Photos from recent Stockholm shows we have visited


Here is a collection of photographs from a number of exhibitions which we have enjoyed seeing in Stockholm over approximately the last month. If those who see this can, they should try and see these shows before they end. If not, one might still perhaps look out for some of these artists in the future.


VillarRojas2Adrián Villar Rojas at the Moderna Museet – a man inspects the side room installation of the exhibition during the opening


VillarRojas1The ‘transformed’ artefacts on the brightly lit staging of the main room


The Argentine artist Adrián Villar Rojas’s show Fantasma at the Moderna Museet appears like a new surreal, futuristic museum environment. The high-key lighting in the large square space has echoes of a set from Kubrick's 2001. Central to the space, raised to roughly eye-level on a large platform, are a collection of familiar and strange objects which appear to be in a state of flux. This work, and particularly the presentation of it, is both fascinating and appears to pose questions about ‘art’ itself, ownership, human progress and memory.


MAshow3A view from one of the exhibition rooms of The Royal Institute of Art’s (Kungl. Konsthögskolan) MA Graduation Exhibition 2015


MAshow2Hedda Viå comments on contemporary western ideology through adapting images and objects associated with advertising and consumerism


MAshow1Anna Taina-Nielsen – this image shows the artist as ‘worker’ in her performative work


The Royal Institute of Art’s (Kungl. Konsthögskolan) MA Graduation Exhibition, at Konstakademien on Fredsgatan (12), contains the work of 23 of their graduating students. The array of materials and techniques used in the show is in keeping with this institutions tradition for encouraging experimental, explorative practices. Works here utilise installation, performance, sculpture, video, painting, and photography. Much of the artworks have been devised in response to the exhibition and the historical associations of the venue used in staging it. Works question, embrace, critique and poke fun in equal measure, at much of art’s traditions and our modern society as a whole. All the works had their merits and areas of intrigue, but Hedda Viå, Éva Mag and Anna Taina-Nielsen caught our attention particularly. These practitioners artworks, all very different, either have a strong sociocritical dimension, in the case of Viå & Taina-Nielsen, or were visually arresting and presented to convey some interesting connotations about our western history, as Mag has done. However, overall this is a strong show and for those involved, I am sure we will see much more of their work again in the near future. 


Dono2The mechanical Oxymoronia by Heri Dono, from the show at Färgfabriken


Dono1Dono’s The Three Donosaurus at Färgfabriken


Heri Dono is probably Indonesia’s most renown contemporary artist and his exhibition Animachines, at Färgfabriken is a large scale showcase of his work. In the show, Dono gives a magnificently individual insight into the social and political history of his native country, through adapting some of their cultural traditions and imagery. Linking traditional Indonesian culture and animism with inspirations from cartoons and western art, Dono manages to create some unique imagery. Humour, colour, oddities, mechanics and interactive works (there are lots of buttons to press), make this show an entirely new and joyous experience. Absolutely not like anything you have seen before.


Dine1Jim Dine’s sculpture Lopper's Blue Dream, 2013, oil enamel on cast bronze; with the painting Pinocchio's Unhappiness About Those He Cares About, 2013, acrylic and sand on canvas; both at the Wetterling Gallery


An old favourite of ours is Jim Dine. This new work, Heart of Stone at the Wetterling Gallery focuses on the well known story of Pinocchio, with a collection of paintings and sculptures of the well-known ‘little wooden boy’, together with adjoining, found objects. In sticking with his ‘pop’ traditions, alongside this subject is a series of heart paintings, which give more than a slight nod to abstract expressionism and his 60’s contemporaries, Messrs Johns & Rauschenberg. This work is colourful, fun and continues to look at themes relating to reality, and of course it’s opposite(s), which have been a constant point of reference during Dine’s more than 5 decades as an exhibiting artist.


A link to Hasse Persson’s (Artistic Director) fine text for Heart of Stone can be found here



A Brief Introduction to Keith Harrison


Having been banned from the ceramics room on his first day of an Art Foundation course at Bournville, Keith Harrison understandably had no aspirations of becoming a ceramicist in his fledgling stages as a visual artist. However, it seems that this authoritarian experience probably challenged his innate perceptions of what this sort of practitioner could be and therefore led him to confront the conventional notions of fine art ceramics. As a result, this has become the key factor which underlies his work as an artist.


