Turret Truck

Make It Up Club, Melbourne © 2016 - photo by Leanne McLean

Background

Turret Truck was instigated by bass player Bill McDonald. Following a series of sketches for bass and software synths that Bill had developed in his studio, he sought out Dave Brown (guitar) and Philip Brophy (drums) to extend his tracks into a trio for live performance. Bill had been in a duo with Philip previously (Colossus, 1989-91) as well as playing bass on Philip's score for the film Lovestruck (2007); Bill and Dave were the backbone of the original incarnation of Bucketrider; and Dave and Philip had worked together for Philip's live score Aurevelateur (2004), as well as for the trio Lazy3 (1998-99).

Credits

Bass, effects, soft synths, processing - Bill McDonald
Guitar, effects - Dave Brown
Prepared drums, drum samples - Philip Brophy

2018

Happy River Café, Melbourne
Recording session 2 - RMIT studio (with Louis Kennedy)

2017

Recording session 1 - RMIT studio (with Louis Kennedy & Eugene Brockmuller)

2016

Make It Up Club, Melbourne
Demo recording - Gelatin studio

Demo recording, Melbourne © 2016 - photo by Rebecca Manger

Overview

For Turret Truck, Bill controls software synths while playing bass and effects simultaneously; Dave deploys a scintillating arsenal of spectral hyper-harmonizing guitar effects; and Philip plays a kit with two snares, two kicks, no hi-hat, and a battery of prepared cymbals - plus a pad triggering samples of this same prepared drum kit. The name "Turret Truck" refers to the 3-wheeled vans driven wildly around Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. Maybe that's what Turret Truck's music sounds like.

Technical

Sporadic rehearsals for Turret Truck began in late July 2016, moving into a weekly session within a few months. Bill provided assembled textures in Reason to which Philip and Dave improvised. Bill embellished his Reason tracks by feeding fragments into an additional looping unit, into which he also fed live bass-playing. Dave echoed this looping and texturing with similar layerings of looped fragments wrought from his harshly harmonizing effects boxes. Philip concentrated on simply rhythms generated from his prepared drum kit, accenting the tones of the twin bass drums and often incorporating felt-cloth atop the twin snare skins.

With a few months, a set of 6 tracks were formed. These were largely polished versions of what were the original improvised sessions. Improvization thus was the origins of the pieces, which then were formed into loose compositional reconstructions based on those improvizations. Bill and Dave tweaked their set-ups to enhance this, while Philip recorded a series of drum strikes from his prepared kit which he then incorporated as samples triggered from a Roland SPD-8 drum pad.