The working relationship between Philip Brophy and Philip Samartzis goes back many years. Both were involved in many of the projects released on the Present label and both lectured in Media Arts at RMIT University in Melbourne. However it was not until they decided to present some surround sound performances in early 1998 that they formally developed the collaborative duo Ph2. This presentation and a number that followed were funded by a grant in 1998 by the New Media Arts fund of the Australia Council.
Ph2 projects arise from the opportunity to present or perform, at which point a project is developed. Surround-sound exploration is central to most of these works, combined with ways in which the two can conceptualize, score and improvise. Most works start off as pure experiments to see what outcomes will arise. Successive performances then gel the work into a form, which is then at some stage recorded in multi-speaker configuration. Some of these works eventually found their release through Sound Punch Records.
Samples, keyboards & drum-pads - Philip Brophy
Audio recordings, processing & CD-mixing - Philip Samartzis
Live audio mix and set-up - Kevin Davidson Audio
CD mastering & Dolby encoding - Franc Tetaz
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (quadraphonic versions)
Revolver Upstairs; Slappo's - both Melbourne (stereo versions)
The Continental, Melbourne; The Punter's Club, Melbourne (stereo versions)
CD released in Dolby Surround on Sound Punch Records
Bionic Blue Bubblegum Slurpee capitalizes on the strengths of the two Phils: Brophy with knowledge of club music sub-genres and their more extreme production styles, and Samartzis and his sharply defined approach to creating shimmering sheets of electro-acoustic noise. Together, they generate a distinctive slant on electronica which combines guttural beats with freaky synaptic sounds. Brophy plays the beats live, triggered by playing drum pads, and Samartzis juggles an arsenal of specially-burnt CDs which he mixes and cross-fades to the beat. The outcome of over a year of playing gigs in a wide variety of venues has culminated in the 40 minute suite Bionic Blue Bubblegum Slurpee. Originally presented in galleries in surround sound format, the trippy spatialization is retained for the Dolby surround CD.
Schizophrenic, disorienting, tantalizing and chemical, Bionic Blue Bubblegum Slurpee will complement your taste buds irregardless of what you have in your mouth at the time.
You could be in the centre of the city or the heart of the suburbs. 7-11 stores surround you like a halo of fluorescent light. They're so near that your eyelids are never dark. Your brain is always turned on. The slurpee machine calls you through a haze of insomnia as dried trails of saliva form at the side of your lips. You get up. 3am. Can't sleep. Wired, weak, whacked. Too much of this; too little of that. You're either wide asleep at night or in a dream at work. Everything you touch is a drug: Taiwanese vinyl; German rubber; French jam; Indonesian wood; Melbourne air. Your bones contract as air-conditioning changes pressure; your nostrils flare as traffic lights change. You hum uncontrollably.
What was that movie you saw last night playing silently in a deafening club? What was that song you heard in a cab last week as you came back from somewhere you forget? Jennifer Jason Leigh. Dolph Lundgren. Dario Argento. Did you really fuck them all? The attendant swipes your food at the cash register. The high-toned beep slowly cuts into your temples like a spanner resting on a block of bean curd. Cash. You need some cash. There it is. In your pocket. Wake up, man. You've been looking at the videos to hire. You hate Andi McDowell and her curls. You've been listening to Phil Collins on the radio. Time to go. Time to get to bed. Time to go to work. You take your slurpee in hand and wonder yet again: what the hell is the flavour of a Bionic Blue Bubblegum Slurpee?"
1. Dolph Lundgren
2. Jodie Foster
3. Fred Willliamson/Michael Mann
4. Dario Argento/John Carpenter
5. Jennifer Jason Leigh
6. Toru Takemitsu
7. Mike Post/Gyorgy Ligeti
8. Paul Verhoven
9. Roger Corman
10. Linda Fiorentino