On Saturday 9 February, with the raising of 3 glasses of whisky, we launched the latest addition to the ongoing evolving collection of developments for the project we call TRANSIT.
We wanted to approach the construction of this video as a collaborative flexible project, so lots of the development happened online via Google Docs, alongside the regular meetings. This way we could continue to add ideas, bang thoughts around, and share provocations of how we thought the visuals could take shape.
After a day of filming raw band footage we came to the idea to crowd-source a choir for a specific section in the song. We created a call-out to interested people, and then waited for the responses to return to us. We collected twelve home-made clips in total, from as far afield as Sweden, Czech Republic, Okinawa, France, Australia, Auckland and Invercargill. We received more footage than could be actually be used but we loved what was sent, and we hope you are all happy with what we have done with your contributions. The actual graft work was all John, we were simply the unhuh?folk, the what if? folk, the how about? folk.
John, we want to say, “Huge thanks and gratitude for your willingness, patience and inspiration”. Thanks also to Mark Leong for helping out with the space for the filming of the band.
THANK YOU to the following for contributing to the crowd sourced section:
- David Edwards
- Tao Well
- Maurice Priestley
- Jo Davidsson
- Steve Dean and the Neuro ward staff
- Los Black Dog
- Chris Rankin
- Hilary Binder
- Katrena Kemp
- Shaun Helmsley
- Eric Boros
- Marylise Frenchville & Ildiko
- Emitir Snake-Beings
- Blair Jones
- Simon Hartman
- Paul Harvey
A bit behind the 8ball here, meant to post this a while ago but a bit distracted. This is a wonderful personal account of one persons experience of the TRANSIT exhibition in Dunedin for the recent Fringe Festival.
A massive thanks to Mark Tyler for the honest account
“This exhibition was held at the Glue Gallery as part of the Dunedin Fringe Festival. Mr Sterile Assembly were blown away to have recently received Creative NZ funding to record an album so decided they would send each song to various artists that would be interested in coming up with their visual interpretation of the song they received. This was the result.
The central theme was the way our culture has been moulded since 9/11, and the frightening extent to which the average citizen can now be spied upon. Our civil liberties have been eroded at an astonishing rate.
Each picture was spaced out around the walls and accompanied by the title and lyrics of the song it represented, carefully written in pencil. Mr Sterile then proceeded to discuss each one, lucidly explaining the depth of meaning behind the lyrics and a brief spiel about each artist. What started as a lively and informative performance for me soon gave way to the bleak and somewhat astounding personal revelation of how utterly coccooned i have become in my systemised way of thinking. Despite being aware of sweeping “big brother” reforms being passed almost weekly, i am happy to insouciantly accept each act with little more than a mild grumble in the work truck maybe. And it has nothing to do with paranoia or Orwellian hysteria, its just the most fundamental awareness of these changes, that stretches so much further than what is outlined and presented in the mainstream media. In short, this presentation shook me up like an educational earthquake. Rattled my brain a little. If performance art is supposed to provoke and stimulate, then Mr Sterile Assembly delivered in spades, taking each story so much further with humour, clarity and unswerving conviction, before playing us the music behind it. Skillful, original and slightly unsettling music that could loosely be tagged under the Punk Rock moniker, each song taking on a heightened significance when the lyrics were scrawled right in front of you.
Regretfully i couldn’t stay for the whole performance, justifying my early exit with having somewhere to be, i’d run myself out of time. But thats just a bullshit cop-out. I should have MADE the time available, just like i should take the time to delve a little deeper to increase my knowledge and understanding of the issues presented. At least make the effort instead of meekly pretending it doesn’t matter cos it won’t affect me all that much. It shook me up humans, shook me up.
Thankfully, i managed to obtain a copy of the CD which comes with two little booklets containing the lyrics of each song and their respective artworks, a permanent memoir of what i’d seen and heard, and more importantly, a personal little kick up the arse whenever i choose to slip back into the comfort and convenience of complacency. You could probably get yerself a copy by contacting: http://www.mrsterileassembly.com
The next day i got home and read in the paper that the new “Search and Surveillance Bill” had been narrowly passed in parliament by a majority vote of 61 – 57, opening the door for an unstoppable tsunami of control-driven “i spy with my little eye” type of activities. Jesus.
