Works

2014 Thames Water LiveReal-As-Any-Place-Youve-Been-Photographic-Paper-120x120-square-x-100

A live performance of Thames Water, recorded at a Bang the Bore gig in Southampton in 2012, is available as a CDR and download from Every Contact Leaves a Trace. The piece is paired with a solo bass performance by Dominic Lash.

Reviews

Dominic Lash/Will Montgomery – Real As Any Place You’ve Been/Thames Water Live

A shared disc, one piece each by Lash and Montgomery.

Lash’s work is a strange construction, kind of awkward and compelling at once. It begins with a fairly thick blanket of interior chatter into which soon enters what sounds to me like a male chorus performing some pre-Baroque (British?) composition. This lasts for two minutes when the music abruptly shifts to solo acoustic bass (all bowed), though one can hear vague room sounds. It’s a complex performance, not always so easy on these ears (not a bad thing, of course), Lash making cloudy, grainy allusions to, perhaps, Irish string traditions (at least, I seem to hear as much, especially at about the five minute mark), but also veering well to the left of that. Most of the music is in the mid-range, with a few plumbings of the bass’ depth and the sound is constant, at a strong enough volume; no Wandelweiseriana here. Sometimes, I get a sense of lost focus, other times of an incisive zooming in on things. Like I said, complicated. Then, after some 19 minutes plus, we hear, more or less, an empty room during which sound cuts out completely, for a split second, a few times. Perhaps it’s the same room as before, after everyone’s gone home; you can just about make out sounds of kitchen clean up in the distance as a electronic hum waxes and then ceases in a flash. A bookend of sorts.

“Thames Water Live” also has a structure, though less apparent. To some degree, maybe entirely, the first section is made up of water sounds, though greatly processed (I think. I’m often at a loss as to the source of sounds like this). As in the Lash work, there’s a break at about two minutes, then a rush of multilayered burbles and gurgles. Scenes come and go, here overtly aqueous, there less so, all of the time a joy to the ears. Montgomery has a fine way of coaxing endlessly rich and fascinating activity from his sources. There’s a cessation of one stream about 14 minutes in and, when things resume, we’re in a very different space, harshly whistling and rumbling, still with the presence of heavy water beneath. Hollow taps and strong static-like elements begin to predominate, though again the sound filed is spacious. Static to raindrops, back again, somehow morphing into bass growls–confusing and beautiful.

Subtly challenging work from both, good stuff.

Brian Olewnick, Just Outside blog

Dominic Lash, after an initial blur of bar chatter, pushes his double bass dramatically to its sinewy and visceral limits. Wire contributor Will Montgomery takes a dip into the Thames river, retrieving a vivid mix of pebbly trickling, mudlark squelchiness, metallic flashes, sizzling currents and shadowy rumbling.

Julian Cowley, The Wire (full review of the ECLaT series here)

 


2013 Manfred Werder’s 2005 (1)  P1050412

Will’s version of Manfred Werder’s celebrated piece is available for download, along with many other interpretations of 2005 (1), on the Another Timbre website. The English version of the score reads:

place

time

(sounds)

 

Will actualised the piece on a calm day in June 2013 at Aarhus harbour in Denmark – an industrial container port.

 


2012 “Heygate”

“Heygate”, a composition that forms part of Will’s Elephant project (see below), is released on Winds Measure – a  white-vinyl 12″ with  a track, ‘Looking for narratives on small islands’, by Robert Curgenven on the other side. Will’s track is made from sounds sourced in and around the Heygate estate in the Elephant and Castle area of south London. The estate, finished in 1974, is a high-profile relic of Southwark Council’s vigorous housing construction programme in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Now almost empty and facing demolition, it is to be replaced by a private development. The composition, which uses processed field recordings and material gathered with contact mics, a VLF receiver and telephone pick-up coil, seeks to present an encryption of the acoustic environment of the estate. In this way, it aims to recover the ethic of renewal buried deep in the contours of this very late example of local-authority modernism.

An excerpt from an article on this project published by the urban studies journal City is here.

The record can be bought from Winds Measure (US) or from Robert’s site, Recorded Fields (UK & EU).

An audiovisual version can be viewed here.

Reviews

Several reviews of the release can be read at the Winds Measure reviews page here.


2010 Manfred Werder realised by Will Montgomery

This project is Will’s version of a score by Manfred Werder, 2009 (5). Will made two recordings of the M25 motorway, a year apart, and uses these as an interpretation of the single sentence by Francis Ponge that constitutes Werder’s score:

2009 (5)

Il existe, dans une maison que je connais bien, à Remoulins, une cour intérieure, et une autre, au Grau du Roi, chacune {habitée | , ornée} d’un ou deux figuiers.

There is, in a house I know well, at Remoulins, an interior courtyard, and another, at Le Grau du Roi, each one {inhabited | , adorned} by one or two fig trees.

Francis Ponge: Comme une figue de paroles et pourquoi
(Les Fleurys, nuit du 31 mars au 1er avril 1958), 1977.

