BIOGRAPHY

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Under the name “People Like Us,” artist Vicki Bennett has been making work available via CD, DVD and vinyl releases, radio broadcasts, concert appearances, gallery exhibits and online streaming and distribution for 25 years. Since her first publication in 1992, Bennett has developed an immediately recognisable aesthetic repurposing pre-existing footage to craft audio and video collages with an equally dark and witty take on popular culture. She sees sampling and appropriation as folk art sourced from the palette of contemporary media and technology, with all of the sharing and cross-referencing incumbent to a populist form. Embedded in her work is the premise that all is interconnected and that claiming ownership of an “original” or isolated concept is both preposterous and redundant.

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Recording of Off The Page 2012 – Collateral Damage

collateral-damage

Vicki Bennett, Chris Cutler, Scanner, Blackest Ever Black label head Kiran Sande and The Wire‘s Tony Herrington discuss the impact of digital technology on music making and consumption.

Download or listen here 1:07:36
Vicki Bennett’s Essay in The Wire

In recent years, the internet and a raft of new technologies have transformed the ways in which we produce, perceive and consume music. And as the reality of music’s new digital economy starts to bite, musicians and labels are having to rethink both philosophy and practice, addressing the issue of how they create and disseminate work – while some decry the free movement of music across file sharing networks and the collapse of traditional record industry models, others look to exploit the new possibilities offered by crowd sourcing and social networking.For this panel discussion chaired by The Wire‘s Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Tony Herrington, Vicki Bennett (People Like Us), Chris Cutler (ReR Records), Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) and Kiran Sande (FACT, Blackest Ever Black) discussed possible responses to the challenges posed by music’s changing eco-system.

The Wire and Sound And Music‘s Off The Page festival took place 24–26 February at The Playhouse Theatre in Whitstable.

The Wire article and audio file

Notations with Philip Jeck & Jaap Blonk – full movie

This is the full-length performance of the Cafe Oto leg of last year’s NOTATIONS tour, with Jaap Blonk and Philip Jeck as guest performers.

Vicki Bennett’s film-collage-as-visual-score Notations is created from hundreds of different film clips, where the content conceptually or literally portrays different kinds of instructions to be read by the improvising artists on stage as a visual score. The film/performance toured the UK in November 2013 after premiering at Ilan Volkov’s TECTONICS Festival in Reykjavik earlier in the year. This marks a return to working with improvised audio and video, both on radio and in front of an audience. Between 1996-2003, Vicki performed both solo and with Jon Leidecker (Wobbly), Matt Wand (Stock, Hausen and Walkman), Matmos, members of Negativland and Kenneth Goldsmith.

To soundtrack Notations, each show featured a different combination of artists: Bill Orcutt, Rhodri Davies, M.C. Schmidt (Matmos), Philip Jeck, Jaap Blonk, Steve Noble, Wobbly, Mark Sanders, Tomomi Adachi and Jennifer Walshe.

Vicki Bennett is an influential figure in the field of audio visual collage, through her innovative sampling, appropriating and cutting up of found footage and archives, publishing material since 1992.

Notations UK Tour was produced by Tusk and commissioned by Sound and Music as part of their Touring Programme for 2013.

peoplelikeus.org/2013/notations-tour/

NOTATIONS UK Tour 2013 Travelogue

Here’s a entertaining, informative (we hope) one-hour video travelogue of our recent Notations Tour.  

Featuring performers Bill Orcutt, Rhodri Davies, M.C. Schmidt, Philip Jeck, Jaap Blonk, Steve Noble, Wobbly, Mark Sanders, Tomomi Adachi and Jennifer Walshe.  Oh, and People Like Us.  Also, tour producers Richard Whitelaw and Lee Etherington make appearances.

http://soundandmusic.org/node/8760
http://peoplelikeus.org/2013/notations-tour/

Notations at Bristol Arnolfini – video edit

Here’s an edit of the final show from the Notations UK tour at Bristol with Jaap Blonk, Steve Noble and Philip Jeck. Many thanks to Tusk and Sound and Music for making this possible!

Notations at Bristol Arnolfini with Jaap Blonk, Philip Jeck & Steve Noble. A film by Vicki Bennett.

