Minimalism

a production

Background

Minimalism was the first live → ↑ → project. Bluntly labelled, it approached Minimalist music not as a transcendental practice, but as an unforgiving and undeveloping manifestation of static music. Approached with Duchampian zeal and Warholian perversity, it announced → ↑ →'s modus operandi as a quixotic meld of severe experimentalism and intellectual playfullness. Minimalism took the non-humanist route and revelled in the nothingness one could become by playing such music.

Ralph Traviato, Philip Brophy, Alan Gaunt & Anthony Montemurro - Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, Melbourne © 1977

Credits

Compositions & keyboards - Philip Brophy
Guitar - Anthony Montemurro (1977-1978); Leigh Parkhill (1978-1981)
Synthesizer - Alan Gaunt (1977-1979); Maria Kozic (1979-1981)
Saxophone - Ralph Traviato

Self-titled EP © 1979

1977

Melbourne - Clifton Hill Community Music Centre; Latrobe University

1978

Melbourne - White House Café; Victorian College of the Arts; Clifton Hill Community Music Centre; Melbourne State College; Preston Institute of Technology; St.Kilda Alternative School; Burwood Teachers College

1979

Adelaide - Experimental Art Foundation
Melbourne - Old Wool Exchange; Universal Workshop; Guild Theatre; Crystal Ballroom; Oz Print Gallery
→ ↑ → (aka MINIMALISM) - 7" EP released

1980

3RRR - Live to Air concert
Adelaide - Adelaide Fringe, Focus Club
Melbourne - Clifton Hill Community Music Centre; The Met

1981

Sydney - City Studio

1983

→ ↑ → (aka MINIMALISM) EP - included on the Muzak Rock & Minimalism compilation LP - Present Records, Melbourne

Poster for the self-titled EP © 1980

Overview

The Minimalism set was developed in the midst of Punk's early stirrings. History tends to portray Punk as yet another youthful, energetic, radical social phenomenon - endlessly remembered by withered 'I-was-her' media hustlers - but it was just as restrictive, jingoistic, dogmatic and anti-intellectual as everything it claimed to destroy and debunk. It's saving grace was its connection to performance art and a pretentious flaunting of politicised thought. In such an environment, Philip envisioned his take on Minimalist music as perfectly not fitting in to the dominant 3-chord brigade of wild-youth expressionism. The key influence - as with all → ↑ → projects - was the ideas of Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol. The Minimalism project is best viewed as Duchamp writing distilled slivers of pop music, with the resulting compositions performed by 4 clones of Andy Warhol. Repetition, anti-humanism, insularity and dilettantism governed all. For Philip in particular, the most entertaining recourse to radicalism was to be as normal and nothing as possible.

Anthony Montemurro, Ralph Traviato, Alan Gaunt & Philip Brophy - White House Café, Melbourne © 1978

Technical

From the 1981 programme notes

(...) On the whole, minimalism is a comparative concept - only taking in a productive meaning when related to a concept of 'maximalism' (i.e., the similarities to and differences between Philip Glass and Arnold Schoenberg). Our view of Minimalism is one based on the problematics of the History of Music, as the relationship between Glass and Schoenberg is first and foremost historical rather than musical. Minimalism looks at the ultimate basics of the History of the Western Diatonic Tonal Systems (the music grammar and language that we have all been brought up on), focusing on the effects of a single repeated melody; very slow volume fade-ins and fade-outs; single notes held for long periods of time; etc. Thus the music is not the result of experimenting with minimal procedeures to generate a stylistic type of music that can be categorized as "minimal". Our minimal music is more concerned with looking at basic harmony through a microscope. A simple way of describing it then is music in extreme close-up."

Philip Brophy, Ralph Traviato, Anthony Montemurro & Alan Gaunt - Latrobe University, Melbourne © 1977

Set list

1. One Note Song (-)
2. The Sound of Music
3. Variety Thru Maths
4. E
5. I'm Overcome By The Weight Of Things
6. Only Quantity Counts
7. Propaganda
8. Ear It Is
9. Off-Screen Space
10. Presence Of The Present
11. Entertainment Diversion
12. When The Saints Come Marching In
13. One Note Song (+)

Anthony Montemurro, Philip Brophy, Leigh Parkhill & Ralph Traviato - Old Wool Exchange, Melbourne © 1979

Philip Brophy, Ralph Traviato, Anthony Montemurro & Alan Gaunt - Latrobe University, Melbourne © 1977

Philip Brophy, Alan Gaunt, Ralph Traviato & Anthony Montemurro - Burwood Teachers College, Melbourne © 1978

Leigh Parkhill, Philip Brophy, Ralph Traviato & Maria Kozic - The Met, Melbourne © 1979 - * photo by Jane Stevenson

Leigh Parkhill, Anthony Montemurro, Maria Kozic, Philip Brophy & Ralph Traviato - Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, Melbourne © 1978