The CDR is released by Cathnor as part of the label’s Vignettes series.


2007-2012 Elephant

This project explores the architecture and acoustics of the Elephant and Castle area of south London. An essay, initially published in Painted/ Spoken, is here. An online exhibit on hanging, utopia, pop and shopping is here. Will discussed the area with Owen Hatherley and presented an audio piece at the South Bank Centre as part of the 2010 Ether Festival. A vinyl release is forthcoming on Winds Measure.

 


2010 Viaducts

A piece composed of recordings made in and around the Victorian viaducts near Waterloo station. At Nanomajority.


2009 Thames Water

Made from hydrophone recordings on the south bank of the Thames. At Compost & Height.


2009 Legend [with Brian Marley]

CD containing 10 electronic treatments of a reading by Brian Marley. Marley’s text is a response to a photograph of an empty cabinet taken by Rhodri Davies. Released by Entr’acte.

Extracts from reviews:

Montgomery tackles the material with technical proficiency and utmost control, transforming rather anaemic sonic bodies into delicate fluorescence, sympathetic quivering and coordinated hovering: subtly or evidently, this is music that affects the person who stands and accepts its consequence. The album is closed by a filtered audio snapshot of the empty room in which Marley’s rendition firstly happened, the ominously hollow whisper of the container equally gratifying to appreciate in respectful immobility. Classy stuff, all the more appropriate given the unbearably grey, low-pressure afternoon in which the listening sessions are taking place.

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

Marley’s speech was obliterated by its own activation, in concept before the words hit the microphone. What we hear are digitally restructured sounds, some tamer in activity and attack than others, with each track containing the slightest fragments of the one before or after. The voice is manipulated through processing, treated, re-treated, and mastered. Ten times, 3’52” each. And there’s nothing careless about it. Montgomery could have abandoned form altogether, but he’s given us something suitably mellow, each track undergoing its own indiscriminate evolution.

Alan Jones, Bagatellen

Without clarification, one would be hard pressed to know upon listening to the material that Marley’s voice acts as source material, given Montgomery’s radical transformations. Some faint trace of the human voice emerges in the fourth and fifth [tracks] but the variations essentially come across as economical electrical drone pieces somewhat reminiscent of the work Stephan Mathieu has produced. Glassy tonal streams whistle and shimmer in a style that’s more placid than aggressive, and at times (e.g. the tenth track) the material evokes the peaceful micro-activity of a digital pond; overall, the release holds one’s attention, especially when each carefully-designed piece is so compact.

Ron Schepper, Textura


2008 Submarine

A composition made from filtered recordings of an underground boiler room in south London. At Touch Radio.


2008 Non-collaboration [with Heribert Friedl]

CD of compositions made from treatments of an improvisation recorded by Heribert Friedl. Released by nonvisualobjects.

Extracts from reviews:

An album no one only faintly interested in Sound Art should miss.

Tobias Fischer, www.tokafi.com

For all the fragility and intimacy, [Montgomery's] sounds are as hard and glistening as diamonds, and are as precisely worked and carefully set in rings of silence.

Dan Warburton, The Wire

Full of fascinating small details and lively invention, avoiding grandiloquence and, at the opposite extreme, the soporifics that can occur when microsound meets Ambient, this complex but unfussy electroacoustic music demands much of the listener. Ah, but the rewards, the rewards…

Brian Marley, Signal to Noise


2008 Wash

Headphone installation at the SNO gallery, Sydney. This features hydrophone recordings made on the south bank of the Thames. Extract archived at SNO.


2007 Split Chance/ essay extract

Audio composition and essay contributed to the book and 2CD Extract: Portraits of Soundartists. Published by nonvisualobjects.


2005 Water Blinks

CD of electronic compositions. Released on Selvageflame. Buy Water Blinks via PayPal below.

Extracts from reviews:

An assured and enjoyable collection of low-key experiments with rhythm and texture […] this is careful music that reveals its detail with attentive listening, particularly in the higher frequency range, where delicate, softly piercing tones dance around the stereo spectrum.

Keith Moliné, The Wire

Most electronica albums these days reveal their source influences within seconds of hitting the play button, but the most impressive thing about Water Blinks is that it manages to reference its influences discreetly. […] There’s a lot of information packed into each piece, and the way it unfolds is original, unexpected and convincing.

Dan Warburton, www.paristransatlantic.com

Water Blinks has gradually crept into my consciousness and set up permanent camp there.

Brian Marley

In Montgomery’s music, though there’s nothing as overt as intruding exterior sounds, there is an ineffable spatial sense imparted, definitely though elusively serving to place his pieces into an occupied space. […] There’s a […] juxtapositioning of tones with gently apposing grains, colors, degrees of brittleness or softness [and] each of the flowers has its own charming character. […] Without any elbowing at all, these pieces made themselves quite at home. Water Blinks is a fine release.

Brian Olewnick, Bagatellen

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