Footnote: great to see that Mr Sterile Assembly won the award for BEST VISUAL ART at the festival. Well deserved.”
We are in the process of an extensive video making project with the wonderful John Lake, and we would like to CROWD SOURCE some video material for the song TRANSIT . More will be explained about the wider project at a later date.
On the song Transit between the point 3.31 and 3.59 there is a drop out section of vocals ONLY!
Here’s what we want you to do. On your computer camera, or any camera device you have, we want to you to add your voice, and more importantly , the moving image of your self singing along to the vocal-only section.The material we receive will then be added to the final edit.
PLEASE SEND TO VIDEO TO firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m quite excited about the idea of using this crowd sourcing technique to help develop the project. It feels like an exciting way to reach out into the world, and who know what may be returned.
If you feel a bit nervous having your naked face on screen, we suggest you try and ‘sterilise’ your self in some way.
We don’t really have any gifts to offer in return for your efforts other than our gratitude, but we’ll have a think and maybe we can come up with something.
This is a no budget project, as in we have no money, lo-fi.
So please add your face and voice. The words are:
Man swallows, his own tail, open mouth expectant, waiting to swallow.
Women swallows, her own tail, open mouth expectant, waiting to swallow.
Go for it (if you wish to capture footage for other parts of the song then please do, no promises we will use it, but we might, and the more the merry in terms of footage to work with).
“Glue Gallery and the Dunedin Fringe Festival gladly welcome the Wellington based, Outsider Punk Duo ‘MR STERILE ASSEMBLY’ to Dunedin for a dynamic presentation of Music, Art, Performance and Stories.
Running from the 17th of March, with two live performances on the 23rd at 5:30pm and 24th at 3pm, this show brings together the eleven songs and the eleven art works that make up this new album”
We’re at it again. In a couple of weeks, we’ll wrap out bits and pieces in cardboard and send them by plane to that Southern city Dunedin for the 2012 Fringe. The art will hang for the week leading up to the performance’s on the 23rd & 24th.
Koha entry to the Glue Gallery for the talks.
An in addition to this will be TWO other performances. The first is on the Friday 23 March at The Crown Hotel, Rattray St, Dunedin.
Ourselves, along with a fine gaggle of others, will be performing for those with a noisier persuasion. The line-up is epic, featuring Mince On Toast (Queenstown), Infinite Justice (Dunedin), Whiskey And The Wench (Dunedin), SkumHammer (Dunedin), Bazooka (Milton), Bolshy McBard (Twizel), & us!. Epic I tell you, epic.
Entry $6 8pm-ish kick off
On Saturday 24 March, after the afternoon talk, we hit the road and return to Invercargill!
$5 to get in, starts from 9
We were being interviewed by National Radio on the release of our album Transit. As soon as the interview had finished an email flew into our inbox enthusiastically inviting us to attend the Hamilton Fringe Festival in response to our desire to tour and exhibit the original art we obtained for the album. And in classic fashion, we said ‘sure’ first… and then settled down to figure out the finer and fiddlier details.
Supported by our contact, Jo, who did the bulk of the leg work in Hamilton, we secured some funding so the art could be couriered to the festival, and a van hired to bring our equipment back and forth. So, thanks to Creative Communities and Creative Hamilton for supporting our endeavor.
As usual, plans expanded and we opted to get the exhibition to Hamilton a week early and Jo enlisted a crew of locals to adorn the gallery walls with the accompanying lyrics to the songs attached to the art.
As the itinerary firmed up, Jo got us a show in Raglan, a small tourist/surfing/coastal village about 30 minutes out of Hamilton. So it was to be Raglan on the Friday night, an artist talk and presentation of songs on the Saturday afternoon for the Fringe Festival, and then an all-ages show later that same evening: three shows in 24 hours.
The journey north was uneventful apart from a sweet detour into the village of Mangaweka, home of the C F Goldie museum. Here we visited old friends and told stories, learning a wonderful fact about Karl Sims/C F Goldie, the infamous art forger. Apparently Karl is considered to be the World’s eighth most famous art forger, and according to some ‘authority’ he would have been considered the best had he had a greater ‘sphere of influence’, e.g. not resided on an island at the bottom of the world, but somewhere with a far vaster population, like Europe, a bigger and more duppable citizenry.
