Michael Speers - Green Spot Nectar of the Gods


mini CD-R / Digital

Voice 02:07
Voice 03:15
Voice + Synth 02:08
Drum + Synth 02:25
Barn 01:21
Synth + Voice 03:14
Voice 01:42
Barn + Drum 01:39
Synth 03:57

Created for Takuroku 2020
Released as mini CD-R 2022

Voice: Paul Speers




"Now it's time for a Green Spot!!!! After a few Green Spots it might sound completely different."

—Paul Speers

Transcript of tracks 1 and 2:

“Right, just actually make the sounds yourself. Like, use instruments to make the music, rather than what you normally do. Be more conventional; use conventional things to make a—I don’t know what you would call it—a piece, I’d call it a song, but you don’t have to sing. Right, so a tune, what’s a tune? 

Right, so make something, which is more melodic (without singing) where you actually create the music yourself. Yes, rather than what you do, which is you record something and then take it apart and then put it back together again, isn’t that what you do? Right, so why not actually make the sound yourself—as in, playing an instrument. 

So, you could (I dunno) play the keyboards and then, don’t necessarily take it apart and put it back together again, that’s what I mean. More like what you did at Queen’s where the stuff was different but you actually made it. Do you know what I mean? You played the drums but played with a violin bow—and I don’t mean play the drums, what I mean is that you actually create the music, rather than...so it’s original, it’s all yours, you haven’t taken anything from anywhere else and taken it apart and put it back together; everything that you’ve got is yours. Does that make sense? Cause that’s way out of your comfort zone. But it’s...possibly, yeah or play one you do know how to play and then play the ones you don’t know how to play over the top of it.

Right, use something you know how to play—I mean it could even be the piano, I mean you know how to play keyboards—and use that as the base and then do stuff that you don’t know what you’re doing (necessarily) around it. So that’s like the (I dunno) like, the headline or the core—yeah, the core—and then the other stuff can make it completely different around the outside. Yes, so you start off with something that’s conventional and then you destroy it. 

Y’know so basically it’s um...right, the easy way to say it is, ‘the history of how Michael Speers makes music.’ So this is where you start, so you start playing the drums and then you just totally destroy it. But you create everything yourself, you don’t use anybody else’s material. I reckon that would be quite difficult for you to do, but challenging.

Right well that’s fair enough, yeah. Yes, retain the original, don’t completely get rid of...no, like the guy that you know Paul that plays the drums—you still know he’s playing the drums but there are parts of what he’s doing that you don’t know it’s the drums, but you know the drums are there somewhere. So, have something which is the—I don’t know what the word for it is but to me it’s like the—core of it, ‘the thread that runs through the middle’. So you’ve got something that’s constant the whole way through it but you basically destroy it. There’s something which is constant but everything around it changes.” —Paul Speers

Review by Dominic Coles:

"My father and I had a running joke that started when I was a teenager—or at least he had a running joke. Depending on what I was listening to in my room, or what sounds I was composing with, he’d walk by my door and poke his head in. Mischievous grin and all he’d say, “You call that music?” All these years later he still somehow finds this joke funny and relishes making it whenever I’m visiting. As a teenager I found it funny, too. Then it started to bother me, but now I’m quite interested in what he actually thinks and means by this.

The shadows cast by our parents loom large in experimental music, but that doesn’t mean that there is any clarity regarding the shape of these shadows whether in the form of their relationship to the sounds we make as musicians, to the musical forms those sounds inhabit, or to us as practitioners generating and sculpting those sounds. What are we to them when not the object “child?”

The parent takes many shapes in our work and community. They are always present in our music if only as our sublimated desires and fantasies which make up some part of our work as artists. They continue to be largely silenced in our community when our focus turns towards the overlooked financial and material resources provided by them: the repressed common knowledge of our scene being that many of our most celebrated practitioners are able to be artists without working a job because of the financial support of their families. The parent—ever present but with lips locked. Finally, there is the fascinating tension that we as practitioners so often feel resigned to the fact that our music might not ever connect with our families; a music which claims to be fundamentally dedicated to expanding modes of listening, to creating more inclusive listening spaces, yet somehow it is a music which occludes those practices brought to the music by our parents. This is not to say that the blame lies solely with us, the child. There is work to be done on the part of the parents too.

Michael Speers’s humorous and intimate record, Green Spot Nectar Of The Gods, seeks to unlock the lips of his father, attempting to navigate more clearly the form of this relationship as it relates to his experimental music practice. Speers’s music oscillates between a kind of unbounded joy in the extremes of digital synthesis and his serious commitment to his father’s own ideas and connections to this work. The result is a charming and surprisingly touching record that stages the complexities of the paternal relationship both sonically and formally.

On the first track, “Voice,” we hear his father giving instructions on how to proceed with his newest piece: “Just actually make the sound yourself. Use instruments to make the music rather than what you normally do.” This voice, already passed through the logic of Speers’s digital synthesizer, has a sheen reminiscent of a dropped Zoom call or disrupted FaceTime. Of particular interest, however, is the way in which the father’s voice is mapped to a series of drum sounds, glitches, and other digital artifacts, seeming to activate a range of complex digital sound with each utterance. As the work progresses, however, it feels less like a mapping of voice to sound and more a translation: Speers’s abstract, synthetic language is fundamentally the language of his father. Over the course of the record, the father’s voice disappears leaving behind these abstract sounds. Though perhaps it is not so much that the voice disappears, but rather that it vanishes into the sound itself. Ever present, and no longer silent, the voice speaks through Speers’ synthetic enunciations."