Who are The Surf Messengers? Annie Q (from Devon), when not trying to find out what noises a milk bottle can make, plays flute, sax and clarinet and creates wistfully twisted lyrics. Glenda Pescado (from West Wales), if not playing the bass, loves to manipulate noise and mess with off-centred and otherwise effected records as well as heavily-treated, sampled and looped guitars and such like. You may also know him by psyche-rock band SENDELICA. Nick Danger (from Surrey) is essentially a drummer who thinks the whole world is a drum kit; but he also likes to explore other sounds, usually invovling the unlikely juxtapostion of household objects and can often be seen with his trusty dictaphone in hand. And will whitney (from Devon) likes to hit things with varying degrees of violence: sometimes suspended gearbox housings but often just a guitar or a keyboard. They come together once or twice a year to play and record as THE SURF MESSENGERS. They've been playing together as this combo for over 10 years now and have an understanding that allows them to improvise creatively in many different set-ups: sometimes as a straight beat combo; sometimes as a experimental cell; but, more often than not, as a combination of these. What you can be sure of is, whatever instrumentation they choose to use, whether it be regular or radical, the resulting music is always interesting, frequently challenging, sometimes darkly humourous and often extremely beautiful. And all the music is created without prior discussion. Most of TSM recordings are rare self-produced CDR's which can be ordered through C IS FOR DOG RECORDS. Be sure to try some TSM sounds at their Bandcamp Page or MyspaceMusic Page.
Most of THE SURF MESSENGERS' music you've heard or never heard is recorded at a semi-derelict English farmstead called "West Woodley". This old house, as you might guess, has the definite sound, the right atmosphere, and holds its secrets most jealously… For over 10 years now, Annie Q, Glenda Pescado, Nick Danger, and will whitney have come together once or twice a year to play and record music which is inspired by the ghostly stories of West Woodley. The time has come to give public access to the West Woodley archives. Here comes the first story of “Tales from the Vaults of West Woodley”. It is entitled “Friday the 13th” and consists of two chapters; not because the authors are fond of the Sean Cunningham’s horror movie, but because it was heard, performed, and recorded on Friday the 13th of August 1999. Previously unpublished and available now only as free-to-download courtesy to TSM and West Woodley! Chapter I: Day (35 mb - 1 track - 26 min.) and Chapter II: Night (32 mb - 1 track - 25 min.)
Annie Q. (flute, alto sax, voice), Glenda Pescado (noises, loops, guitars, keyboards), Nick Danger (percussion, cymbals, devices, dictaphone) and Will Whitney (drones, metals, guitars, samples) recorded “Strange Archers”, “Ni, my lovest one” and “Bright Clear Blue” respectively in 1999, 2000 and 2006. In 2007, Will Whitney edited and mixed original impro-sessions and presented them as an album entitled Lovest. TSM utilize dense, slow, calm, flowing and continuous electro-acoustic figures to construct 3 long textural compositions that clock in at over 73 minutes. This is neither dark minimalism nor pastoral ambience. The music is appropriately solitude and grief but without becoming dark. This reminds dimly colorful, vibrant and organic meditation, between the freeform conceptual landscapes and the more structured interactivity around vocal chanting. Lovest is a mesmerizing and otherworldly experimental recording by four remarkable artists. The album comes in a special “image-book” packaging designed by ZonderZond: oversized hardcover w/ blind impression; 50 pages with photo-illustrations by Alexander Maslenitsyn; full color offset-printing w/ additional graphics by selective varnish. (3 tracks - 73 min.) 400-ltd.