Harrison-3Keith Harrison standing on top of his work ‘Float’, 2011


Harrison was born in West Bromwich but grew up in Birmingham. He studied on a BA Industrial Design course in Cardiff; later switching to Ceramics, largely due to a course he completed during his initial BA. Following this, he undertook an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the RCA, where he graduated in 2002.

I am interested in the opportunities that clay offers in its different states; as a liquid, plastic and solid, and ultimately, the potential for the direct physical transformation of clay from a raw state utilising industrial and domestic electrical systems in a series of time-based public experiments.

The merging of ceramics with performance, ‘action’ and other forms of sculpture and installation, has allowed Harrison’s work to create and occupy a largely distinctive position within contemporary visual art. A vital attention of the work, which is referred to in the previous quote, is a temporal dimension that enables it to be structured and culminate around the delivery of an event, which is integral to the artist’s foremost sensibilities.

After his graduation in 2002, Keith developed various processes and ideas for a number of live public art events. These experimentations have utilised portable household appliances, audio equipment, materials, objects and systems associated with an industrial and domestic base, and the staging of live firings of his ceramic works. These have taken place in various venues such as a living room, science laboratory, café and not-for-profit artist run spaces in Brighton and London. ‘The physical transformation of clay from a raw state’ into something fixed and synthesised, is central to Harrison’s very intentionally somatic process of presentation.

Many large scale works have been produced for public galleries by using the given space to produce these site specific, time based works. Over recent years he has exhibited in venues such as the V&A, Jerwood Space, Camden Arts Centre and mima in Middlesbrough.


keith_harrison_grand‘Grand’ 2008, at the V&A, for his V&A Ceramics Artist in Residence, October 2012 – March 2013


His scrutinising of different conceptions of the firing process, led him to use unconventional heat generators, which began in 2007. In his work ‘20 Whittington Street’ at the Camden Arts Centre, A living room carpet made from chapatti bread dough and spices heated underneath until the smell became unbearable for the audience in the gallery space, was devised for the show. Another exhibit ‘Float’, commissioned for Jerwood Open Makers in 2011; a large piece that was the result of a sequence of smaller scale works and experiments involving sound, combined clay and electricity and included his works ‘Blue Monday/White Label’ (Landmark, Bergen, 2010), ‘Brother’ (mima, Middlesbrough, 2009) and ‘Grand’ (Permanent Gallery, Brighton, 2008).

The post-war, Brutalist architectural designs of 1950’s & 60’s are a major influence on Keith’s work. He has been especially intrigued by the colourful tower blocks found at the Bustleholme Estate in West Bromwich, near where he was born. Their tiled exteriors of bright blue and yellow make these large angular structures disconcerting. Connected to this is his interest in the architecture of Berthold Lubetkin and the Tecton group. Their design’s for animal enclosures at London, Whipsnade and Dudley Zoo tap into Harrison’s curiosity at the notion of ‘social observation of captive animals as a recreational pursuit’ and how this can be aligned with the performative nature of his own work.


Tower-BlocksThe buildings of the Bustleholme estate in West Bromwich, outside Birmingham, that Harrison's work has been informed by


On these sorts of post-war ‘social experiments’, as they are often labelled, and their architectural embodiments, Harrison comments: ‘I am interested in these buildings and more generally the radical social agenda for state architecture of the 1960's relating to comprehensive schools and housing.’ The political/social agenda within the work, which is unquestionably subtle, is still a central issue. An attention on the social arrangement of predominantly working class communities, the controlling, observing and monitoring of them, is a significant focus for the artist when placing some of the work’s subjects.

Harrison states that he wants his work to have a kind of ‘monumentality’ to it. The idea of destruction is always a part of this awareness too and how such seemingly permanent object and forms are actually temporal and can often be perceived archaic relatively quickly. His work ‘Float’ is a fitting example of these principles.


keith harrison & napalm deathThe speaker towers of the 'Bustleholme Project' and Napalm Death during their performance 


Perhaps Keith's now most infamous work was the 'Bustleholme Project'. This was the final proclamation of his residency at the V&A and a continuation of his work with the band Napalm Death, who also originate from the Birmingham area. Using the band's ferocious performance, Harrison had their audio blaze out from a speaker system built and designed by him. This system, the design of which was based on the towers at the Bustleholme estate, were mass rectangular objects with a large speaker system installed inside them; their exteriors tiled in the appropriate colours and placed in the middle of the De La Warr Pavilion auditorium. Naturally the objective was to see these objects begin to fall apart during the performance, largely due to the sheer force of the music emanating from them. However, this process was also helped by an individual who managed to enter the central space where the system was situated and begin to physically attack these structures. Although made for his V&A residency, the eventual Bexhill on Sea venue used for this live performance seemed highly fitting for both Harrison and the band. The stark post-modern design of the building and the bleak seaside landscape made this a decent match for both sound and vision.