NOTATIONS – the film by Vicki Bennett (People Like Us) created for live performance by improvising artists and musicians, toured the UK in November 2013, produced by Tusk and commissioned by Sound and Music as part of their Touring Programme for 2013. 

Performers: Jaap Blonk / Philip Jeck / Steve Noble
Film by Vicki Bennett
Venue: Bristol Arnolfini, 30 Nov 2013
peoplelikeus.org/2013/notations/

Leeds NOTATIONS – video excerpts

Thanks to those that attended Leeds NOTATIONS at Hyde Park Picture House as part of Leeds International Film Festival on 16 Nov 2013 – here are two edits with M.C. Schmidt, Tomomi Adachi and Wobbly. Thanks to Tusk and Sound & Music!

NOTATIONS Leeds Hyde Park Picture House w/ M.C. Schmidt, Tomomi Adachi & Wobbly on Vimeo.

NOTATIONS Live at Leeds Hyde Park Picture House w/ M.C. Schmidt, Tomomi Adachi & Wobbly. Film by Vicki Bennett on Vimeo.

Manchester NOTATIONS – video excerpts

Thanks to those that attended Manchester NOTATIONS at Kraak on 14 Nov 2013 – here are two small edits from the evening with M.C. Schmidt, Jennifer Walshe and Wobbly.  Thanks to Tusk and Sound & Music!

NOTATIONS TRAILER Manchester w/ M.C. Schmidt / Wobbly / Jennifer Walshe. Film by Vicki Bennett on Vimeo.

Notations Trailer, Manchester with M.C. Schmidt, Jennifer Walshe & Wobbly. Film by Vicki Bennett on Vimeo.

NOTATIONS UK Tour!

NOTATIONS – the film by Vicki Bennett (People Like Us) created for live performance by improvising artists and musicians, will tour the UK in November 2013, produced by Tusk and commissioned by Sound and Music as part of their Touring Programme for 2013.

PRESS RELEASE

Sound And Music and Tusk Music are delighted to announce this tour of Vicki Bennett’s film-collage-as-visual-score Notations, to be soundtracked by a unique combination of leading improvising artists at each event.

Notations has been created by Vicki from hundreds of different film clips, where the content conceptually or literally portrays different kinds of ‘gestures’ or ‘instructions’ to be read by the improvising artists on stage as a visual score.

This marks a return to working with improvised audio and video, both on radio and in front of an audience.  Between 1996-2003 Vicki performed both solo and with Jon Leidecker (Wobbly), Matt Wand (Stock, Hausen and Walkman), Matmos, members of Negativland and Kenneth Goldsmith.

To soundtrack Notations, Vicki and Tusk have recruited an impressive international cast of improvisers, each with radically different approaches and, as each show will feature a different combination of artists, every performance on the tour will be completely unique. So each show will feature a carefully chosen trio of live respondents to Notations from the cast of Bill OrcuttRhodri DaviesM.C. Schmidt (Matmos), Philip JeckJaap BlonkSteve NobleWobblyMark SandersTomomi Adachi and Jennifer Walshe.

Oct 31 – NEWCASTLE
BILL ORCUTT / RHODRI DAVIES / MARK SANDERS
+ BILL ORCUTT SOLO SET
& PEOPLE LIKE US “CONSEQUENCES (ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER)”
Star & Shadow Cinema, Stepney Bank, NE1 2NP
8pm   £8/10
starandshadow.org.uk
===============
Nov 14 – MANCHESTER
M.C. SCHMIDT / WOBBLY / JENNIFER WALSHE
& PEOPLE LIKE US “CONSEQUENCES (ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER)”
Kraak, 11 Stevenson Square, M1 1DB
7.30pm   £8/7
kraak.co/home
===============
Nov 16 – LEEDS (as part of Leeds International Film Festival)
M.C. SCHMIDT / WOBBLY / TOMOMI ADACHI
& PEOPLE LIKE US “CONSEQUENCES (ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER)”
Hyde Park Picture House, Brudenell Road, LS6 1JD
9pm   £8/£6
leedsfilm.com
===============
Nov 29 – LONDON
JAAP BLONK / PHILIP JECK
& PEOPLE LIKE US “CONSEQUENCES (ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER)”
Cafe Oto, 18-22 Ashwin Street, London, E8 3DL
8pm  £8/10
cafeoto.co.uk
===============
Nov 30 – BRISTOL
JAAP BLONK / PHILIP JECK / STEVE NOBLE
& PEOPLE LIKE US “CONSEQUENCES (ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER)”
Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, BS1 4QA
7.30pm  £8/6
arnolfini.org.uk

Each event will also begin with an audiovisual performance by People Like Us of Consequences (One Thing Leads To Another)which places similar but emerging subject matter side by side to construct the narrative, a story emerging as a sum of the preceding parts yet digressing on a tangent.  All actions have consequences, and here we see them played out, to wondrous and catastrophic effect!

