Boots!

Using the internet and file sharing as our primary means of communication and collaboration, People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz have produced this material over a period of almost a year (Spring-Winter 2006-7).

These recordings document a collaborative research and development process using live performance (with vintage dansette turntables and vinyl dubplates), a CDr album ("Boots!"), a 10" vinyl record ("Honeysuckle Boulevard"), and a CD album ("Perpetuum Mobile").The files available here constitute the research, CDr, and the live performance. The concert is represented by an edit from that which was recorded through the mixing desk and miked up record players, a full unedited microphone recording, and an archive of the tracks which were used on the vinyl dubplates – comprising music from the research period split across various records either through splits in time (so one minute of the track may play on one deck, the next three minutes on another player, etc) or through splits in the actual layers on the tracks (so two or more records playing simultaneously would create the "full" track).

boots!

Concert – video edit

Sketches For Boots
Summer 2006

Composed 2006 as R+D for live performance, CD, Honeysuckle Boulevard 10″ Record, and Perpetuum Mobile CD (released 23 April 2007).
1. Domino
2. La Ronde
3. Erotic Ballroom Dream of Bill
4. Last Tango in Parish – Cumshot
5. Bloody Waltz
6. A Cup of Cha Cha Cha
7. Honeysuckle Roads
8. Let’s Dance with Charlie’s Loop
9. Mack
10. Puppet
11. Roy Fucks
12. Singing Lesson
13. Song For Babs
14. Sorry
15. Perpetuum (First Try)
16. Fruity Peter
17. Bed Music (Boopy Doop Doop Scoop)
18. Honeysuckle Ideas
19. Last Tango in Parish
20. Air Hostess
21. Balromulus Machinus
22. Spanked Latin
23. Tiny Mambo
24. Mambobela Rmx with Felix Kubin
info.txt

Dubplates from “Boots!” Performance
Summer 2006

In which tracks from research are torn apart for live recomposition, then pressed to vinyl dubplates
1. Crying Man
2. Enoch the Drummer 01
3. Enoch the Drummer 02
4. Fat Henry’s Mambo 01
5. Fat Henry’s Mambo 02
6. Gunshot 01
7. Gunshot 02
8. Harpo’s Ambient Love Groove
9. Harpo Boulevard 01
10. Harpo Boulevard 02
11. Harpo Segue
12. Hollers 01
13. Hollers 02
14. Hollers 03
15. Hollers 04
16. Hollers 05
17. Hollers 06
18. Honeysuckle Rose & Perpetuum Mobile 01
19. Honeysuckle Rose & Perpetuum Mobile 02
20. Honks
21. Instruments of the Orchestra 01
22. Instruments of the Orchestra 02
23. Instruments of the Orchestra 03
24. Instruments of the Orchestra 04
25. Mack The What 01
26. Mack the What 02
27. Merry Go Loop
28. Merry Go Round 01
29. Merry Go Round 02
30. Oh No Not Another Cha Cha 01
31. Oh No Not Another Cha Cha 02
32. Oh No Not Another Cha Cha Segue
33. Parp 01
34. Parp 02
35. Parp 03
36. Perpetuum Mobile 01
37. Perpetuum Mobile 02
38. Sad Waltz Because His Dog Died – Solo Flute
39. Sad Waltz Because His Dog Died – Solo Sax 01
40. Sad Waltz Because His Dog Died – Solo Sax 02
41. Sad Waltz Because His Dog Died
42. Singing Lesson A
43. Singing Lesson B
44. Singing Lesson Solo 01
45. Singing Lesson Solo 02
46. Sit Well Back 01
47. Sit Well Back 02
48. Sorry 01
49. Sorry 02
50. Sorry Extra
51. Stalling Samples 01
52. Stalling Samples 02
53. Stalling Samples 03
54. Stalling Samples 04
55. Stalling Samples 05
56. Stalling Samples 06
57. Stalling Samples 07
58. Stalling Samples 08
59. Stalling Samples 09
60. Stalling Samples 10
61. Stan’s Voice
62. Tango & Leer 01
63. Tango & Leer 02
64. Valse For Lydia 01
65. Valse For Lydia 02
info.txt
Saxophone by Ben Whiting-Wilbee www.myspace.com/benwilbee
Flute by Heather McCallum www.myspace.com/coo6B

