Review by Lee McFadden:
"Time. The one constriction none of us can escape. It binds us with its finality, its definitive framework, its authoritative certainty. All we can do, blessed with the bedfellows of choice and circumstance, is to ensure our environment is individual to ourselves within time’s rigid boundaries.
You may think that Cos Chapman has disrespected the potential listeners of his work by titling each piece merely with its respective duration. The truth is quite the opposite – he is providing a generous free hand. Titles are overrated and restrictive – the mood, emotion, memory, imagined picture – can all be hijacked and constrained within a title and the listener is shackled to the prescribed cerebral experience that the titles serves on a plate.
Cos Chapman’s time titles grant the listeners the freedom and respect they deserve. Within those universal enclosed walls of time all manner of thoughts, memories, emotions can be encapsulated – as they are in life. Maybe the piece concerned can transport the listener to a certain ten minutes and six seconds in their life (Track 4) or allow them to run the gamut of their own existence in one minute fifty-five seconds (Track 5).
This six improvised pieces – by their sheer nature – had no preconceived mood prior to their creation - and offer no advertised simplified feelings to the listener. These tracks portray the free hand that the performer exercised in recording, and now present that same free hand to us.
That’s my interpretation. Yours may be different, but equally as valid. Cos Chapman’s six pieces here grant us all the individuality of our own valedictions and summarisations."
The Ghost of Detritus was performed using a piezo contact mic glued onto a tambourine skin, a clip-on acoustic guitar mic (minus guitar) and a guitar pickup (plus attached guitar). These collected sounds from a variety of junk – literally. Its mostly stuff others had thrown out and I found in the street, in charity shops and car boot sales. This was processed through guitar effects pedals (the majority second hand) and looped using an Akai Headrush. Other sound generators were a TENS machine, an Ebow and a Korg Kaossilator.
It was completed in two live sessions of about 40 minutes each, recorded as it happened, without prior planning. Much of it used objects found on the day.
I have been getting gear to do things it wasn’t really designed to do for ages. Either repurposing or pushing beyond the boundaries the designers had in mind. I started by tinkering with domestic reel-to-reels to achieve crude sound on sound and tape delays, I used an aquarium pump with the tube in my mouth as a drone and used a speaker for a microphone. Working around the core purpose of equipment or using unusual objects has been enormously stimulating and creative, happy accidents prompting new ideas. It took me 30 odd years to get up the nerve to do this in front of an audience.
A big thank you to Justin for making it all happen, inviting me to perform and then recording and mixing. Thanks and love to Marina for her love, inspiration and unfailing support. And thanks all the artists, musician and dancers, promoters, teachers and friends I’ve worked with over the years who’ve helped hone my musicianship, such as it is. Special mentions to Jo - who I’ve worked with more than anyone else for many years on many projects (including Rude Mechanicals); and Sofia - who as the other half of Rockinghorse lead me into a world of found objects and true spontaneity, and whose collaboration on the ConJunkTion project took me to Berlin this year.
Cos Chapman 21/06/16
Cover from Museum der Dinge, Oranienstrasse 25, 10999 Berlin, Germany