Creating things with Phillip Raymond Goodman

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Headthoughts that made it appropriate to contact Phillip Raymond Goodman for talking at this current time were the fact that I felt that we’d been kind of spinning around in an orbit on the social media and also beforehand in the real life concert and performance attendances but never and not quite intersecting and crossing paths much apart from a hello of occasionally and I can’t quite figure out when but it did happen.  I think it was at a Steep performance at The Intimate Space of someone or other or maybe one of those live score film showings that happen too. But yeah I had created this picture diagram in my head of two sort of planets spinning around in a little universe or something but only passing by in a kind of weird eclipse very occasionally now and then to come together and say hello and progressively interact with conversation like planets might do.  That’s how the scenario presented itself in my imagination of thoughts and I felt a need to do some rectification of this so I sent a message and suggested meeting for talks and he said yes sure and that was it really.

The other thing was that I’d very much noticed his Instagram stuff where he wears masks, or just puts stuff on his face. And even when I learned later that he’d started doing this since before the mask wearing thing became more of a common occurrence in public, named by him as a facemask Friday then having it slowly dovetail into lockdown corona half enforced fashion, it translated to me as a further reason to sort of knock on his door and do some further find outs. There was much to discover and bits of what I found out are mentioned in the words before and after this one. Much of it is wondrous and I like to think that this level of creativity which was revealed to me is contagious and I would urge people to take my words written as a starting point to discover more.

When we met for the information talking I first remarked I’d noticed the goat pictures that he takes while moving in and around the London place. A small ornamental goat model placed into various scenes that play entertainingly with ideas of scale and also seemed to form an inquisitive looking focal point for a huge variety of photographed adventures. I saw him position and take pictures of this goat once so I was aware of the procedure involved for the positioning. The goat was steered by Phillip and was always ready posed in its one immovable pose and the backgrounds completed the goat framing. I asked if there was a back story to the large selection of goat images. He responded that it serves as a useful and interesting way to stimulate conversation with people when they see him taking the photos. So also in the case of us now talking at that point in time the goat had succeeded and we were talking with conversational engagement. The goat was the talk catalyst and we moved on to other discoveries.

I’ve spent time wondering what other people have been getting up to with their creative stuff over the last five corona months. It is a question that I ask of people that I meet when I talk to them, as well as asking how they are and other such bits and pieces. I personally like to know how they been handling it so I can gauge myself and maybe pick up some tips for happiness too, but asking what they been doing with creativeness often gives interesting and inspirational results because people can go off into areas that my mind likes but needs other people to take me there as I can’t think about going there on my own. This was the case and lots of it when Phil told me what he’s been doing.

I felt humbled by the variety of subject matter used as starting points for project creation. There was a collection of tracks inspired by comic artist Grant Morrison. Even though nowadays my comic reading tends to stay in the Viz area, I know Grant Morrison as I grew up reading 2000ad and knew something of his contribution to some of the characters within. Although I veer towards Carlos Ezquerra and maybe Mike McMahon, I don’t think there’s many, or any, sound and music projects devoted to those two, so I listened fully to the ten tracks and marvelled at their inventiveness and variety. I was smiling at the use of the artist as a start point for the project, and I became increasingly impressed at the levels of imagination used for any number of the other projects which I found in my ears over the investigation period. I’d never made music using a comic artist as a basis before and the music created with the Morrison impetus has sent me off on a search to regain youthful comic fun.

One particular sentence Phil mentioned which I am devoting its own paragraph to is that the word comic means combination picture and it tells you what it is in its own word. Not like graphic novel which is a bit different. I grasped at some amazement when Phil told me that and had to keep going back to it until it sunk in proper.

We progressed onto other lockdown subjects and projects that have taken up Phil’s time. I am mostly on board with the idea of always wanting to use available time creating and the free time afforded him over these months since March is time spent documenting and making.  Making sound and images and seeing where ideas go and running with them. Sometimes you can run with them and guide them along and sometimes they seem to fruit so fast that you’re pulled along flailing behind them.  He is currently making another album using the Aether Saint moniker. All the sounds being internet generated from manipulated karaoke files. Pieces slowly moving out and developing from a single concept. Manipulated and twisted and bludgeoned into new and inventive sounds. Stretched, reversed and hacked up until finally reassembled and presented. I became fizzy the night before meeting when listening to the first collection of sounds made using this technique. It ticked boxes for me. I kept telling myself yes I like this because and this part reminds me of something that I like and other optimistic thinkings like that. I didn’t know how the sounds came to be at the time but then during the talking I had learnings and realisations which further increased appreciation. My reference points prior amounted to some Butthole Surfers tape manipulation tracks and some heavy leanings towards the first Clouddead album, although without the vocals. But afterwards I left with new identifications of Vaporwave and chopped and screwed techniques, which roundly came back and tied in with my Clouddead thoughts, so it was a nice circle.

On finishing my Phillip Raymond Goodman sound introduction and conversation I listened to sound before and afterwards. After was even more enriched due to the learning gained from the meeting. The impact of the corona has been thankfully minimal on Phil and he has managed to maintain his vast range of creativity throughout, both with solo sound and image projects and also with collaborations. As I feel I must mention with the Chunkitini project. Which features himself, the previously interviewed Gardyloo SPeW, Kevin Matthews and Phil Mfu.  Another epic maelstrom of noise is incoming on Sunday August 9th 2020 using the wondrous facilities of the internet. I’m going to listen to it.

Andy Rowe is a sound artist who lives and works in London. He has worked with sound in a professional and creative context since 1996 and gained a degree in Sonic Art from Middlesex University in 2009. He has displayed work in Coventry's Herbert gallery, London's Hundred Years, Raven Row, Chalton, Art and Escape, Horse Hospital, ToandFor, and Doomed galleries. His sound, music and performance project is known as the Slate Pipe Banjo Draggers. He has performed live at festivals and events in England, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Italy both alone and collaboratively

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