Boots! Live
Summer 2006

1. Sit Well Back
2. Sorry
3. Merry Go Round
4. Perpetuum Mobile
5. Tango and Leer
6. Harpo Boulevard
7. Mack the What
8. Sad Waltz Because His Dog Died
9. Enoch the Drummer
10. Fat Henry Perpetually Spanked
11. Oh No Not Another Cha Cha Cha
12. Boots! – Full microphone recording
info.txt
Recorded live at Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight, June 2006
Performed on Dansette Record players and vinyl dubplates, with piano, euphonium, horn, and accordian.
Track 12 “Full Microphone Recording” recorded by Simon Perry www.ventnorblog.com
Setlist Images : images/People-Like-Us-+-Ergo-Phizmiz_Boots_Setlist_2006.zip
Concert Images : images/People-Like-Us-+-Ergo-Phizmiz_Boots_Concert_Pictures_2006.zip

Boots! CD
Summer 2006

1. Sit Well Back
2. Fat Henry’s Mambo
3. Merry Go Round
4. Tango and Leer
5. Harpo Boulevard
6. Mack the What
7. Enoch the Drummer
8. Honeysuckle Rose & Perpetuum Mobile
9. Sad Waltz Because His Dog Died
All tracks given away on limited CD at “Boots!” Live performance, Isle of Wight, June 2006

Artwork : images/People-Like-Us-+-Ergo-Phizmiz_Boots_CDR_Artwork_2006.zip
Ergo Phizmiz website
UbuWeb (many thanks!)
In case you were wondering why this project is called “Boots” we really couldn’t remember for a while (good eh), but then recalled it’s the dancing boots graphic that we named it after. Not Boots the Chemist.

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Story Without End – DVD

Sonic Arts Network proudly presents a collection of short films by leading British A/V artist People Like Us, a true champion of a particularly English sense of humour. The DVD shows a journey though a multi-layered 20th Century, represented by bright eyed and enthusiastic images of the modern world, concluding with the new Sonic Arts Network commission ‘Story Without End”. Each of these films are available on this page, through UbuWeb, for free download in mp4 format. However, if you would also like the DVD, which has beautiful fold-out packaging, go to our shop. All prices include postage and packing

Scans of Reviews here:

Story Without End – Review in Jazzthetik July 2006
Story Without End – Review in Trax Magazine June 2006
Story Without End – Review in Black Jan 2006
Story Without End – Review and Interview April 2006
Story Without End – Review in Cinemania May 2006
Story Without End – Review in The Wire May 2006
Story Without End – Blow Up February 2006
Story Without End – Rock Delux Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Magic Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Debug Magazine January 2006

Story Without End – Intro Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Sonic Seducer Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – D Side Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Go Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Bad Alchemy Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Clone Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Metro Magazine Summer 2005

Story Without End (and three other Films) – review

Music videos for mash-ups are rarely as enjoyable as the audio originals – the pleasure of the sound collage is the simultaneity of clashing spaces, where visual montage makes us choose between one space or another through sequence. The web is awash in video cut-ups today; giddy editors take advantage of bountiful source material in online archives, easy desktop editing software and mostly free distribution through video.google or youtube.com. Surrealist film technique is the stuff of late-night television comedy, as each day’s presidential speeches are cut up and re-arranged for comedic effect.
This explosion of montage only highlights the differences between sound collage and video pastiche. Multi-track recorders, turntables, samplers and sequencers gave us densities no film editor could dream of. Yet sometimes film collage carries a more obviously political impact – visual juxtapositions seem to jar more directly.

Into this dynamic steps the singular art of PEOPLE LIKE US. At the controls is artist Vicki Bennett, a masterful and prolific sound-collagist whose works in video have been recently released by the Sonic Arts Network as a DVD. Where traditional montage makes us choose between one cut or another, Bennett’s meticulous work relies on compositing, masks, and mattes to create a visual simultaneity every bit as dense as what we hear in her music.

