Derek Walmlsey, editor of The Wire magazine, returns again to TUSK for more illuminating talks with artists appearing at the festival. On Saturday at this year’s TUSK, Derek talks to Phil Todd and Melanie O’Dubhshlaine of Ashtray Navigations and on Sunday, he talks to Rully Herman and Wukir Suryadi of Senyawa.
Ashtray Navigations began as Phil’s solo project in the early 90’s, emitting what David Keenan has described as “a trash-can antidote to LaMonte Young” from his then Stoke-On-Trent base. Over the years, Phil has been joined in the line-up for varying lengths of tenure by Alex Neilson, Ben Reynolds and Bill Kouligas, amongst others, though later years have seen the configuration settle to a duo with Melanie O’Dubhshlaine. Phil also runs the Memoirs Of An Aesthete label and previously ran the Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers imprint.
Everything that Ashtray Navigations does is expansive, from their discography (150 releases and counting) to the content of each release, taking in drone, electronica, psychedelic rock, crossing whole musical continents compositionally and requiring extensive multi-instrumentalism. Larry Dolman said of their The Love That Whirrs release, “It’s a pretty mammoth piece of work – almost 80 minutes of music spread out over six heavy tracks. They tend to start as intense sun-blinding drone-fields, but if you hold on tight for a minute or two and adjust yourself to these new conditions, you’ll start to notice a wealth of detail, provided by a real band of ringers…Trash drone, free skiffle, new electric raga, sun blindness music, call it what you will, this is a powerful statement.”
Senyawa are the duo from Indonesia that effortlessly blend traditional musical forms of their homeland with their love of the avant garde and heavy metal to produce something truly unique and jaw-dropping. Armed with little more than Rully Herman’s voice and Wukir Suryadi’s hand-made stringed instrument the bambuwukir, Senyawa’s sum hugely outweighs its parts, summoning huge intensity and atmospherics from the most subtle approach. Listening to Senyawa is an education in the impact of space in music, Rully’s throat-singing and other techniques and Wukir’s painfully sparse intensity electrifying festivals across Europe and beyond.
Senyawa have enchanted Europe’s leftfield and electronic music audiences in recent years and now release via Rabih ‘Morphosis’ Beaini’s Morphine label. Rully and Wukir also have a live collaboration with Beaini developing and have issued split releases with Buchla Music Easel master Charles Cohen, Vialka and Melt Banana. We’re delighted to have Senyawa at TUSK for only their 2nd UK live show to date.