down simply, in only two days and with the barest amount of editing (though it did receive a little tweaking from experimental mastermind Lawrence English), Six Improvisations is not so fully realised that I can be completely satisfied. As a taster of where the Anonymeye sound is going, however, it’s very intriguing. Ever more subtle, each sound worked more thoroughly into an interconnected whole, Anonymeye is, as ever, one to pay attention to.
– Chris Cobcroft.
Cyclic Defrost (Australia)
It seems inherent in a lot of music-making nowadays that artists are aware of the sometimes overwhelming amount being produced, but Brisbane musician Andrew Tuttle aka Anonymeye acknowledges this a lot more consciously in his latest EP, with seventeen minutes of calming and minimal abstract folk and electronica.
That perfunctory title should tell you all you need to know – recorded over two days after packing away most of his home studio, the EP features processed but generally relaxed improvisations. Moving in and out of optimistic, gently played guitar lines and seas of hypnotic, shimmering electronic ambience, Tuttle creates a harmonious and evocative mix conducive to relaxation and repose.
This is charmingly unfussed-over music– even down to the song titles of ‘One’ through to ‘Six’. Bright, patient & meditative – it’s a warm and welcoming release, perfect for the imminent Australian summer.
SONG TRAVELLER (split with Kutomo)
Foxy Digitalis (USA)
24 February 2010
review by Michael Jantz
This split cassette fell into my hands and I was instantly curious due to the tape’s unassuming visual quality. Cheap, photocopied paper insert with nothing more than typewritten liner notes and some ambiguous image on the cover (probably obscured into oblivion by the poor photocopy quality). The tape is white with only a small 3M-style text label on each side. This is an aesthetic that many labels try to nail but fail to, so before I talk about the music, I want to laud Bedroom Suck for their success in presenting music free of pretense and apparently free of effort.
This unadorned package is hiding some gems, though. The first side goes to Kutomo, who I discovered to be originating in Finland. The side is titled “Songs for the Astral Traveller”. Over four tracks of reed and organ-tinged wind, we are taken into a confusing and enchanting realm. Kutomo’s flute dominates the majority of these tracks, while an organ gently cycles through note progressions on the left side of our frequency range. These two instruments together, both with naturally soft attack and decay, are softened even more with a cathedral-like reverb, making for an almost epic mood. From time to time, I think I can hear an acoustic guitar surface, but I would have to hit rewind to confirm, and this just isn’t the kind of tape you can just rewind from any point. Kutomo’s vocals, when exhibited, are intimate and slightly chilling. He sings with the emotion of a long-departed ghost or perhaps a person who already bears the full story of his impending decline—detached, unconcerned, and sad. He is indeed our Astral Traveller.
The B-side belongs to Anonymeye, currently present in Brisbane. His side is called “Songs for the Last Minute Traveller”. Where Kutomo built his sound structures from slowly-moving and soft-edged tones, Anonymeye’s Andrew Tuttle uses a staccato of plucked guitar to build into a frenzy of jovial cycles. His guitar sounds to be an internally amplified acoustic, as it retains that crisp and punchy sound that I find unmistakable. Suddenly in the frenzy there is a synth wave—a saw I think? It flutters some and then slows, alternating envelope frequencies and tones, while the the guitar arpeggiates in the foreground. This is all part of “Anonymocracy (Movements 1-5)”, a fourteen-minute piece that more or less encompasses the entirety of this tape side. The movements are difficult to pinpoint in terms of ending and beginning, so I can’t really speak of each individual part. Together, though, they do amount to a rather joyful last-minute trip. Eventually the happy mood we set out with disintegrates into a drone of synth fuzz, but not for too long before Tuttle’s guitar resuscitates our optimism and we close out the Anonymocracy on a positive note. The two remaining pieces, “CEJ” and “Seasonal Adjustment” are brief and upbeat numbers (more synth & guitar) that begin and end with just the proper accord.
Each side of the tape contains a “remix”, each artist reworking some of the other’s music from the tape. The two tracks are by no means the highlights of the split, but the mixes do something to contribute toward a further-bled edge between the two sides. Anonymeye and Kutomo are different enough in their musical presentation, but Bedroom Suck brings them together in this thematic collaboration and the end result is quite pleasant. No moment of the tape feels misplaced or abrasive. All is well for the Song Traveller. 7/10
review by Babette Gladney
Anybody who’s been following the career of Brisbane-based laptop-meets-folk-picker Anonymeye (aka Andrew Tuttle) will recognise his gradual drift toward the world of synthesisers, culminating in a four-day residency at Rotterdam’s Centre for Electronic Music – a recording session that has provided an audio source for many of his releases since. The sound that has defined Tuttle’s music produced as Anonymeye has grown to involve an ever-growing arsenal of tweaks, sweeps, beeps and drones alongside its perky down-tuned steel-string figures. This split cassette EP pairs him with an artist less recognisable around these parts: Veli-Matti Ikavalko, known here as Kutomo.
Clocking in at about 25 minutes per side (with each artist contributing three solo tracks plus an edit of each others’), this release feels in many ways more like an album – and the light hiss and fluff of the cassette aids in the impression of a work removed from others. As tape moves past magnet, we learn other ways in which this release suggests themes of isolation.
