Three quite different pieces yet perhaps my most coherent solo guitar "statement" to date. Consolation is a companion album to my side of the House Sitting split (or vice versa), having been recorded during the same ten-day stretch in the loft at my holidaying friends' house. Influences: the colour of damsons, intense darkness and a Kenyan beer named after an elephant who killed a man. 40 copies.
BEN SPIERS / MONTHS – House Sitting
When Christchurch, New Zealand's Mike Minchington (aka Months) and I discovered that we were both house sitting and recording music on opposite sides of the world at the same time this split cassette became inevitable. Mike has been around the NZ noise scene for some time but most of his releases have been self-released tapes in editions even smaller than this one. The last few years have seen some wider exposure with his duo Memory Burn opening for Merzbow in Auckland and appearing at Lines of Flight in Dunedin. Here he turns in a fine layered drone piece vaguely in the Birchville Cat Motel tradition. My side, recorded in Oxford, is a suite of minimalist shimmer and hum for guitar and Marshall micro amp (preceded by a couple of fairly perverse curve balls). The cover is black on frosted silver card. 40 copies.
MASAMI / BEN SPIERS
– The Bridge CDR
In September 2009 I visited Tokyo for the first time and was suitably blown away. It seemed like everything was amazing and anything was possible. So when I found myself in a practice room/studio in Koenji recording with Kawaguchi Masami (New Rock Syndicate, Los Doroncos, Miminokoto, Broom Dusters, LSD March, Aihiyo) (!!!) it seemed like just another (incredible) day in Tokyo. This short guitar duo album comes from the tail end of a trio session with Mark Sadgrove (who had stepped out early to run some errands ahead of our gig that night). Late night swoon, amplifier meltdowns and demolished blues. 100 copies.
/ ANDREW SCOTT / BEN SPIERS
– Dry Hail Choir 3” CDR
Around 2005-2007 I recorded quite a lot with people from Auckland, NZ's Wine Cellar scene but these sessions seemed technologically jinxed and few recordings survived. This one with Sam Hamilton (City People's Farmers Music, Muffin Seeks Sunship, The Absolutionists, Jan Anderzen duo) and Andrew Scott (Metal Rouge, Nest, Huzun) sounds like it barely survived (recorded with the inbuilt mic on Andrew's laptop and yes, the sound is a bit rough) but survive it did. The claustrophobic sound only adds to what was a pretty special atmosphere that Sunday afternoon in The Wine Cellar. Single notes drip from the ceiling, thick clouds of 6-string fog hang in the air. 60 copies.
From What Place Did You Come? CDR
Another solo guitar album. Still improvised. Still recorded on cassette. Still dreamy and/or raw, exacting and/or ham-fisted (though that ham is sliced wafer thin). 2009 recordings released in 2012 but this is most assuredly a new album (that's just the pace at which things move around here). 60 copies.
– Flensing/Grey Christmas vinyl 7"
It took moving to the UK for it happen but, with this debut release from new project Smokers Please, Ben Spiers (Glory Fckn Sun, Seen Through, Empty Mirror) has gotten over an aversion to overdubs and embraced the classic “New Zealand solo four-track thing” (think past collaborators A.M, 1/3 Octave Band and Birchville Cat Motel, along with the likes of Alastair Galbraith, early Lovely Midget, Chris Knox, RST, etc.). The A side is a hot blast of vicious/euphoric viola and massively distorted guitar while the B sets a stylophone melody and dreary/dreamy strum against argumentative noise guitar. 250 copies on black vinyl.
(YOTW's predecessor, 2001-2008)
– And Then CDR
Long-time-coming album initially slated for release on a US label but as it turns out it feels much better having this one close to home. These 2004 recordings run parallel to early Glory Fckn Sun sessions but show a more grounded and intimate approach than that band. Here you’ll find me getting all “man alone” with a guitar, violin (briefly), and an amplifier audibly on its last legs. There’s a melodic warmth in places which has been remarked upon by those who’ve heard it. While still improvised and fairly noisy, the pieces have the feel of lost, damaged or embryonic songs.
||BLACK WINDOW – Gunwales 3" CDR
Debut release from the duo of US guitarist Andrew Weeks and Ben Spiers. Black Window formed following a late night acoustic busking session at Wellington Railway Station ….. Gunwales couldn’t be much further from those beginnings as a bed of garage doom explodes into punked-up mass projection guitar, then collapses into tape warble. 3” CDR housed in an oversized gatefold sleeve with pro-printed outer and hand-painted inner. Edition of 60 copies.
