James Rushford
Blank Forms Editions
Tip-on sleeve
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1Fallaway Whisk
2Quire (I)
3Quire (II)
4Quire (III)
5Quire (IV)
6Quire (V)
7Quire (VI)
8Quire (VII)
9Quire (VIII)
10Quire (IX)
11Quire (X)

The latest in a prolific string of solo and collaborative releases by James Rushford, Turzets collects a pair of new works primarily created and recorded last year while the Australian composer-performer was in residence at La Becque, an art center on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The side-length piece “Fallaway Whisk” explores hesitation in its many forms—reticence of speech, sonic restraint—using live, abstracted translations of text from English to German against a lush and swelling soundscape. On the flip side, “Quire” is a work in ten movements influenced by the composer’s study of late medieval repertoire on portative organ, weaving the instrument’s woodsy interlocking melodies with angelic Yamaha CS-80 synth sweeps and stuttering glitches. The combined effort is somewhat a departure for Rushford, working in traces of Klaus Schulze, concrete poetry, and ars subtilior into a precise and ever-unfolding tapestry.

Rushford’s work draws from a wide range of collagist and improvisatory musical languages, staking out an idiosyncratic stylistic space that has been variously described as “electro-acoustic experimentation with a beating heart” (Boomkat) and “haunted Jacobean ASMR” (The Wire). Investigating the creases, cracks, and folds in traditions ranging from early music to New Age, Rushford’s work subtly exaggerates seemingly liminal aspects such as atmosphere and the bodily presence of the performer until these take on a weight equal to musical elements such as pitch, rhythm, and timbre. In recent years, Rushford’s solo work has been guided by his theorization of sonic images, particularly the shadow, which has inspired pieces as diverse as an hour-long companion to Federico Mompou’s 1959–67 piano cycle Música Callada (2016) and a sumptuous translation of the play of light across flat surfaces into synthetic sound (The Lake from the Louvers, Shelter Press, 2021). His long-standing performance practice for piano, portative organ, synthesizers, and electroacoustic devices, is constantly infused with a delicacy of touch and a harmonic sensibility in which unorthodox tunings coexist with influences from fin de siècle Impressionism, the twentieth century avant-garde, and popular musical structures. He has worked with a vast range artists including Klaus Lang, Annea Lockwood, David Behrman, Tashi Wada, Haroon Mirza, Dennis Cooper, Ora Clementi, crys cole, Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, Will Guthrie, and Graham Lambkin. He has performed as Golden Fur (with Sam Dunscombe and Judith Hamann) and Food Court (with Joe Talia and Francis Plagne).