Tellus Tools (2001)

  1. Nicolas Collins ‘Devil’s Music 1 (excerpt)’ (3:26)
  2. Louise Lawler ‘Birdcalls’ (6:30)
  3. Isaac Jackson ‘Messages (excerpts)’ (6:28)
  4. Kiki Smith ‘Life Want To Live’ (1:40)
  5. Alan Tomlinson ‘Floor Polish Tango’ (3:26)
  6. Joe Jones ‘Flux Music Box’ (2:28)
  7. Christian Marclay ‘Groove’ (5:06)
  8. Alison Knowles ‘Nivea Cream Piece’ (2:32)
  9. Ken Montgomery ‘ICEBREAKER (excerpt)’ (6:49)
  10. Catherine Jauniaux & Ikue Mori ‘Smell’ (4:56)

    Break Beats:
  11. David Linton ‘Shattering Glass’ (0:43)
  12. Gregory Whitehead ‘Eva Can I Stab Bats In A Cave’ (0:35)
  13. The League Of Automatic Composers ‘Micro-Computer Network’ (0:40)
  14. Maurice Lemaître ‘Lettre Rock’ (0:38)
  15. Jerry Lindhal ‘The Indian Elephant’ (0:35)
  16. Tim Schellenbaum ‘Tarantela’ (0:37)
  17. Jack Goldstein ‘The Weep’ (0:35)

Download Liner Notes [PDF] Total time: 47:40
2xLP released 2001, Harvestworks TE-LP01

Curated by Taketo Shimada.
Gatefold cover art by Christian Marclay.
Limited edition of 500.
25 were sold for $450 with original audio tape photogram by Christian Marclay and now sells for $2,500 at Printed Matter, NY.

A legendary twin-release, TellusTools was a 2LP set meant as a Tellus resumé and a DJ tool, albeit purposedly intended for ‘perspective DJs’ (according to liner notes). Basically, this is a Tellus survey conceived by curator Taketo Shimada, with 7 Tellus sound excerpts added at end of side 2 for break-beat purposes. Both discs have the same content to allow creative mixing on 2 turntables. A New York resident since the late 1980s, Taketo Shimada graduated from MIT in 1997. A visual artist and musician, he was then a member of the band Messages along Tres Warren. He has worked with Herbert Huncke, Henry Flynt, Rammellzee, Cory Arcangel, Lary 7 and Alison Knowles, a.o. He organized the Fluxsweet event performances at Harvestworks, NYC, 2005, taking part in performing sound art pieces by Alison Knowles, Joe Jones and Larry Miller, along performers Kirby Gookin, Beckett Gookin, Jessica Higgins, Alison Knowles, Nancy Hwang and Noura Al-Salem. The TellusTools’ cover art by Christian Marclay is gorgeous, an arrangement of spread out Tellus cassettes and dischevelled audio tape. Musically speaking, the choice is clearly aiming at sound art – no electric guitar here, no improvisation, no theater–, and participants are mostly US sound artists from NY’s early 1990s art milieu. Basquiat even found his way – along Rammelzee – on Isaac Jackson’s radio show excerpt from 1982, for an exqusite early hip-hop session. Other tracks include concrete/plunderphonic experiments, avant-song and performance pieces.

I can’t help regret there were no regular Tellus issue on vynil and they jumped directly from Tellus cassette #24 (FluxTellus) to their first CD, without further experiencing the LP format. The music on TellusTools is less focussed than previous thematical Tellus issues, but the choice of tracks is faultless, all being masterpieces of one kind or another. The pressing quality is impressive, with sounds spurting from the speakers in vivid stereo, a pleasure not exactly experienced with previous tape releases. Additionaly, I felt I had to try my hands at mixing or something. So included in the download file is a mini-mix I made with Audacity with samples from the TellusTools mp3s. No djing proper, but an hommage to the Tools’ possibilities.

Liner notes by Continuo

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