Drone / Ambient
Sound Art / Spoken Word
Indie / Rock
Floating Limb is a hub for the various projects of Oli Barrett.
Grapefruits has a changing line-up around the fixed core of Oliver Barrett and Max Bondi. For this iteration, Grapefruits were:
Oliver Barrett / amplified celloMax Bondi / synth and tape loopsDavid McLean / saxophoneSimon Trevethick / drums
Recorded by Shaun Crook at Cordyceps Is Your Friend, Cafe OTO, 6th March 2015.Tracks 2 + 3 reinterpreted by Oliver Barrett, December 2021.Mixed and mastered by Oliver Barrett.
Live at Cordyceps Is Your Friend – Grapefruits
Solo cello improv. Single take. One mike.
Track 1 recorded in two parts at the Silver Road venue (a converted water tank) in Lewisham.
Tracks 2, 3 + 5 recorded at the OTO Project Space in Dalston.
Track 4 recorded at home in Sutton.
All tracks recorded on an Olympus LS-11.released February 27, 2017
Yowulls – Oliver Barrett
Solo cello improv. Single take. One mike.
Track 1 recorded on an Olympus LS-11 then fed through a Korg/Microbrute set-up with some keys held down.
Track 3 played with a whole load of reverb.
Track 4, solo cello with a postcard woven through the strings.
Track 5 recorded at the Cafe OTO. All the rest recorded at home in New Cross.released January 14, 2016
Yyauyls – Oliver Barrett
'Parapet In Golden Light' is the first release under the Sphagnum Moss moniker, invoking longform tonal shifts and structures with an emphasis on density. The two pieces blur the lines between acoustic and electronic sound sources, physical and synthetic, high fidelity and low fidelity, taking a home organ and a harmonium as sonic starting points, respectively.
The title of the release comes from an artwork by the American painter, Paul Lehr.
Written, recorded and produced by Oli Barrett.
Sphagnum Moss – Parapet In Golden Light
"Look, I’m not offering excuses here, except... I guess I just want to give you some semblance of who I am. Or who I was at least. How it went... What led me all the way out here..."
There The Sun Also Rises is a short story and album by Oliver Barrett; both parts inspired by and extrapolating on the other. Told by a man looking back on his life, the things he's left behind, and all the decisions that led him to up to a single revelatory experience, the story is both a wide-eyed, cosmic science fiction tale and a deeply personal reckoning with what has come to pass.
The download includes the accompanying short story, 'There The Sun Also Rises', as a pdf file.released April 30, 2021
All music written, recorded and produced by Oliver Barrett.
There The Sun Also Rises – Oliver Barrett
"When we moved into our current flat, there was an old TV aerial wedged precariously between two sections of the roof. It had obviously been blown down years ago and it was now stuck there about 25 feet above the front door to the building. I'd see it every time I came home and worry about it falling off one day and coming down on somebody in the street below but we couldn't really do anything about it.
After we'd been in this place about three years we had to get a couple of roofing tiles replaced after they'd been damaged by a scaffolding company doing some work next door though, so we got the aerial taken down off the roof at the same time. Turns out it was pretty much entirely kept up there by this moss patch that had built up around it. This self-contained little ecosystem up on the roof.
For a week after it came down a bunch of seagulls divebombed the windows around our flat. I guess they'd been using the aerial as a perch or something. Seagulls hold a grudge. Anyhow, when life gives you weathered old tv aerials..."
Aerial – Oliver Barrett
A strange tone you’ve been hearing in your dreams suddenly made manifest and no, actually, not that one at all. Several synths left out in the rain and then dried in the tumble drier on the wrong setting. A storage box of rhythms with holes in the knees that you’ve grown out of suddenly pitching down the stairs. Like a lift shaft falling down a lift shaft. The violent internal reaction after the person coming the other way moves to avoid you in the same direction you do, and then does it again. Swirling moss agate. Running to catch the match-winning ball after stepping off the waltzer. New MIDI for old rope. Four choirs in full voice but the ground feels wrong and somebody’s plugged their throats with last summer’s molasses. A juddering sycamore seed, caught in the grille. Budimir Šobat slowly coming up for air but then thinking better of it. A lull. A grip. A curve.
