A Cloakroom Assembly (2009) "Space Variation 4" 28/4/09
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Michael Tee has been making ‘public noise’ since 1979 through various collective outlets and collaborations such as Scattered Order, Ya Ya Choral, Monalisa Overdrive, The Barons, Pleasant Peasants, Volatile T-Shirt – usually outputting misunderstood and eclectic sounds, which have varied from the ‘very annoying’ to ‘very loud’ to ‘very twee/pretty’ to ‘snap crackle and pop’ to ‘ dumbass metal/rock’.
“I was never very good at - or - even very interested in explaining what I was doing” says Michael Tee “I am culturally literate, I am influenced by everything I have ever heard. I am interested in iconoclasm and hybrids and not interested in staying genre and pretending authenticity and purity”
Behind the scenes Michael Tee enjoyed a secret place for making ‘private noise’ which began with collaborations with his sister Angela as a teenager in the early 1970’s, as they tried to re-construct the Beatle’s “Revolution # 9” and assemble ‘mock-Stockhausen’ sound stories. Tee was always impressed by the sense of ‘place/situation’ and ‘narrative/people’ in the Beatles Revolution #9 and the shape of sound as ‘time stood still’ in the work of Eno’s ‘Onland’ and Tangerine Dream’s ‘Zeit’.
Tee began working solo as A Cloakroom Assembly in the late 1970s at the same time as he co-founded M. Squared. Michael Tee describes A Cloakroom Assembly (aka ACRA) as a variety of 'sound story' projects and gentle ‘time stands still - machines’. In the eighties he ‘shared’ for a little while and he released 3 ACRA collections on limited edition cassettes on M Squared in 1982. True to it’s name a fourth release “Retreat” was withdrawn before release in 1983 and Tee retreated behind the ‘public noise’ of Ya Ya Choral.
After 1995 Michael retreated from the public noise and touring overseas, into family and academic life, yet still he was driven to assemble hours and hours of unreleased sound stories. The sound stories began increasingly longer, more as ‘time stands still – machines’. Tee would frequently break them down and recycle and re assemble and rebrand. The titles are unimportant. Some of this material is now available free on the internet as torrent files.
“I don’t reckon this sort of music has much of a market” says Tee “Why waste money on producing hard copies. That’s why I give it away for free.”
“I do this for my own enjoyment, though I am surprised and happy that a small group of people appear to enjoy my current period of slow mrrky noise. I cannot imagine what sort of context people would listen to my sound stories. Though having said that I got an email from a person in Bulgaria the other day saying that he plays ACRA all day to help him create a space for thinking. So far, he had downloaded three hours of ACRA and “a series of throbs” was his favourite .... this is encouraging”
“Elsewhere in Canada they think the new stuff sounds like old German space rock (pre sequencers or drum loaded kraut-rock) which is lovely – as I am a great fan of early Tangerine Dream and 1960s drone music. Perhaps the space tag comes because some of the ACRA pieces are named after not so obscure astronomical objects”
“Who knows … maybe someday if there is enough interest I will release the hi –fi versions, but only if someone else wants to take the financial risk ! ”
In July 2009, for the first time Michael will attempt to present some of the ‘private music’ in public at the Avoca Beach Theatre.
This coincides with other renewed public activity as part of 2 piece version of Scattered Order (with Mitch Jones) and he/said/she/said (with Fiona Graham).
At the July 2009 ACRA gig, Tee will perform a hybrid of old and new in a sound story called “Territory and Population”. The ‘territory’ part refers to pre prepared noise beds while the ‘population’ part refers to the live playing, random/cut in voices and other ‘planned accidents’. He has assembled some video noise to go with the sound. A test run ‘live to laptop’ was released on the internet for free in March, to a positive response.
Current ACRA material (as long pieces) in circulation free on the internet (in order of popularity i.e downloads) ....
1. One Night on Stanwell Park Beach
2. Its Like a Test Pattern for Twinkle Stars
3. HD 189733
4. A series of throbs and bleeps in c minor
5. The Ghosts of History evoke the great expectation/Machiato
7. Territory and Beltane Jzzz live in the Studio 1/3/09
8. Circa 1958-Variation on Discrete Music
9. GRB 080607A
10. Unsettled #2 ... uneasy feelings suck my soul dry
11. Little Species
12. I think we are lost / around a point in time
13. We sleep while carnivale battles with lent
14. Unsettled #1.. a time to call room service
15. … And through the mrrky darkness
16. Retreat Parts 13-17
So far there are plans for releasing early ACRA material planned in Europe and Australia:
• mrrk+MRRK Vinyl Lp (from the M Squared Boxed set) “Pardion me for barging in like this” VOD Label (Germany)
• 4 tracks on the M Squared Sampler CD “Welcome to the world of metal tape technology” (Australia)
For more info and dialogue email Michael Tee at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
If you like this look out for 'mrrk+MRRK' retrospective on vinyl (VOD label) as part of the M Squared Boxed Set to be released in mid 2009.