TIM COSTER & MARK SADGROVE –
Untitled (35:20) CDR
Last recordings from this great Auckland duo prior to Sadgrove’s departure for Tokyo in 2006. There’s a fine balance between meditative stasis and purposeful activity in these computer/guitar/electronics recordings, conjuring images of a living-dead Douglas Lilburn dropping in to jam with the Improvised Music From Japan crew. Both Coster and Sadgrove are members of the minimalist supergroup Plains (with Rosy Parlane, Richard Francis, Paul Winstanley and Clinton Watkins) and run their own very fine labels (CLaudia and A Binary Datum, respectively).
||BEN SPIERS –
Artwork Temporarily Removed 3" CDR
A woozy guitar-and-breath meditation on emptiness. “Like a time-condensed recording of a guitar being decimated by age, tumbling out of tune, and finally breathing out it's lasts gasps of amplitude on the ground” (Foxy Digitalis). Packaged in individually block-printed manila sleeves. Second edition of 50 copies.
||SAM HAMILTON –
The Borders of the Garden Paths Are Overgrown CDR
The unofficial Mayor of Auckland City has created a real pleasure garden of the mind with this new work (co-released with the artist’s own Tumbling Strain label). Sam is one of the most gifted sound artists working in New Zealand today and this is yet another fascinating example of the eclectic, restless approach and extraordinary sense of structure that made the Low Hill 3” such a stunner. At once highly personal and earth-bound, yet totally out of its skull in the most magical way, at times this sounds as if the guitar, piano and electronics are gently playing themselves while the composer is off sleeping under a tree somewhere. Dreamy and joyous! (27 minutes, hence “mid-price”).
||ANTONY MILTON –
Live @ the Cake Shop, August 2005 CDR
Gorgeously intimate live set which joins some of the dots between Antony’s earlier song-based work (as heard on Last Visible Dog’s Sirens reissue, the title track of which appears here) and the brain-rotating psychedelia of current projects such as The Nether Dawn, The Stumps and Glory Fckn Sun. A songwriting voice as unique as that of contemporaries Pumice and GFrenzy emerges out of this modest, yet significant release. (28 minutes, hence “mid-price”).
||BEN SPIERS –
Spin You CDR
A round thing with round things on the cover. Expect to hear strings being struck, bowed, fanned …. and strummed (!). This one distinguishes itself from previous discs by being 75% electricity-free, including a duet for violin and empty bedroom. All in all? A lot of wood with some concrete & electricity. “More late night string caressing from Mr Spiers: title track … is gorgeous - solitary notes dropped into a gloom of taut scraping” (Boa Melody Bar).
||BEN SPIERS –
2000 solo guitar (and a little violin) recordings. Shimmery, hazy and “late night”. Mats Gustafsson called it “a true headswimmer that floats somewhere between the Celebrate Psi Phenomenon gang, Pseudo Arcana and Metonymic” (The Broken Face #17).
Spectra (Tipped Bowler Tapes, USA) LP
"The sky done clouded over after Glory Fckn Sun's debut album, yielding this brooding and corrosive follow-up. The New Zealand sorta-super group of Antony Milton, Ben Spiers, and Simon O'Rorke concoct a slow-burning behemoth of metallic shivers and distortion churn, dark enough to invoke the dread name Haino. Spectra is an unsettling mind-meld: Spiers' desolate soundscapes bleed into Milton's heavy drones, which are complemented perfectly by O'Rorke's restless percussion. Group improvisation is the natural language of these three; even listing their solo and collaborative albums over the past decade would take way more effort than I can muster. Suffice to say this is a stellar and unique record to add to their massive discographies. In an edition of 300 red records, housed in silk-screened, heavy-gauge recycled stock jackets." - Tipped Bowler.
Vision Scorched (PseudoArcana, NZ) CD
”Reissue in new packaging! Formed in 2003 as a conduit for intense ritualistic sonic exploration Glory Fckn Sun is the ecstatic psyche-noise trio of Antony Milton (guitar/electronics), Ben Spiers (guitar/violin/electronic) and improv percussionist Simon O'Rorke (gongs/percussion). 'Vision Scorched' collects together one studio track and two live pieces. These range through long form rumbling distorted deep space explorations (complete with supernova and the odd blackhole), intense yet ethereal harsh noise to close with a droning metaphysical raga-esque paean to the great cosmic inevitable of the collapse of the sun, And of light itself. Glory Fckn Sun have been described as having a sound that is like a cross between Flies Inside the Sun and Keiji Haino. The 1st edition of this release sold out in a matter of weeks and gained rave reviews. This 2nd edition is also limited. There are 250 copies.” - PseudoArcana.
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Ben Spiers discography
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|last updated: 10.05.14|