A Music Residency program.
In January 2015, Swaggerjack were the next in line to complete a Samarbeta residency. The duo, otherwise known as John Powell-Jones and Callum Higgins have so far released two albums through Higgins own, Sacred Tapes label, including ‘Big Church OST’ released on Monday 5th January 2015.
During their residency the duo locked themselves away within the confines of the Islington Mill Venue Space for a solid week in total isolation. In cutting themselves off from all communication & human contact the duo created a record that is uninfluenced and non-biased (thinking of ‘what will my loved one think’, ‘that’s too similar to something else’, ‘that won’t work live’ will be eradicated).
The residency was heavily documented through photography, HOWEVER the outcome of this residency will not be heard en masse. A record was produced across 2 12" discs as a dubplate, degrading with continual use making no two plays the same. This single copy was immediately hand delivered to the British Library Sound Archive (BLSA) in London, where the record now sits alongside late 19th century cylinders & over 360,000 CD’s as well as 12 other formats of music publications. The recording will only be able to be listened to in person at the library itself as the digital files have been destroyed.
Higgins and Powell-Jones, recently featured in the Wire magazine, said of the process:
“The first phase of our Samarbeta residency went really well. We got a lot of experimenting done and managed to get some really interesting recordings made. We've been lucky enough to have been in the space we were, having access to a number of different instruments, objects and recording gear made a huge difference and gave us the chance to try out some new things and come up with some completely bizarre ideas, which was the whole point of the residency.”
Throughout the process the duo collected lots of documentation including notes, illustrations and pictures. This has been compiled and made into a 60 page risograph book, designed & printed by Powell-Jones himself and bound by Higgins. Released on August 19th 2015, the same day as the record was available to be listened to at the British Sound Archive. You can purchase the book from our shop.
To celebrate the one year anniversary of the release we invited 2 esteemed writters to visit the library and review the book for us and we have printed their recviews and added them to the book as new inserts in special anniversary editions. See the review page for more details on this.
About the musicians:
Callum Higgins is ½ label manager of Baptist & Bootleggers and head honcho at Sacred Tapes, he has a solo project that runs under the name Yes Blythe and has performed and recorded in many other collaborative projects including, SwaggerJack, River Slaughter & Black Vomit.
John Powell Jones makes up one part of the ever-evolving psyche lords, Horrid and is in experimental duo, Composition, whom blend mark making with music making (see track one of Anonymous Bash is hear more) as well as SwaggerJack.
About the British Library:
The collection on display at the British Library Sound Archive (BLSA) reflects the diversity of styles that have been popular over the years, from early 20th Century music hall to the latest rocks, jazz and dance music. It is the ‘premier public research facility for pop music in the UK’. Alongside the physical formats The BLSA provides the only public access to the BBC's sound archives including radio sessions, interviews, documentaries and live performances. Vintage John Peel sessions, a ten-part history of reggae, broadcasts from Glastonbury festivals and the world-famous Beatles at the Beeb programmes are just a few of the highlights accessible through the Archive.
To be able to listen to the one and only production of the Swaggerjack recording you will require a valid library membership. To do this you simply need a valid form of ID and a Utility Bill and 30 minutes later you will be listening to the record.
Image credit: Jamie Robinson