scott allison + ben owen
untitled for (agnes martin)

edition: 50
8" clear lathe record

letterpress sleeve, 3 color

lathe cut by peter king, new zealand.
designed by
scott allison, printed by ben owen with scott allison

full cover view


owen and allison met in brooklyn with the intention to record 5 minute 'songs'. deciding to work within this duration, they made several version's of each improvisation based on a set of changing environments for new piece. allison's instrument's included field recordings (processed and un-processed), ring-modulated sinewaves + contact mic; owen's instruments included a speaker + rose pedals, various oscillators, radio + fm transmitter and contact mic'ed surfaces + objects.
the resonant pedals, feedback and shortened durations shaped the exchange that fluidly continued throughout the day. not only the attention towards time and drawing from memory of years of collaborative improvised performance, this meeting documents decisive marks each person has explored in and out of the studio.

the decision was made to translate the recordings to the medium of acetate record allowing the medium to play it's hand in the compression of frequency as well as the mediums degradation through it's playback. time became an important element in the fate of the work. it was during the period of listening and exploring the collaboration that allison came to agnes' martins painting "garden", and found it harmonious and tied to the sublte tracing of movements and repetitive marks of recording each 'song'; lending meaning in each pass as to the integrity of extended viewing of her work.

allison writes "while at the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden in washington dc, I came across a canvas by agnes martin titled "garden". the work is composed of a grid of horizontal and vertical lines sitting on a square of canvas maybe six by six feet. at first sight the work appeared extremely mechanical and cold. but upon closer inspection, i found the canvas contained wonderful warm non-mechanical details. for example, the lines making up the grid appear to be created with colored pencil's, not what I would consider a hard industrial material. then i noticed the grid is not just a single grid, but precisely drawn lines repeated over top of each other in many colors. the stacked lines seemed to move and shift as one might expect from being drawn onto a canvas by hand. I was awe struck by martin's seemingly simple statement of a cold mechanical grid, that in reality is composed of a long drawn out human process, much like gardening. circling back to the idea of martins canvas as a garden made sense for us in relation to the music we had created. "garden's" openness and non-narrative form lent itself to the openness of our sonic form. using field recording's, radio transmission's and various texture's, we in a way, created gardens from sound, finding ways to bring a human sensitivity to mechanical tools".

ben owen and scott allison have an ongoing collaborating since 1999. while performing as a duo, they have also performed in the ny phonographers meeting's, and with ting ting jahe and gill arno/mpld. owen's collaborator's also include tom mulligan, richard garet, andy graydon and gilles aubry. some of allison's collaborators include: andy hayleck, ilya monosov, layne garret and jesse kudler. he is a core member of kohoutek and all violet (duo w/ jeff surak). allison is now residing in philadelphia, usa. this is there first duo audio release, as well as print collaboration.

ben owen and scott allison, july 2009


no longer available