Fis & Rob Thorne "Clear Stones" (SUB022)
Subtext presents Clear Stones, the first meeting between two distinct voices from New Zealand. In a unique collaboration, Māori sound artist Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu) and Berlin-based electronic composer Fis dismantle boundaries in space, time, and genre, juxtaposing Thorne’s living, breathing practice with the weight of modern sound systems.
Recording sessions at Berlin’s Red Bull Studios were the starting point, committing Thorne’s traditional Māori instrumentation to tape. Made of wood, stone, bone and shell, the instruments of taonga pūoro (translating to ‘singing treasures’) include various oblique-style flutes, horns, percussion, and objects spun above the player’s head during performance. Amongst the instrumentation deployed by Thorne on Clear Stonesis the Pūtātara (conch horn), Pūrerehua (bullroarer), and TumutumuKōhatu (stone percussion). However it’s the Pūtōrino that features most regularly throughout; an instrument that is both flute and horn, both voices captured in one single take by Thorne on mid-album epic ‘Glurn Herrin’. Thorne has been performing in New Zealand for some 25 years, and the release of his debut solo album Whāia te Māramatangaon Rattle Records in 2014 garnered wide critical acclaim, including a nomination for ‘Best Maori Traditional Album’ at the 2014 Waiata Māori Music Awards.
Since his debut on Tri Angle Records in 2013, Fis has released a string of acclaimed albums, including his Subtext debut From Patterns to Details in 2016, ending up in end-of-year lists at both FACT magazine and The Quietus. Starting with Thorne’s taonga pūoro recordings, Fis sculpts bold new settings for the music, mired in deep bass and vast synthetic tones, at times pushing Thorne’s wood, stone, and bone into total transformative saturation. The conversation that emerges between these two artists encompasses technology and nature, computers and physical instruments, historical narrative and the present, perceived secularity and sacredness, framing them all as aspects of one single, conscious whole.
Fis and Rob Thorne will be touring Europe in lead up to the release, starting with Borderline Festival in Athens, going on to open Milan’s outernational Mondo Muzak festival, plus make a visit to Cafe Oto in London.