Through four works, completed between 2002 and 2005, Bennett has extracted various subjects from their backgrounds, and backgrounds from their contexts. Recombined, these artifacts occasionally grow synchronous with sound, but always stand out in contrast to each other. As in some of the more jarring mash-ups one might encounter on Bennett’s radio shows for WFMU, the seams are far from hidden. A boy sets a toy house down upon a giant circuit board – later we see him again laying out his little town on a pumpkin patch.

Opacities and edges blur to give way to various cohabiting characters – a man peers into a screen to reveal another composited world, even as he’s oblivious to the third one above him, or the beetles crawling over the screen on yet a fourth layer. Narrators stand above it all, promising all sorts of things to come. Bennett introduces each new element as she would a new loop in her sonic compositions, and lets us hold it all in our head for a moment (or sometimes far longer – she loves repetition) before moving on to something else. It’s a happy marriage of pastiche in sound and video that helps demonstrate the musicality of vision – the work is more Vertov than Eisenstein.

All of this makes STORY WITHOUT END a welcome and rare addition to the lively world of the cut-up. Bennett’s films offer much more than this, however. After all, as the narrator of THE REMOTE CONTROLLER tells us, “mixing is so simple, a child could do it.”
Directing Bennett’s deft and patient hand at the mouse is a very specific sort of curiosity, and a particular approach to human creation and action. These films are the result of countless hours of sifting through the archives of various digital and physical collections. Specifically named in the credits are the collections of Rick Prelinger at The Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org), Skip Elsheimer’s avgeeks.com, and London’s Lux collection of avant-garde film. Except for some footage of Bennett’s own screen desktop in WE EDIT LIFE, none of Bennett’s source material appears to be self-generated. She even borrows from herself, recycling audio or video from old works in new.

The result is a very specific kind of collection. Though individual elements within a frame are composited to remain estranged from one another, the ingredients add up to a whole that’s from a particular palette, a specific time and place. In all four of these works, we see and hear hopeful proponents of techno-marvels from modernity’s golden age. Men and women hunch over vintage screens and typewriters, monitoring, tweaking and enjoying newfound power through perfect analog connections. Telephone operators, orchestra conductors, audio engineers, and city planners listen to the spaces on the other side of an edit, command our attention, or carry out plans via remote operation.

We see an artist and an engineer negotiate a new collaboration; we get transferred by a series of attractive switchboard operators from Chicago to Wabash. Maps and radar, puppet strings and monitors mediate the relations between distant actors. Throughout it all, Bennett plays an equally magical role, creating new seamless spaces through edits, as her subjects create spaces through telepresent connections. These hopeful operators and technicians are people like us, twiddling knobs at a remote, if enamored, distance. By revealing her own hand, Bennett identifies herself with the films’ optimistic subjects, who according to their narrators “merely push a button and let something else do the work.” Another narrator adds, “the result is breathtaking beauty, and lasting good taste.”

Like Craig Baldwin in SPECTRES OF THE SPECTRUM, Bennett tells a story of hope about technology, using the artifacts of a more hopeful age. Her films marry medium to message to reveal the folly of such hope, yet without resorting to irony. Refreshingly gentle and humble, the work relies on humor, awkwardness, and empathy to produce skepticism without cynicism. If through her reliance on found materials Bennett lacks the faith of scientist-magicians who create something from nothing, she shares their joy at seeing pushbuttons produce results.

In the tradition of modernist reflexivity, Bennett relies on the stutter, the scratch or pause to call attention to her own hand. Importantly though, she reminds us that stutters and burps are also human, and funny. Laughter is likely to be one’s first and lasting reaction to Bennett’s work in sound and video – so much so that perhaps this act of analysis might seem absurd. Close examination of the works on STORY WITHOUT END yield rich results, however, and make me grateful for Bennett’s generous and labored marriage of humor and criticism.

Kevin Hamilton
February 13, 2006
http://www.kevinhamilton.org