James Rushford

James Rushford

James Rushford is an Australian composer-performer. His work is drawn from a familiarity with specific concrète, improvised, avant-garde and collagist languages. Currently, his work deals with the aesthetic concept of musical shadow.

As a composer, James has been commissioned by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Glasgow), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Neon (Oslo), Speak Percussion, Synergy Percussion, Ensemble Vortex (Geneva), Ensemble Offspring, Soundstream, The Song Company, Decibel, Melbourne International Arts Festival (2006/2008), Norway Ultima Festival (2011), Unsound Festival (New York 2014) and Liquid Architecture Festival (2010).

As a performer, he has presented work at STEIM Institute (Amsterdam), Logos Foundation (Ghent), Issue Project Room (New York), Instants Chavirés (Montreuil), Constellation (Chicago), Super Deluxe (Tokyo), Blank Forms (New York), Monday Evening Concerts (Los Angeles), Cave12 (Geneva), Send & Receive Festival (Winnipeg), WORM (Rotterdam), Centre for Contemporary Art (Warsaw), Only Connect Festival (Oslo), Now Now (2011/2012), Adelaide Festival (2014), Melbourne International Jazz Festival (2011) and the Tectonics Festival (Adelaide 2014, New York 2015, Tel Aviv 2015). He has also performed live with the Krakow Sinfonietta, Australian Art Orchestra, Michel Pisaro, Eyvind King, David Behrman and Jon Rose.

James has collaborative projects with Joe Talia, Golden Fur (with Samuel Dunscombe & Judith Hamann), Ora Clementi (with crys cole), Will Guthrie, Oren Ambarchi, Klaus Lang, Kassel Jaeger, Annea Lockwood, Graham Lambkin, Francis Plagne, Tashi Wada, the visual artist Michael Salerno and the writer Dennis Cooper.

His music has been published by Pogus (US), Prisma (Norway), Bocian (Poland), Penultimate Press (UK), Black Truffle (AUS), Holidays (IT) and KYE (US).

James holds a Doctorate from the California Institute of the Arts, and was a 2018 fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart.

www.james-rushford.com

Featured releases

"Face Time is the second release from the trio of Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, and James Rushford, following on from their 2016 debut Pale Calling. Recorded at the GRM studios in Paris in June 2017, the record immediately returns to the idiosyncratic sound-world of the trio’s first release, a simmering stew of electronic smears, pitched-down animal moans, and mysteriously emotive microtonal organ chords. But before long the record takes an unexpected turn, as sounds that initially enter as occasional percussive pitter-patter build to a halting rhythm. Equally reminiscent of Basic Channel-style dub techno and the sound of a microphone loose in a pocket, these stumbling rhythmic figures provide the framework for the remainder of the record’s two sides, occasionally receding into the background to allow squelching electronics, chiming bells, distorted autoharp, inchoate grunts and the sound of a Cristal Baschet to take centre stage, but each time returning with the inevitability of a an idée fixe. Eschewing any clear sense of form, the two side-long pieces move seamlessly through episodes with the organic flow of improvisation, embracing the happy accidents of events conjoined by chance and lingering on liminal moments. Gradually washing out into a cavernous roar, the record’s final moments are suddenly enlivened by shimmering metallic percussion and a sequence of woozy synth chords, combining with the muted rhythms and a distant thunderstorm to become a sort of oneiric tribute to the work of Wally Badarou. Bringing together three of contemporary experimental music’s most individual voices, Face Time is an essential slice of outsider electro-acoustics. Cover design by Stephen O’Malley. Mastered by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin."

Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, James Rushford – Face Time

Black Truffle is pleased to present Sylva Sylvarum, an epic new work from Ora Clementi, the collaborative project of crys cole and James Rushford. Primarily conceived and recorded over several months together in Melbourne, Sylva Sylvarum is a stunning step forward from the mumbled, creaking sound world of the duo’s debut, Cover You Will Softer Me (Penultimate Press, 2014). From the opening ‘Peach of Immortality’, which takes an unpredictable journey from layers of chiming bells, vocal harmonies and lush synth pads to a desolate landscape of half-animal, half-digital wooshes and cries, it is immediately clear that cole and Rushford are working here with an entirely unique sound palette. Throughout the record’s four sides, we hear a large array of carefully detailed synthesizer sounds (many of them recorded at the remarkable Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio), sparse drum machine hits, wind instruments and field recordings of animals, often with a twistedly late 80s/early 90s flavour that at various points calls up New Age references, Robert Ashley’s later operas or the thinned-out textures of early digital GRM. Threaded through this distinctive array of sounds are the two musicians’ voices, sometimes singing, sometimes speaking through varying degrees of manipulation. A guiding thread through the pair’s collaboration, beginning with their initial experiments with lip-readings, the presence of these two voices – cole’s crisp and sibilant, Rushford’s rich and low – reinforces the sense that the music is immersed in itself, less performed by two people than occurring between them. On Sylva Sylvarum, these voices first come to the forefront on the third piece, ‘Dialogue Between a Grandmaster of the Knights Hospitaller and a Genoese Sea Captain’, where in unison they intone fragments of a description of an imaginary space taken from a 17th century utopian text. The two voices resurface periodically thereafter, most stunningly in the unexpected turn into cushiony dream pop on ‘Magic Mountain’. At other points, the subtle manipulation of pitch and intonation in the close-miked vocal performances filters the recitations through a fog of abstraction that climaxes with the almost incomprehensible alternating syllables of the side-long closer ‘Forest of Materials’. --- Black Truffle, 2021

Ora Clementi – Sylva Sylvarum

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