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PHILLIPS, DAVE - Should A Seeker Not Find A Companion Who Is Better Or Equal, Let Him Resolutely Pursue A Solitary Course; There Is No Fellowship With The Fool / Cicada Trance

Format: do-CD
Label & Cat.Number: NO PART OF IT
Release Year: 2023
Note: *If you listen closely, and I did as I found this very compelling music, one notes minimalist changes or even melodic singing, especially in the second half*
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €15.00

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"should a seeker not find a companion who is better or equal, let him resolutely pursue a solitary course; there is no fellowship with the fool"

dave phillips' trajectory as an experimental recording artist began in the mid-80s, with a punk background that expanded to wilder and more nuanced territories as a solo artist.

having utilized field recordings, both raw and arranged, for over 20 years, not to mention his well-established work with bombastic body sounds, surrealist strings, and tribal percussion, phillips has honed his use of source material in a way that comes off more as a soldier's sense of duty than anything resembling a hobby. with "should a seeker... / cicada trance", he returns with two badly needed physical issues of integral field recording-based pieces that were previously only available for digital download.

"should a seeker..." was initially published as a digital release on the radical matters label in 2008. it is a structured arrangement of sounds with reptilian, amphibian, and insectan origin, remastered for physical release in 2023. for over 56 minutes, gurgles, primal roars, and screams from creatures of the night swirl in and out of the stereo spectrum in complex, yet somewhat rhythmic patterns, for an almost hyperreal effect.

from dave phillips about cicada trance:

the main insect featured here is the first one that drew me to another world, through its sound. a piercing high ringing frequency that seems to go on and on, often alternating with a slower, winding kind of motion, until the sound rises, peaks and drones again. some of these cycles are short, a minute or two a round, others seem to go for an hour, their winding down phase often partly silent; many play in 10 to 20 minute cycles. their song can differ from one region to the other, like dialects. their sound can be heard for miles. its ear-splitting loud when youre close.

ive been wanting to do this piece for a long time, maybe since i returned from my first half year in thailand, early 1995. one recording herein is from then.

mostly i dont see these musicians. many locals all over south east asia told me that these are cicadas. a few others gave other names. i never verified any further. i hear individuals and tribes, not really species. besides, there are all sorts of sonic individuals in these recordings, and i dont think they care much about what we call them.

recorded in thailand, vietnam, indonesia and south africa, most of these are daytime sonic activities, one is nocturnal. all play in hot climates, frequently during the hottest time of day. two are desert inhabitants (kgalagadi), the others live in the humid heat of tropical rainforests.

i often wonder what goes on in these creatures when theyre playing. when they sing or stridulate, or whatever you want to call it, its vibration, its ongoing, repetitive. its being in the very immediate here and now. the common scientific explanation is mating call (another scientific favourite is territorial call). this may explain one of many reasons, but reasons apart from functional ones seem excluded.

i could imagine these singing ringing cicadas create trance states. like being high on life, ultimately immersed in the present moment and their immediate surroundings and celebrating it. maybe their sound creates altered states of consciousness also in other beings.

immersion - to be part of something

assembled jun 21 - jan 22 in zug and brugg, switzerland
dedicated to the most important beings on this planet - insects
alternate headphone listening is recommended


"As we all know, you can easily find noise music in nature. I am not a biologist, but I think cicadas exist in many countries, warm countries or just during the summer in some others. They are fascinating creatures, and many musicians have used recordings of them. Dave Phillips is the latest, and we know him as give or take, a man of noise music. In 1995 he spent six months in Thailand, and ever since, he has wanted to do a piece of music using recordings of cicadas. This now comes as 'Cicada Trance' and a work with a very long title, 'Should A Seeker Not Find A Companion Who Is Better Or Equal, Let Him Resolutely Pursue A Solitary Course; There Is No Fellowship With The Fool'. That piece was originally released in digital form by Radical Matters and used sounds of reptilian, amphibian, and insectan origin. Let's start here, as this is the first piece in the box. I think that the insects make up the backbone of the piece via long-form sustaining sounds, and on top of that, there are animal sounds, roaring and screaming, sometimes rhythmic, but I am unsure to what extent Phillips uses sound effects. There are none (so I believe, at least), and it's all a matter of overlaying sounds until a musical dialogue arises. This is quite a long piece at fifty-six minutes, but it's a great excursion. Strangely, I thought that this was indeed very much a Dave Phillips piece. It's loud but dynamic, and in some of his work, Phillips uses similar sounds but then of a different origin, such as his mouth or body.
Dynamics are not part of the other six, six minutes longer. Here Phillips uses just recordings of cicadas from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and South Africa and places these together. Whereas 'Should' rocks back and forth, and sounds repeat, disappear but also return, no such thing happens here. It's piercingly high frequencies going on and on, just like they do in nature. It is almost like a harsh noise wall, but one realizes that this is all nature's (true!) forces. If you listen closely, and I did as I found this very compelling music, one notes minimalist changes or even melodic singing, especially in the second half. Here too, I can easily see this as a piece of music by Dave Phillips, but this time using only field recordings, and at that from various recordings from one animal. It is recommended to be heard by headphones, which I tried, but I must admit I thought it was too much at least the cicada piece. The other one worked great with headphones. What a blast!" [FdW / Vital Weekly]