My first exposure to Russ Waterhouse was the mysterious Rhuem cassette "The Animals 04/06/99" released on his White Tapes label. The blown-out sounds recorded in an echoey bathroom received a lot of airplay in my grim studio apartment circa 2000 or 2001, more so than most releases from that fertile era of sub-underground/experimental tapes. Music, after all, can take the place of furniture just as easily as a life, and "Animals" resonated with me then and now.
Since those days RW's propulsive/forward-thinking ideas have helped shape some of my very favorite groups - Blues Control, Watersports and the SB. Amaro shares "Animals" near preoccupation with spaces - physical rooms and/or buildings, definitely - but also the bleary distance between notes and sounds resembling shapes. The overall atmosphere is the primary movement at times, but these two side-long tracks are surprisingly fluid - considering RW is centered in Richmond, VA's ADA gallery with no musical instruments outside of tapes, a Rhythm-Matic, microphones and objects - and highly engaging. The door is opened and outside sound enters, exits and is manipulated with the rawest of gear.
This amplified air is especially thick and disorientating on Side A. Side B "Amari" is the more palatable one - beautiful conceptual confusion and clashes with melody, introducing a fragrant musical phrase that very quickly collapses before more fade in and wither away.
Well, we all set fire to the summer wines at some point.
- Edmund Wilson, May 2018
I asked Russ about the recording process of "Amaro" and he sent me a list, some of these "contributed directly and were intentional, and others revealed themselves later."
Please see below:
- Fernet Branca, one rock
- Charles Amirkhanian – Mental Radio
- Brian Belott
- The Birds
- Brother JT – Descent
- Cabaret Voltaire – Methodology
- "The Container Drivers"
- Days With Dr. Yen Lo
- Gertrude Tapes
- Robert Görl – Night Full of Tension
- Ichiyanagi / Ranta / Kosugi – Improvisation Sep. 1975
- Nina Kraviz
- living statues
- Salvatore Martirano – L's GA
- Joni Mitchell – Song to a Seagull
- John Oswald
- Moritz von Oswald
- Pärson Sound
- piped music
- Terry Riley
- Markus Schwill – Heart-Beat-Diagram
- Barbra Streisand – and Other Musical Instruments
- Russ Waterhouse – and No Musical Instruments
- Take Shelter
- Tender Buttons
- "That's All Right"
- Asmus Tietchens
- Trump-induced anxiety
- Zwartjes – Tapes 1
released May 22, 2018
Tapes, Rhythm-Matic, Microphones, Objects, Room.
Recorded at ADA Gallery in Richmond, Virginia, February 2018. Mastered by Josh Stevenson at Otic Sound.
“With Julius, he was based in repetition, but here was a spirit of openness and improvisation. His scores, if they were written out that way, were often like jazz scores. He loved multiplying instruments – four pianos, ten cellos – so there was a real feeling of the presence of the instrument, not just using an instrument in some kind of equation, as a means to an end.” ~ Mary Jane Leach
Enough said. pt