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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

Known to many through his collaborative works with Oren Ambarchi, crys cole, Kassel Jaeger, Klaus Lang, Joe Talia, and many others, this LP is Rushford’s first solo release in a decade and the very first he has composed, performed, and recorded entirely alone. Primarily recorded in Los Angeles in 2017, The Body’s Night is a single electro-acoustic suite stretching over thirty minutes, utilizing field recordings, flutes, ocarina, microphones, organ, percussion, piano, tape, analog synthesizers, viola, and voice. True to its title, the record immediately ushers into a nocturnal, intimate, claustrophobic space where the hyper-amplified rustle of clothing and vocal mumbles are shadowed by uneasy synth tones, fluttering white noise and distant filigrees of ultra-high-pitched tones at the edges of aural perception. While the influence of contemporary composers such as Klaus Lang and Jakob Ullmann (both of whose music Rushford has performed extensively) makes itself felt in the music’s attention to the liminal space between sounds, Rushford also draws on the bedroom synth explorations of ’80s acts like DDAA and the harmonies and production values of black metal, drawing a common thread between these influences in terms of their shared interest in atmosphere and deliberate retreat from perspicuity. Relief from this claustrophobic atmosphere comes through the episodic structure of the piece, where like an already dark shot fading to black, each sequence retreats from your ears before you can properly grasp it. Rushford uses classical electro-acoustic techniques and plays elegantly on the fundamental ambiguity of the acousmatic situation in which you can never be sure of the source of the sound you are hearing. But rather than a tribute to the masterworks of musique concrete, this is defiantly idiosyncratic and personal music. Meticulous in production values and exploratory in timbre, tonality and form, The Body’s Night is a key work from one of the most singular young composers at work today. Stunning artwork by O.B. De Alessi. Design by Lasse Marhaug. Mastered for maximum fidelity by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.

James Rushford – The Body’s Night

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