Robert Stillman is a composer and multi-instrumentalist whose work lives at the intersections of Song, Sonic Arts, and History. Reflecting an awareness of process, location, and medium, Stillman’s compositions draw upon Popular and Folk forms- most recently, American pre-jazz and rural music. It’s a worldless cinematic sound exploring a landscape somewhere between the fairground, rural palour, and the stars. While the shrewd listener may be able to pick out hints of Stillman's influences, (among whom he counts John Fahey, Kurt Weill, Scott Joplin, and Maurice Ravel), his music exists on its own terms, a detailed musical territory unto itself.
Attendees of Stillman's live shows have come to expect the unexpected; a performance can mean a one-man-band utalising piano and modified marching-band style percussion, tape-based sound collage, live accompaniment of silent archive footage, or a full ensemble event.
Stillman’s recordings themselves use a mix of archaic or ‘dead’ technology, consumer-line equipment, and modern studio tools. Much of the work is done in a mobile, field-recording style of instruments over long periods of time, resulting in final products that are a hypothetical time-space.
Robert Stillman – Machine’s Song
OIB021 | 8 Tracks
Intro / Broadwar / Broadwar Retreat / Impossible Tree / Tree Collage / Segue / Trail Music / Castle Music
CD | Download
Machine’s Song is the new album from the composer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Stillman. A repertoire of music for the one man band, realised in solo performance and recording, the music of ‘Machine’s Song’ focuses on the notion of Uncanny in musical automata, one-man-band performance, and multi-track tape composition. Like Robert Stillman’s past compositional work, Machine’s Song combines pre-jazz American folk-form, surreal sound-collage, and evocative, unfolding melodies.
Recorded as an accompaniment to the previous ‘Master Box EP’, a composition surrounding the idea of ‘Piano as Contraption’, these recordings portray the instrument, traditionally (classically) associated with the ‘Sublime,’ as the sum of its physical parts, not only a salute to the ‘physical’ attributes of piano, but to the maverick musical styles that exploited them (ragtime, boogie, etc.).
Machine’s Song comes housed in a reverse-board untreated card spined sleeve, housing both the physical CD in a paper inner and a 10"X15" digital print poster of the experimental, printing block, collage-style imagery of Alan Brignull alongside the Dada-inspired text design of Anna Fewster, together creating a archaeo-futuristic analog to Stillman’s music.
**OIB Records webstore exclusive: Limited to just 35 hand numbered copies we have a very small handful of one-off editions each housing a 10"X15" hand made poster using metal foundry type and old printing blocks, letterpress printed on heavy cotton paper with an Adana ‘8-5’ platen press. These are the hand made originals that that were used to make the retail digital print edition.