Watch a section from Consequences (One Thing Leads To Another) on UbuWeb!

NOTATIONS TRAILER Manchester w/ M.C. Schmidt / Wobbly / Jennifer Walshe. Film by Vicki Bennett

More info on the artists:

Vicki Bennett is an influential figure in the field of audio visual collage, through her innovative sampling, appropriating and cutting up of found footage and archives. Using collage as her main form of expression, she creates audio recordings, films and radio that communicate a humorous, dark and often surreal view on life. Vicki operates under the moniker People Like Us and promotes an open access to archives for creative use.

Bill Orcutt first came to attention as guitarist in insane Miami band Harry Pussy, famed for their frenetic and discordant performances and his then-wife Adris Hoyo’s seminally fiery primitive/spasmodic drumming. Harry Pussy imploded in the late 90s but Orcutt re-emerged in 2009 with A New Way To Pay Old Debts, a truly guttural home-recorded stream-of-consciousness via battered guitar with only 4 strings left and occasional involuntary vocalisations. Has since released records via Editions Mego as well as his own Palilalia imprint, and formed an occasional duo with Chris Corsano. palilalia.com

Our favourite Rhodri Davies story concerns his being booed off stage for destroying his instrument at a very conservative harp festival. Davies takes this traditional instrument and does very un-traditional things with it, from applying dry ice to the strings to make them squeal to constructing installations that play it with wind and water. Regular collaborators include David Toop, John Tilbury and John Butcher and such luminaries as Elian Radigue, Christian Wolff and Yasunao Tone have composed specifically for him.  rhodridavies.com

M.C. Schmidt is best known as one half of Californian (now relocated to Baltimore) duo Matmos, renowned for marrying a love of electronic pop with musique concrete tactics and a penchant for unusual sound sources (liposuction surgery, amplified crayfish nerve tissue, latex fetish clothing, contact mics on human hair…). In 2001 they were invited to work with Bjork on her Vespertine album, leading to two world tours as part of her band, and have also collaborated with Zeena Parkins, Antony, David Tibet, Marina Abramovic and many others.  vague-terrain.com

Philip Jeck rescues old records and turntables from junk shops and creates something beautiful from them. He won the 1993 Time Out Performance Award for his most famous work Vinyl Requiem, a performance for 180 vintage record players and has released a series of records on the renowned Touch label and collaborated with Gavin Bryars, Otomo Yoshihide and Jaki Liebezeit, amongst others. philipjeck.com

Jaap Blonk hails from the Netherlands and is a self-taught composer and poet best known for his improvised vocal performances and sound poetry. Blonk is highly regarded for his pure and uninhibited style of improvisation, his sets often given greater depth by the use of live electronics, and he has collaborated with Maja Ratkje, Mats Gustafsson, Joan La Barbara, The Ex and many others. jaapblonk.com

Steve Noble first appeared as part of pop group Rip, Rig And Panic before becoming involved for several years with Derek Bailey’s Company Weeks and becoming over the years a key figure in the UK’s improvised and free music community, playing with improvisers of all approaches including Peter Brotzmann, Stephen O’Malley, John Edwards, Ikue Mori and Keiji Haino.
efi.group.shef.ac.uk/musician/mnoble.html 

Wobbly is the nom de plume of Californian plunderphonic artist Jon Leidecker who, like Vicki Bennett, uses found materials and collage as a key part of his working method, so its perhaps inevitable that they have produced several records together. He’s also released a series of records on Important, Illegal Art, Tigerbeat6 and other labels and collaborated with Matmos, Jay Lesser and many others. detritus.net/wobbly