What makes Keith Harrison’s work so intriguing and refreshing is that he is using and experimenting with clay in an ostensibly different way. He wants to investigate the potential responsiveness that this material has in different situations and states, and then allow people the chance to experience first-hand the processes and results of these events. The opposing concepts of creation and destruction is crucial to these projects and his inclusion of other objects and material established factors such as sound, heat, movement, smell etc., makes Harrison’s work brave, unpredictable and overtly multifaceted.

Keith Harrison and Napalm Death: 'Bustleholme' by Jared Schiller.


Announcements & Changes for Spring 2015


Pipe spring 2015 

As we are always trying to keep Pipe interesting - primarily to us, those who write and run this blog - we are, as a result of this approach, often considering new projects, texts and directions, which will best achieve this. We like to work on the assumption that, because we are ‘of this world’ and thus have preferences which are in all probability, shared by others, we therefore suspect that any new direction we do take may be of interest to other folks also. This outlines the case here.

It has been sometime since any new ideas have been declared by us. In this moment, we plan to return to one of the fundamental principles of this project. Being, we want Pipe to reflect and to show our own inclinations and preferences, which exist around our different chosen creative ‘arenas’. Another objective of ours - that we have not declared previously, but because it has grown over time we now feel we have to announce and act on it, is:


We aim to bring to your attention instances, individuals, works, organisations and/or any other creative or cultural example that by our judgment, presently are not being given the considerations we believe they/it deserves; or simply, those fascinating artistic examples, which might normally have passed one by.


This is clearly only a judgment of course. Therefore, if we end up discussing something you already know about or if you do not agree with our assessments, then this is constructive for us too, as we hope that you will share with us your thoughts, positions or criticisms. Discussion and bringing new ideas or examples to the fore, has always been one of our chief objectives for this blog and it remains so.

As a result of all this, we will be starting with a new series of articles on artists and creative individuals, whom we believe you should be made aware of. These are sometimes relatively new artists, but not always. Nonetheless, because we feel they are producing work that deserves a lot closer inspection and more widespread attention, we will be profiling and analysing some of the work they produce.

Lastly, as part of these ‘new horizons’, we are planning some aesthetic changes to the site as well. These will become clearer in the coming weeks but if you keep visiting us you will see those changes for yourselves, as and when they occur.




Four New Shows in Stockholm to Recommend


During our recent time back in Stockholm we have visited a number of shows. Here are four that Pipe would now like to recommend. All the exhibitions described within this selection, are very different and were enjoyed by us to varying degrees, but in our view they are all still worth going to see.


# 22

Astrid Kruse Jensen, Disappearing into the past # 22, 2010-2012


The Danish photographer Astrid Kruse Jensen, who is exhibiting at the Wetterling Gallery in Kungsträdgården, displays beautifully emotive, large scale photographs in her show Beauty Will Always Be Disturbed. Due to their processing & printing these images, viewed from a distance almost seem like paintings. Her method of working has given the work a wistful quality and provides them with this painterly effect. She has taken these photographs on old expired Polaroid film and then blown them up, and in some cases to over a meter squared, presenting them in simple, clean deep frames. This conventional, yet effective method of presentation seems appropriate to the work and fits with the space generally.



# 55

Astrid Kruse Jensen, Disappearing into the past # 55, 2010-2012


The melancholic, cinematic nature of the work is more than a little bit indebted to filmmakers like Von Tier, Bergman & Tarkovsky (perhaps the less said about this artist’s film - The House Inside Her, which also features in the show - and its strong association with the latter in my trio of comparisons, the better). Regardless of this however, the work is still highly aesthetically fulfilling and has a type of proposed narrative that intrigues and invites ones own interpretations.

