Dean Roberts, Tim Barnes, and Hermione Johnson – 20/10/12


Dean Roberts, Tim Barnes and Hermione Johnson
20 October, 2012
The drummer Tim Barnes is important in three ways: as an expansive experimental percussionist (and producer/engineer on the side) who had one foot in the downtown New York avant-jazz community while contributing to more traditional indie rock projects; as the owner of the Quakebasket label, distributors of limited-edition and broader releases of work by contemporary experimenters as well as careful reissues; and, finally, via his day job, where he helped bridge the worlds of indie rock and music licensing for advertising.

Barnes emerged in the late 1990s, contributing to indie rock staples like the Silver Jews and the Elephant 6-affiliated Essex Green, as well as pop-fancying avant-garde mainstay Jim O’Rourke. Barnes found a kindred spirit in another O’Rourke pal, drummer Glenn Kotche, with whom he tandem-drummed on O’Rourke’s Halfway to a Threeway and his classic Insignificance. Like Kotche, who went on to drum for Wilco, Barnes used the drum kit as a melodic tool, filling rock rhythms with textures pulled from an innate knowledge of his kits’ textures (demonstrated on Barnes’ almost puritanically drummy solo debut, All Acoustics).
Barnes contributed frequently to the recordings of New England hippie noise guitarist Matt Valentine, including Tower Recordings and MV & EE. He hovered on the edge of Sonic Youth’s world, as well, joining the band for their deeply psychedelic Koncertas Stan Brakhage Prisiminimui release and serving as occasional member in Lee Ranaldo’s Text of Light. Throughout his career, Barnes maintained day jobs as commercial sound designer and a suggester of music for advertisements. Because of his involvement, avant-garde and indie acts were paired with commercials, including Apples in Stereo, the Sea and Cake, German experimenters Faust, and free jazz drummer and educator Milford Graves. In 1997 Dean Roberts and Tim Barnes embarked on a creative project in New York that spanned 4 years of productivity producing the albums “All Cracked Medias” and “The Black Moths Play the Grand Cinema” along the way, as well as both being members of the group Tower Recordings, their musical activities extended to playing in a number of improvised settings with various projects including many around the Cooler and Tonic venues and included working as players for some of the great NYC luminaries such as Tony Conrad, Alan Licht, Charles Curtis, La Monte Young, Jim O’Rourke, Sonic Youth.

Tim’s production and drumming were a hugely integral part of Dean’s work at the time as was his record collection, studio and spare-room. This month see’s the opportunity for these artist to re-convene for the first time in over a decade on the 15th Anniversary of a collaboration that spawned a great deal of inventive and mad music in the ensuing years, it is a rare honor to have this artist in Auckland to revisit their musical collaboration as a one-off event. On the evening of the 20th there will be multiple short sets exploring different aspects of each of their work and discussion.

With thanks to Room40 for bringing the hemispheres of these two musicians together again.

Hermione Johnson is a pianist and composer living in Wellington. She graduated from Auckland University in 1998 with a Performance Piano Degree, and completed her Masters in Composition in 2011at the New Zealand School of Music.
As a pianist she has played with many seminal musicians from New Zealand and overseas. She has toured Europe and Australia, and performed at the Now Now Festival in Sydney, and the Fredstock and iiii Festivals in Wellington.