Mark Sanders is a drummer and key part of the UK free music scene with an astounding list of collaborators from Derek Bailey to Okkyung Lee, Charles Gayle and William Parker. Mark has performed all over the world and released over 120 cds and also forms a rhythm section with bassist John Edwards in a number of groups. marksanders.me.uk

Tomomi Adachi is from Kazanawa, Japan and is a composer, sound poet and installation artist, improvising live with the use of voice, live electronics and his own instrument designs. Regarded as Japan’s only sound poet, he gave the first ever Japanese performance of Schwitters’ Ursonate and has performed the works of Cage, Cardew, Wolff and others and collaborated with countless artists including Zbigniew Karkowski, Annette Krebs and Akio Suzuki. adachitomomi.com/n/biography.html

Jennifer Walshe is a renowned vocalist and composer with so many strings to her artistic bow its hardly surprising she was so successful with her Grúpat project, where she adopted and developed 9 separate personas, each with their own individual creative outlet. The project led to exhibitions, photography, sculptures and more internationally by each of the personas. She’s perhaps best known as the composer of the opera XXX_Live_Nude_Girls!!! and is also highly regarded as a vocalist and improviser.  cmc.ie/composers/composer.cfm?composerID=114

This tour is produced by Tusk Music in association with Sound And Music.
tuskmusic.co.uk
soundandmusic.org

PRESS IMAGES Notations-A3

TECTONICS - Performers: Skúli Sverrisson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Hlynur Aðils.

TECTONICS – Performers: Skúli Sverrisson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Hlynur Aðils.

Notations-A6-back

NOTATIONS A6 Flyer – back

Notations-gloves

NOTATIONS still

Notations-hands

NOTATIONS still

Notations-lights

NOTATIONS still

Notations-window

NOTATIONS still

 flyer 350x250

SOCIAL MEDIA FLYERS

Download a zipped file of social media flyers for each concert and the whole tour

INTERVIEWS

Interview with Richard Whitelaw from Sound and Music, October 2013

MORE ABOUT NOTATIONS as a VISUAL SCORE

When performed, the film is provided with a “score” (ie a list of instructions to be translated into sound) which consists of some basic instructions and a synopsis listing characteristics of the 9 different sketches featured in the film.  The sketches are as follows:

The film is made in 9 sketches with titles that roughly describe the content/concept/theme. The themes move and progress with many tangents, although there is continuity of concepts and the pace even and flowing. There is intermittent film sound throughout, and lots of silence. Hopefully the sound will be no more surprising than any other performer on the stage. The maximum audio volume should be set equal to each participant.

There will be no instructions to be found beyond what is in the film, no written score beyond this text. The film will be provided to the players at least 2 weeks before the performance date, and should be viewed several times well before performing. For each sketch different numbers and combinations of performers are recommended, either spontaneously or pre-determined. All players should meet to discuss this before performing, and rehearsals are at the discretion of the performers. 

Ultimately, whatever the film content suggests is what all should react to. – Vicki Bennett, May 2013