Side A opens with Kutomo’s humming, buzzing keyboards drifting into the picture self-assuredly. As his pieces build – indeed, they may as well be one extended composition – so does a feeling of, well, religiousness. With his droning church organ sound twisting into arpeggios and shifting chord inversions, perhaps the allusion is too glib, but there’s a strong sense of the pious in Kutomo’s music. His deep, indecipherable and decidedly monk-like murmurings and delay-effected flute dance across the border of New Age without the proper paperwork. The side wraps up with an Anonymeye edit of ‘Kitara, Taivas Ta Jahdet’, which places Kutomo’s dense, ethereal evocations alongside a simple climbing acoustic guitar motif, lending the track a less intense, more pastoral tone.
It’s a perfect segue into Side B, where Anonymeye takes his formula and runs with it: plucked guitar patterns, sequentially assembled loops, synth augmentations and then the inevitable collapse. Tuttle’s finger-picked guitar style, oft-likened to that of John Fahey, doesn’t deserve the comparison – it’s far too inconsistent, even clumsy. You can really see where he’s trying to take it, but there’s an awkward heaviness to his picking that occasionally imbues his pieces with a nervous feeling, like watching high-stakes Jenga on the brink of toppling. Likewise, his loops can be rhythmically misleading.
In spite of these shortfalls, Anonymeye’s pieces are buoyed by a playful sensibility that counteract the potential awkwardness of some of his arrangements, and there are some beautiful melodies too. Yet compared to work on his recent album The Disambiguation of Anonymeye, there’s not enough variation in his approach to soundmaking on Song Traveller. At the same time, his meandering pieces are well matched to Kutomo’s slow burning dirges, and both sides of the tape make for rewarding close listening.
Aided perhaps by the long journey the ribbon of ferrous tape must make across the play head, Song Traveller transports the listener to a meditative, pensive state. Anonymeye and Kutomo are a complementary pair, particularly in collaboration, and theirs is a cohesive, outstanding split release that suits its medium perfectly.
Cyclic Defrost (Australia)
21 January 2010
review by Adrian Elmer
Firstly, a little bit of history. When the compact cassette became popular during the 1970s and into the 1980s, it was on the back of a few significant attributes. It was much more compact and able to store more music than rival formats. The user was able to create their own playlists, and use the medium to make multiple copies. It was accompanied by a piece of iconic, portable hardware. And the music industry powers that be had a bitter bone to pick over the legality of what the populace would do with such conveniences. Sound familiar? Which is why I find it vaguely ironic that the current underground, in its backlash against digital formats, has taken to the compact cassette as its ‘tangible’ alternative.
I mention this only because within 15 seconds of pressing ‘play’ on my very reliable tape player, I was reminded of the total fallibility of the medium. The sound turned to a high pitch squeak, then stopped altogether, leaving me to untangle the mess of stretched brown magnetic tape from the heads of my player. The medium is fun in a nostalgic way, but there are good reasons it was largely phased out. The music on this particular cassette is worth keeping, but it’s just not going to last very long unless I transfer it.
Kutomo from Finland takes side one and delivers 25 minutes of ‘Songs For The Astral Traveller’. It’s the kind of music you wish new age music actually was – improvised organ/synth moving slowly about as a wash with heavily delayed flute meandering, then topped with Kutomo’s (also heavily delayed) voice explorations, which sit somewhere between Gregorian and Tibetan monks with dashes of Andes Mountain chanting. It all floats along beautifully but with a cheapness and subtle sense of grit that stops it being wallpaper. The side closes out with Melbourne’s Anonymeye adding some of his guitar filigree as he reworks a Kutomo track.
Which is a nice segue into the ‘Songs For The Last Minute Traveller’ side by Anonymeye. Early Anonymeye recordings had interest but were hampered by technical/technique problems which were not entirely transcended by creativity. However, this collection demonstrates considerable development. There is a recognisable Anonymeye sound now, based around acoustic guitar improvisations (with the aid of loop pedals) and similar synth explorations. These are distinguished by an airiness and lightness of touch. A sense of the whimsical is ever present. Perhaps through a concentration on the treble end of the sound spectrum, the music is able to float, ungrounded and transient. The occasional synth note that strays into bass territory is then a stark contrast, adding brief but significant points of difference. Some subtle traces of degraded digital processing keep you aware that this is music attached to the now as much as it seeks timelessness. Very beautiful indeed. A reworking by Kutomo finishes off the side and the segue back to the first side is in place, one advantage the cassette does have over formats.
I’ve only heard a couple of things on the Bedroom Suck Records label, but it’s all been rather excellent and their profile is a little less obscure these days. So I’d recommend tracking down a copy. Just make sure you transfer it across to a sturdier format before the cheap cassette disintegrates and takes the music with it.
