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Sean Bonney's Commons

by duckplex

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1.
2.
3.
meanwhile 00:48
4.
5.
6.
7.
anyway 00:40
8.
long knife 00:48
9.
10.
weirds 00:29
11.
flash 00:28
12.
13.
eclipse 00:33
14.
15.
16.
burst 00:36
17.
BANG 00:48
18.
19.
soot 00:26
20.
black 00:26
21.
thrushes 00:57
22.
wing 00:25
23.
red 00:24
24.
wind 00:26
25.
shadow 00:31
26.
enemies 00:41
27.
Kabul 00:35
28.
29.
star 01:07
30.
31.
rattling 00:38
32.
33.
heretic 00:26
34.
preposterone 00:42
35.
whip 00:37
36.
computer 00:34
37.
intimidation 00:33
38.
stung 00:35
39.
italics 00:33
40.
throat 00:21
41.
yuppie 00:36
42.
faking 00:41
43.
scorn 00:22
44.
trickling 00:58
45.
46.
split 00:23
47.
sparkling 00:29
48.
locked 00:25
49.
pit 00:34
50.
51.
alphabets 00:32
52.
love 00:31
53.
sea 00:30
54.
ribbon 00:30
55.
pain 00:22
56.
tide 00:49
57.
branches 00:21
58.
goose 00:36
59.
invisible 00:32
60.

about

ALL PROCEEDS TO HULL HELP FOR REFUGEES

The duckplex Commons was recorded in several intense bursts over a period of several weeks in July of 2010. Sean Bonney had been sending me PDFs of the first part of the Commons which he was finalising for publication at the time. “malevolent shine” was recorded first without any notion that there would be more to follow. I either sent Sean the track or played it to him round at his flat in Walthamstow, he liked it and encouraged my whimsical suggestion that I might do “a couple more”. The first seven happened, Sean responded positively, and at some point it became obvious that I had to render the whole book as it then stood.

If memory serves, which generally it doesn’t, the procedure went as follows: I would read a poem to myself, go to the drums and play around until I found something I didn’t entirely hate, record it, pick up my bass guitar and do likewise, record it over the drums, then finally record myself read/sing/holler/whisper/whatevering the poem in question through a megaphone. Everything was recorded via the onboard mic of a desktop computer, hence the somewhat less than hi-fidelity recording quality. Digital lo-fi will of course not be to everyone’s taste, least of all to mine in 2020, but I’m not going to bore anyone with an apology. It is what it is.

Thanks and credit are owed to Justin Katko who played the trumpet on the second interlude and outro (“paranoia x-ray” and “breathmint navajo”, respectively.) “breathmint navajo” was a sketch of an idea for a massive ensemble soul piece that never went anywhere. “paranoia x-ray” has a more convoluted backstory. Years previously I had heard and fallen in love with an extended sample on an early UK Hip Hop tune which a friend of mine had put on a mix tape which was then somehow lost. Wanting to discover the sample’s origin, I asked said friend what the track was called. He replied that it came from an untitled 12” white label that he got who knows when and where. I expressed my frustration to Justin, whose suggestion was that we should record our own version from what I could remember of it. Years later I discovered the original by happy accident, it is “Humpin” by the Bar-Kays. The other two interludes, “raptors” and “small fry”, are excerpted from a much shorter duckplex album I made immediately following the commons project called “cactus blades”.

The reasons for this project not seeing the light of release for a decade are several. Chief among them is that the sound of my own voice, even through megaphone distortion, is an abhorrence to me. Misgivings over recording quality also played their part. Then, of course, comes the fact that a certain number of the songs did not feel worthy of any kind of release. There are two which I still think are unlistenably bad. The idea of whittling down a best-of did occur, but that seemed to betray the original idea and spirit of the project. So fuck it, here’s the lot.

It is the occasion of what would have been Sean’s 51st birthday that has lead me to cast aside my own fastidiousness and punt this thing out into the void once and for all. All proceeds, every solitary penny beyond bandcamp and paypal skim, will go to Hull Help for Refugees, an excellent organisation based in the town where the young punk Bonney grew up. I feel squeamish in the extreme making any kind of public statement about Sean and what he meant to me. Suffice it to say that, before and beyond being a close friend, he was in my view one of the most fiercely brilliant writers this century has the fortune to claim as its own. To say that this album was “inspired” by the Commons would be a mischaracterisation: it directly caused it, fed it breakfast, guided it on its way and finally put it to bed. That it was fun to make and that it pleased Sean was reward enough at the time, that even a single person might like it or be moved to check out Sean’s writing is reason enough to let it loose now.

The book is still available, right here: www.openned.com/print/the-commons-sean-bonney.html

Special thanks and infinite love to most honourable Kruk and to Sean’s family.

RIP

xxx
(24/05/20)

credits

released May 25, 2020

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duckplex Cambridge, UK

duckplex was a bedroom solo project active from 2009-2010, prescribed to exorcise the spirit of a duck consumed in error.

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