1. A Nod to Previous Players.
Majority of footage sourced from old avant-garde and comedy films featuring people playing cards and chess, also doing things at tables. Very little sound added to the film soundtrack.
2. From A-B.
Transport, trains, cars, carriages and things that move fast.  Some typewriting and conducting too.  This one is fast and also noisy in places!
3. Spin.
Lots of spinning, vertigo, circles and targets. Zooming into eyes. Camera shutters. Not too much incidental sound on the film apart from towards the end with a piano.
4. At Home.
Mainly footage shot in domestic environments – pans through people’s rooms, people eating and chopping food, ringing doorbells, broken appliances and acts of domestic destruction. Reel to reel tape recorders and record players. Fairly quiet, some incidental sounds with a few louder bursts at the end when woman finds a monster in her fridge.
5. Several Directions at Once.
Part 1 A conductor conducts traffic lights and traffic. Incidental sound from traffic, but not conductor’s music. Radio dial turns.  Hands waving, pointing and conjuring. Quiet to start with then bursts of sound around the time of the radio dial being turned.
Part 2 Lots of punching, slapping and violence with incidental sound, cut in with a little conducting and hand gestures, bending and stretching. Quite noisy. Ends with car crash and bowing conjuror.
6. Dark.
Hand movements signifying quiet/listening. Record player and film leaders flicker black and white. People in the dark with candles, thunder and lightning, lights on and off. Disconnection of power, suspense and fear. Incidental sound of storm.  People walking on wooden steps in the dark. Radio tuner and typewriters/printing machines. Quiet incidental sound apart from necessary bursts of weather/explosions.
7. Ups and Downs.
Record players, panning through people’s living rooms. Leisure – card playing and knitting. More panning and record playing.  Walking legs/feet through many films. Very quiet. Desert scene, people run down hill making a noise, there follow many scenes from westerns, woman stops train, buzzers pressed, men with bells, all incidental sounds for this section. More walking, people waiting behind doors, quiet, suspense, just footsteps and door handles. Door lock gets shot (very loud) and then follows a lot of scenes of people struggling in train/horse carriages, to the sound of a carriage then train stopping. Ends with car sinking into mud.
8. The Suspense is Killing Me.
Predator/victims leaning over/backing away or trapped. Retaliation, shooting. Walking. Snooker and more predators.  Opening of doors to different scary people, hiding. Child making horrible noise with a pencil on chalkboard. Doors and wall banging intercut with silence and suspense, listening at walls. More doors opening and suspense, hiding and running. Screaming and fear, silhouettes with bright lights. Power cuts, darkness intercut with conductor and man stuck in phone booth. More power cuts and screaming, general misery. Sleeping woman, man walks up the stairs away from her, looks around, she looks up. He walks away.
9. Nothing Happens.
Man walks down wooden stairs to men playing cards at a table. Intercut with other people staring at the screen or each other, no one does anything, they are just looking. Walking around wooden flooring, woman slams door, sits in silence, kicks floor and three people faint. LP rolls across floor, car runs over accordion. Birds fly up and down, mixed with dancing swimmers. Man sits and writes at a table, silently turning blank pages from different movies. Lots of panning over paper and big tables, mainly silent, man screams at faceless man. Lots more staring at one another, suspense, waiting. Nothing happens. Door opens to man in fez, everyone screams. More staring and suspense. Still nothing happens. Gust of wind, Harpo plays flute through window and scares all the ladies. More predators with weapons, people run away, roll credits.

(The 30-minute version of the film excludes parts 7 & 9)

Download a pdf of the score here:
NOTATIONS-score-by-Vicki-Bennett
_______________________________

TECTONICS - Performers: Skúli Sverrisson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Hlynur Aðils.

TECTONICS, REYKJAVIK – Performers: Skúli Sverrisson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Hlynur Aðils.

LIVE PERFORMANCES SO FAR

20 April 2013 (with the working title of Gesture Piece*) Tectonics Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland
Performers: Skúli Sverrisson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Hlynur Aðils.
8 June 2013 (with the working title of Gesture Piece*) Tectonics Festival, Tel Aviv
Performers: Alex Drool, Assif Tsahar, Robbie Avenaim, Christoph Heemann, Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenney.
10 June 2013 (with the working title of Gesture Piece*) Uganda, Jerusalem
Performers: Eyvind Kang, Jessika Kenney, Robbie Avenaim, Christoph Heemann and special guests
November 2013 Tusk/Sound and Music UK tour – Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, London, Bristol
Performers: Bill Orcutt, Rhodri Davies, Mark Sanders, M.C. Schmidt, Wobbly, Jennifer Walshe, Tomomi Adachi, Jaap Blonk, Philip Jeck, Steve Noble

* Please note – Gesture Piece is now a separate project, an online film with 7 artist soundtracks.  We needed to change the name as the project split into two parts.

VIDEO


Excerpt from “NOTATIONS” Live at Tectonics Festival 2013: “From A-B.”

Co-produced with Sound and MusicWEB-logosall3

Newcastle NOTATIONS – video excerpts

Thanks to all who came to Newcastle NOTATIONS on Halloween, here’s a small excerpt of the evening performed by Rhodri Davies, Mark Sanders & Bill Orcutt.  Thanks to Tusk Music and Sound & Music!

Notations Live at The Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle UK 31/10/2013

Next stop Manchester on 14 November with M.C. Schmidt (Matmos), Wobbly & Jennifer Walshe.  peoplelikeus.org/2013/notations-tour/

This one below is recorded direct from the desk and is matched with the original film of NOTATIONS.

NOTATIONS TOUR ARCHIVE Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle w/ Mark Sanders, Bill Orcutt & Rhodri Davies.