Vital Weekly (the Netherlands)
1 December 2009
review by Frans De Waard
Kutomo is from Finland and plays flutes and a bunch of looper devices that create a nice flowing ambient backdrop. It wasn’t necessary to use a voice in this material, I’d say, but its not bad either. Hard to say wether we are dealing here with one track or more, but let’s say its cut into various section; the cover lists various tracks, but they sound frigtenly similar. On the other side we have Andrew Tuttle’s Anonymeye project, who does very much the same, except that he is using guitars and loop stations. He too crafts some nice atmospheric music together, which has bit more bite than Kutomo. Both artists do a rework of eachother, which turns out to be a pleasant combination of either artists’ input. I’d strongly suggest to re-issue this on CDR and get them to do more collaborative stuff together. (FdW)
review by Adam D. Mills
Andrew Tuttle, who is Anonymeye, used to live in Brisbane; John McCaffrey, who is Part Timer, used to live in Northern England; both now live in Melbourne. This is more relevant to this split CD-R than it may seem: the four tracks on Silhouettes 3 (one from Tuttle and three from McCaffrey) all deal, consciously or otherwise, with the notion of displacement and the peculiarities of belonging.
Tuttle’s contribution, a ten-minute improvisation titled ‘Stop 122, Line 1/8’, sees his folky fingerpicking become (not cruelly) subjected to a raft of real-time effects and signal processing. The track revels in imperfection – as Tuttle slowly builds its rhythmic skeleton by layering and looping his playing, his every minor stumble (this is improv, after all) is given tenure, maintaining the acoustic guitar’s inherent humanity even as it is almost subsumed by waves of crackling digital feedback.
Similarly, Part Timer smashes apart the fundamental elements of folksong and reassembles them into frail collages. His three tracks are an eclectic collection, from the ghostly vocals and chopped-up guitar of ‘Asthmatic Throat Clutching’ to the almost Telefon Tel Aviv-esque ‘Upbeat And Happy People Make Bad Company’ (awesome title, that). ‘Between Decisions’ is the disc’s most straightforward piece: McCaffrey applies the subtlest nips and tucks to a bright, summery guitar line and lays the results over the top of distant, clattery field recordings. It’s so, so simple and yet – like the other three tracks here – so incredibly beautiful that’s it’s hard not to declare it a small slice of genius.
The Sound Projector (United Kingdom)
Sitting in its tiny blank green sleeve among shelf-loads of more brash CD recordings at the city record shop, this modest release could have missed my eye as I perused the dull collection. Red Eye Records just hasn’t been the same since Oren Ambarchi left working there years ago to migrate to Melbourne. But one thing has remained the same – though how much longer, I don’t know – is the occasional little CD that slips into the store despite no marketing, no online or other publicity campaign or stunt, and which patiently waits for someone such as I to snap it up and give it a good home. Gladly does the stray repay me with much gratitude in the form of good and self-assured music – and this CD-R upholds the strays’ reputation.
It’s an extended acoustic-guitar wander up hill and down dale of blurry sharp buzz-noise dronescapes, nothing more and nothing less, but what a journey it is – many a tale is told in the repeating micro-tunes and twanging tones that sing of lonely days and nights in a desert or detours into pathways that turn out to be cul-de-sacs, forcing the journey to retrace its forgotten steps. Meanwhile the electronic buzz backdrop changes from merely buzzy to feature distinct and sharp cutting sounds, and later still a heavy-stone draggin noise as if someone was shoving a heavy rock in front of a cave. The effects are scrapey and scratchy and seem like the kinds of noises Editions Mego would be interested in claiming as their own if the label knew how to create them.
Does the guitar ever figure out how to leave the labyrinth of guttural, almost slitted-throat noise-drone? Judging from the way it repeats itself, I think the strings are not too interested in ever reaching the end of the journey. Just as racing pigeons are enticed by big city lights, the prospect of free food and being able to crap on statues of long-dead military leaders (most of whose reputations weren’t worth the cost of the bronze cast in the foundry), so too the homely folksy guitar discovers curious and intriguing vistas during its trip and decides it wants to stay. You too might feel the same way.
review by Shaun Prescott
Phase Two is a seventeen-minute piece for guitar, recorded in one take by Melbourne’s Andrew Tuttle and released on a three-inch compact disc (available at Redeye Records in Sydney or via www.myspace.com/soundandfurymusic). Similar to a seven-inch record, the format encourages a more intimate engagement with the music, as there isn’t a whole lot to commit to. Another factor against casual listening is the progressive nature of the piece – the performance is buoyed by a handful of subtle dynamic shifts, and Andrew Tuttle’s often-reckless fretwork.
Reckless because Tuttle’s fingers frequently trip over the strings when he tackles some of the mid-paced finger picking. It’s by no means a bad thing; it actually brings the piece to life a bit. Superficially, Phase Two is a solo guitar piece laced with a bit of vaguely responsive electronic fuzz – it’s somewhat evocative of an AM radio instrumental being slowly subsumed by foreign frequencies. Listeners might wonder whether to embrace the rich textural electronics of the piece, or to engage with the melodic aspects of Tuttle’s guitar. The traditional and the technology do sound locked in some bloody battle at around the ten minute mark, but the rather saccharine outcome is that the two fronts appear reconciled in the end. It’s a touching, tempestuous and exhausting trip.