Back on the road we made Raglan in good time. It’s a small town with a reputation of being reggae central. Anyway, we meet our host for the evening, Dave, dropped our gear at the pub, set off the alarms in the pub, the door wasn’t locked, but no-one looked terribly flustered by, or worried about it. Then we headed out to Dave’s farm home for some food and rest after the long haul.
Dave’s farm view was spectacular, an incredible vista looking down out onto a northward curving coast, high and distant above the township.
Returning to the venue, the Yot club, we set up and met the local band playing alongside us, Frankie. It’s was a slow start to the evening as the rugby world cup had a game in Hamilton, just our luck, and almost the entire country is distracted.
After the match the place started to fill. Frankie started, a classic three piece, playing post-rock pop compositions and it sounded good. We came on and I think we surprised a few, the spectrum of expression from ‘leave the venue’ to a wide- jaw smile, transfixed to our antics.
Retuning to the farm after the show it’s the blackest Raglan night, a spectacular show of heavenly star-light, far from the incandescent street light of any city. It was a long day of journey and music, so whiskey then sleep.
Waking earlier on the Saturday, we returned to Raglan for coffee and nosh then made our way over to central Hamilton. Arriving around midday we set up our gear at the gallery and get to see the exhibition hanging for the first time. And it looked great! Jo and her mates made a spectacular job of installing the show, we we’re particularly pleased with the way the text had been written on the wall’s around the art. The space was set, the gear ready, we put on our costumes and waited for the show to begin.
And they attended, not in droves, but an intimate 20 or so, and that’s ok because this is the first time we have actually put this concept to the test, e.g to tour and present an ‘artist’s talk’ about the relationship of this commissioned art to the context of the song text, and then finish off by a live presentation of the songs.
We decided to break the talk into two parts, chatting first then music, then repeat. And it’s was a mobile chat, we moved up and down the room selecting work’s of art to discuss, talking about the text to the songs and much of the background research involved in the writing of the lyric.
The interest is surprising. We paused mid-stream to ask if people are bored, would they like some music or more stories? “More stories” they reply.
It was a fascinating experience for us, and warmly reassuring, in that people are very committed to engaging in conversation and dialogue when the chance arrives. People like stories, to be informed of the detail behind an event, and to have the opportunity to ask questions. We were surprised we talked for as long as we did.
One person commented at the end that it was rare and wonderful way to explore art. He commented that usually events surrounding ‘Art’ mostly revolved around free alcohol and hummus, but ultimately one left with little more understanding of the work than when one arrived. And somehow this event was different, a perfect outcome.
We play again with Frankie, and another local act called The Beautiful Shambles. It’s a great well resourced venue, with a lovely and helpful sound-man, a special breed.
The shows started late, as advertised, but is lite on audience. Out on the streets it’s quiet, again we get a sense this is in response to the rugby world cup. Many had paraded earlier in Welsh and Irish flags, we guess they are the teams playing locally (I’m secretly pleased that I still don’t actually know, I have managed to miss the inundation of rugby information, I am a genetically deficient kiwi obviously).
Great to see the local acts, committed and fun, thanks. We played a sweet set. It’s so nice to get to hear these songs through a nice sound system mixed well, thanks to again to the sound guy.
Show over, packed up and out. We stored our gear back at the gallery to collect in the morning, but to do this braved downtown-post-RWC Hamilton, drunken, macho, unpredictable, mini-skirted Hamilton. Here’s where all the people were, it’s lightly raining and the streets are laden with bodies loaded with alcohol and expectation. There’s little motivation to hang around, it’s an odd sight to see the inebriated bold male youth hanging off the bronze arms of the statue Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien) from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Tea and toast and bed, that’s rock and roll.
Here’s a cut up from the Transit album launch party @ the Russian Frost Farmers in March. For Hamilton punters, it’s a glimpse of what’s coming your way.