"Bound in a special edition oversized cardboard book cover, complete with fifty pages of fantastic color photo illustrations; Lovest is without a doubt the most ambitious visual project yet from the Russian label. This incredibly impressive graphic presentation alone makes this collection worth the money, and that's before you even hear the music contained within. In a day and age where record companies and digital downloading are making the visual graphic element almost obsolete, it's always a pleasure to come across a treasure like this... Lovest is quite simply a challenging listen overall. The music which unfolds at a languid pace is for the most part very minimalist in nature and relies primarily on various loops and samples to create its multi-layered textures. The opening track 'Strange Archers' begins with distant, sampled radio voices, a simple repeating percussive pattern and some interesting sounds made from a 'saw ratchet machine'. This goes on for almost nine and half minutes until Annie Q's ethereal vocals enter into the fray. Interestingly enough the lyrics for this track are printed throughout the whole fifty page booklet along with accompanying images. The lyrics are somewhat mysterious and as they get more abstract towards the end so does the music as the ghostly layered voices return to close out the song. 'Ni, my lovest one' is comprised of basic keyboard textures, more sampled voices of what sounds like kids playing, 'digital static' and some plaintive passages performed on alto sax. Once again as Annie Q's dreamy vocals appear the composition begins to take the listener on a strangely familiar, hypnotic journey into the unknown. Lovest concludes with 'Bright Clear Blue' which is an absolute epic number clocking in at a whopping thirty one minutes. This track is the one likely to challenge the listener's patience the most largely due to its length; however the musical payoff is well worth the time invested. Pescado's pastoral guitar loops are augmented only by the odd splashing of a ride cymbal, wind chimes and Q's spoken word poetry where she repeats the title of the song over and over. As the composition unfurls more sounds are gradually introduced into the mix and a voice can be heard proclaiming that 'everything goes to dust'. When coupled with the dreamy flute passage that accompanies it, it gives the listener the affirmation that everything is indeed finite. The final ten minutes or so of this song seemed designed to put the listener into a trance like state as the soothing wind chimes and introspective flute playing brings everything to its fitting conclusion... Lovest definitely demands quite a bit from the listener. However, in my opinion this is often the case with music that has the most to offer, and you can certainly put Lovest in that category. If you're someone who generally leans towards experimental, improvised music I think that if you take the time to embark on this splendid musical journey from beginning to end, that you'll find the end results to be most rewarding. (Score: 4/5)" – by Ryan Sparks of Sea Of Tranquility (USA) (August 2009).
"Lovest by The Surf Messengers may be rewarded with praise for the most delicate and most impressive record cover of the year (made by Zonder Zond) – enshrining their CD with a handmade book in thick cardboard covers filled with very emotive pictures of various kinds of people, each by themselves, in an open field staring at the sun, enjoying its warmth or envisioning a better future. These pictures are black and white, handmanipulated to look aged and worn and ripped, and with the hand(s) of god printed in on every one of them as on another layer of existence. Myterious and enigmatic and at the same time like a warm hug, full of hope and desires. An eerie mixture that despite all its unsettling imagery – the black and white, the distorted parts of the pictures, the ghostly smoke evaporating here and there – nevertheless is full of positivity and clarity. And that also describes the music of the Surf Messengers pretty well. As far from what their bandname suggests as possible, the three tracks are excerpts from unsettling, weird and fringey improvisations or ad hoc compositions / productions, that penetrate the mind. It is hard to say if they are strangeness covered in nicety or friendliness covered in weirdness. The quartet don’t care for any kind of rules of harmonies or compositional structures. Their tracks just seem to evolute in the studio or live, and whatever comes from them, will come as it is. This is not the noise ratchetry of some hardcore free improv jazz where playing as far away from the usual is the only guideline, not at all. Guitars are strummed as generations of musicians have done and the singing, though lined with echo, is regular, but the overall effect is of stunning out there-ness. The first track 'Strange Archers' is like Sigur Ros but unsettling, eerie and spooky. Even though it has already been recorded ten years ago, it is still a fresh experience of listening to someone’s mind, probably some women’s, slowly go insane. Over the course of almost half an hour, all kinds of samples and strange noises weave through this mind in an unchanging subtle rhythm. The second track, 'Ni, my lovest one', is an excerpt from a 24 hour performance stages in Norfolk in the year 2000 and does not do justice to the connotations its title conjures. Over some unrelentless digital static keyboard sounds and alto sax call out like lonely animals in the fierce dark. Everybody knows that love is a dangerous jungle, but to put it down so plainly is something new indeed. And once again the surf messengers fall into a comatose rhythm that serves as the basis for a weird ride. The third track, 'Bright clear blue (everything goes to dust)' is the youngest track on here, having been recorded live in the studio in 2006 and it is another half hour suite of a warped and deranged mind. It is the most reduced and introverted thing on here and takes its time to spell out any note. This, of course, is not to say, that the musicians are not fully in grasp of their own wits or anything like this, quite contrary so, because it takes a certain kind of genius to be able to get in a warped mindset and then form some kind of poetry of it. It is for you, the listener, to decide how far you want to go with that." – by Georg Gartlgruber of Monochrom-Cracked (Austria) (December 2009).
The extracts on this recording are taken from tracks created during the last ten hours of a continuous 24-hour performance, in autumn 2000. "The soundtrack to a Bulgarian art-house movie". Produced by Will Whitney in 2005. (11 tracks - 74 min.)
|CDR-EP (C Is For Dog)||N/A|
|CD-R (C Is For Dog)||N/A|
|CD-R (C Is For Dog)||N/A|
|CD (C Is For Dog)||$13.00|
|MP3-file (Accessory Takes)||free download|