Sphagnum Moss – Rig Curve
Three pieces named for three people alleged to have been the executioner of King Charles I.
The execution of King Charles I in 1649 was the defining act of the English Civil War, resulting in a temporary abolition of the monarchy and symbolising a significant step towards potential democracy in this country (one day, maybe).
The identity of Charles I's executioner has never definitively been proved, as the executioner and his assistant wore face masks and wigs in order to avoid identification. Numerous people have been alleged to have carried out the act (including, implausibly, Oliver Cromwell himself) but there is no overall consensus. I've chosen two of the likeliest candidates - Captain William Hulet and Richard Brandon, who was the common hangman at the time - as well as one fringe candidate, parliamentarian soldier William Walker, who confessed to carrying out the execution several times and who has the same name as the Victorian diver that I previously devoted an entire album to; a coincidence too large to ignore.
I'm not condoning murder, obviously. But it would have been nice if the royals had taken the hint in 1649.
"We fought for the public good and would have enfranchised the people and secured the welfare of the whole groaning creation, if the nation had not more delighted in servitude than in freedom." - Prosecutor of Charles I, John Cook, shortly before his execution for "high treason" following the restoration of the monarchy with Charles II in 1660.
Three Royal Headsmen – Sphagnum Moss
One longform piece in two parts, or two longform pieces making one whole. Manipulated synthetic chamber choir, scrawled strings, restless sines, fielded recordings, rapturous devotions, mangled tape and discordant barrage.
Written, recorded and produced by Oli Barrett.
Additional creative commons sounds sourced from Rutger Muller, Martin Sadoux, Manuel Calurano, Dredding, greysound and Urkki69, then manipulated beyond their original intention. Apologies and thank you.
Sphagnum Moss – The Dweller of the House
Broken harmonium, unbroken harmonium, ms-20 mini, strings, microbrute, feedback, extraneous gumpf.Slowly exhaled, July 2019 - January 2023.
Sphagnum Moss – The Bellows and the Breath
"I am sunk in a sort of joyful oblivion. Deep, deep down I realise that the struggle is quite eternal, and that to evade the consequences of the struggle is to sell the soul. And one of the first consequences of the struggle is the fundamental aloneness of one's most important acts. I think this has always been the mystic's experience. Contact with the spiritual world is single, even though the desire is for the unitary life of unity with all creation. The stigmata appear in the solitary cave, but the eating and drinking is with the brethren." – Michael Tippett
Yma – Purger
A piece, split into four parts, attempting to imagine and evoke the interior world of a Common Swift (apus apus) in its first four years of life. After dropping from its nest and taking its first flight, a swift will spend this period almost entirely airborne, going months or years at a time without ever landing and then only briefly. Feeding and even sleeping in flight, swifts will only come back down for an extended period when they are old enough to mate. Even after this point, the vast remainder of their lives will be spent in the air, during which time they can travel over a million kilometres.
I’ve always loved swifts, but they’ve held special meaning for me ever since I moved into my current flat in North Somerset a few years ago and realised that some were nesting in the roof here. Not three feet from my desk where I wrote and recorded this piece, I can hear them shuffling and rustling above me in the early summer. Seeing them scream and swoop overhead with seemingly boundless freedom for a couple of months of the year is one of my favourite things about living where I do.
Common swifts spend most of the year in Africa, arriving back in the UK and across the rest of Northern Europe in late April / early May to breed and raise chicks. I started writing and recording this album when they left at the start of August in 2022, with the aim of finishing it by the time they returned. I heard my first swift of the year last week, so I think I just about managed it.
Four Years on the Wing – Oliver Barrett