On October 1st, at 4pm, we are presenting an artists talk, discussing the content of the songs, the collaborative process, and any other odd bit of fluff we fancy to share. After the chatting, with will play for another 45ish minutes to round of the afternoon. There is no cost to attending this performance.
Later on that same evening, we are playing at the Hamilton venue VOID , it is an all ages show, with local act Frankie Mallet.
And to go back in time, we are also playing Raglan on the Friday, 30 September, at the YOT club. Again we shall have the pleasure of having Frankie Mallet and dj B.Rex grace the stage with their presence alongside our own. Entry $5, start time 10.30ish
Thanks to Creative Hamilton & the Hamilton Fringe for the effort in helping to make this show happen.
A progressive music blog from the USA have reviewed the album. Click HERE for the original link.
mr sterile Assembly: Transit
After reviewing music on Sea of Tranquility for more than 10 years (and even longer, if you count the now-defunct print version), I’ve heard some weird stuff. But I’ve got to say that Transit by mr sterile Assembly — an anarchist “outsider-punk noise experimental rock two-piece” from New Zealand — ranks up there with the oddest releases I’ve been asked to cover. This drums, bass and vocal duo consists of Chrissie Butler and mr sterile (of course), and they are assisted by a variety of other equally adventurous musicians, singers and lyricists. Cabaret jazz, carnival quirk, math rock and even hip-hop collide in a stormy cacophony of revolution.
But beneath the swarm of singing munchkins on “Jesus Heals the Blind” is a solemn anti-war message dedicated to “the growing list of the innocent and the dead,” and “Pop Sickle” is an ode to those “who resist the war,” with barely audible spoken-word lyrics set against a Violent Femmes-inspired beat. And the chaotic “Axe and the Olive Tree” is simply “for Palestine.”
Transit comes in an elaborate digipak with two thick full-color booklets that might have cost more to produce than the album, but the low-budget cover featuring the duo in straitjackets and Kabuki makeup sitting on an ugly green-and-brown couch is distracting. This music is certainly not for everyone; in fact, I doubt Transit will get much playing time after I slip it back into its fancy packaging. But I certainly can appreciate the boldness with which Butler and mr sterile approach — and execute — their art.
Added: June 14th 2011
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Things have been quite quiet after our Australian tour. But things are not still for long. Here’s a head’s-up of things & events in the next couple of months.
We are currently in the middle of organising our return to south east Asia tour, the plan this time has settled, we have an basic itinerary and we shall be visiting Malaysia, Java, and back to Singapore. I will post dates as I get them confirmed. But it is great to be reconnecting with all those good people then, and brilliant to be making be contacts and I can’t wait see/hear some great new SAE music.
We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to help open the show for the Steve Ignorant – Crass Songs show. He is performing June 18 at Bodega in Wellington. Ignorant was one of the key founding members of the inspiring late 70’s till 1984 anarchist punk bands. If CRASS is a name that does not mean much then I would recommend that some investigating be done, the albums Stations of the Crass, Christ the Album, and Penis Envy are astounding.
For all other shows please look to your right of the screen for updated show information.
We recently had the privileged to be filmed for a documentary film project by Dylan Herkes, chief magnate of Stink Magnetic. The filming project is documenting the phenomenal history of the venue Eye of Night in Whanagnui.
Quite favorable reviews of TRANSIT have continued to come through. ConcertFM’s William Dart gave a favorable review HERE(it will only be up for a couple of weeks, not sure if they archive). NZ Musician have become interested in having an interview done with mr sterile about his drumming , expect that in the next month or two, all other reviews will be included to the TRANSIT page.
UPDATED TOUR DETAILS: mr sterile Assembly return to Australia for up to eight shows in nine days. A swift tour stopping to play with some of Oz’s finest noise makers. There are the complete details.
These shows would not have been made possible without the fabulous help of Tenzenmen in Sydney, who has organised the Sydney CD release function. Big cheers to Even from Jake’s Hais in Newcastle. And in Melbourne Don at Neumusak who has been key in organising two shows, Black Wire, Dave at KOF, Jem from DEAD for being super helpful, and the good folk from Go Genre Everything. Big thanks also to Garage Collective for the stunning image for the poster.
See you there!. It will be a blast