Janet Leigh (Dead)

Ph2

Background

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. Ph2 is their collaborative venture.

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 improvize. 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

Credits

Samples, keyboards & drum-pads - Philip Brophy
Audio recordings, processing & CD-mixing - Philip Samartzis
CD mastering & Dolby encoding- Franc Tetaz
CD Funded by the New Media Fund of the Australia Council

1999

VARIABLE RESISTANCE 1 - Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Percy Grainger Museum, Melbourne (quadraphonic versions)
Revolver Upstairs; Slappo's - both Melbourne (stereo versions)

2002

CD released in Dolby Surround on Sound Punch Records

2005

Experimedia - State Library of Victoria, Melbourne (8-channel version)

Overview

Janet Leigh (Dead) was developed originally for a public sound installation in the central outdoor plaza of Copenhagen's city square. Philip Samartzis had presented solo work there and a Ph2 work was proposed and accepted. Following funding from the New Media Arts Board of the Australia Council, the work was completed, centred on recordings and processings of voice and water recordings. This was in reflection of how the speaker system for the Copenhagen's central outdoor plaza was contained within the drainage system. The title Janet Leigh (Dead) references the famous last shot of Janet Leigh's death in Alfred Hitcock's Psycho. Ironically and unfortunately, a flood destroyed the multi-speaker/amp playback system of this underground infrastructure before the completed work could be presented there. The work was then presented at a number of galleries in quadraphonic presentation.

The final work results from a number of improvized live quadraphonic performances across a year where a random database was used to move through the various sections. This ‘random’ function in the live setting pushed both Philips into an attentive act of listening to the other’s textures and finding ways to meld one into the other across time. The final sequencing of textures was settled on by the time of the CD recording. Performed in one take, the Dolby Surround recording has been edited into 6 discrete sections.

Not strictly a minimalist work, the overall atmosphere of Janet Leigh (Dead) is quite dense and alive with internal rhythms. Long fades performed by Philip Samartzis function as drawn-out breathes, while Philip Brophy’s waveform editing creates a series of micro patterns which pulse in idiosyncratic ways. Despite the somewhat morbid title and its oblique reference to Psycho, Janet Leigh (Dead) is a contemplative flow through a series of vocal waves and watery sighs. Sensually sonic and spatially tactile.

Technical

Titles

1. 2.43pm
2. $40,000
3. ANL-709
4. $700
5. Cabin 1
6. NFV-418