The exhibition runs until March 21st, 2015.



Annabelle by Markus Schinwald, 2015, Pigment Print, 140 x 100cm


Having represented Austria in 2011 at the Venice Biennale, and as recently as last year, having also had a major solo show at both the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, in association with SFMOMA, and at the M – Museum Leuven in Belgium, Markus Schinwald now brings his eclectic and often bizarre exhibits to Magasin III.

[The address for Magasin III is: Frihamnsgatan 28, 115 56 Stockholm - link to it on the map]


Actuator 2

Actuator 2 by Markus Schinwald, 2015, mixed media sculpture


This exhibition inhabits two spaces, across adjoining floors - one on top of the other. We enter through an old wardrobe, which in itself is clearly a loaded metaphor, in the ‘social sphere’, and references some fairly well-known literary works. The first space is surrounded with multiple framed reproductions of various illustrations of 19th century bourgeois individuals. These people all have some sort of intervention to their poses or demeanours however. This gives them a fetistic and ‘freak’ like appearance. Nonetheless, I still can’t help but think of certain commercial illustrations that have become popular in recent times and can be found on stalls in markets, particularly those around London’s East End. The sheer number of prints and this somewhat unfortunate connection, makes this part of the show my least favourable. Nevertheless, in the centre of this room is a far more engaging work. The work Actuator 1-6 are objects that have been made to look like or adapted from old furniture and then mechanically installed and placed in different uniformed formations inside little openings in the wall. These surreal works move, grind and scrape in unison, looking somewhat like Hans Bellmer sculptures that have been given movement. Undoubtedly, the human body is a constant reference here, and how the social and cultural positioning of such natural forms is inspected. An earlier work entitled Curtain has been placed adjacent to Actuator 1-6 in the thin corridor that separates them, and is seemingly out of place in this context. Yet, the subtle, enthralling and slightly sinister nature of this curtain and what might be behind it, balances extremely well with these apparently antique like forms. The curtain is a rich red and has the appearance of faces that look like they may have come from woodcarvings, which have then been imprinted upon the fabric. For me this is most appealing. It has clear theatrical connotations and further adds to the mystique of this formation of pieces.



Curtain, 2006, prints on fabric


The level below the first floor of the exhibition is an entirely different experience. This square room is an arena that has white false walls setup all the way round and consists of a number of projections, that utilise these surfaces. Also, on these walls, spread out across the gallery, are a collection of different objects such as paintings, sculptures and protruding and receding shapes that dissect the wall itself but are still uniformly a part of it. The video projections are of people, seemingly life-sized to us the viewers, who appear to be in this space previously, and are interfering and inspecting the walls, various objects, many draws, doors and other hiding places inside these walls. This uncanny sense of both viewing and existing in a place, which is the same as the one you find yourself in but is also fundamentally changed, is unnerving and triggers a strange kind of repressive responsiveness that is difficult to process fully. This work seems profoundly Freudian to me, as it fascinates and alarms in equal measure.


Stage Complex_Thomas

Stage Complex (Thomas), 2015, Video, again by Markus Schinwald


The exhibition runs until December 13th, 2015.



Cykeltjuven (Bicycle Thieves), 2015, from Newton’s Bird by Linnéa Jörpeland, bronze, 72 x 207 x 45 cm


Lars Bohman Gallery is the site of our next recommendation. The artist whose work features in this exhibition Newton’s Bird, is Linnéa Jörpeland. A native Swede, her work is often playful and humorous, yet has a deeper questioning tone. Our relationship, or certainly the human environment’s, link with animals and their world, is a notable attention in her work here. As a sculptor, most of Jörpeland’s pieces have been cast in bronze and to an extent, seem to have been made in order to alter or question certain perceived notions of the ‘expected’ or different recognisable behaviour within the human-animal world. Like snakes who have swallowed unforeseen objects such as shoes or an entire child’s bike. A further curious work is the halved table supported by the wall, which has a rather gruesome metaphor attached to it. On the table is the sculpture of a cured sausage with a small section cut from one end, placed beside a knife and on chopping board, which have all been arranged there. Its position has been challenged by a dog’s nose though, that just sticks up from the edge. This piece of nose, and end of mouth clearly has been made to be almost exactly the same size as the missing end of the sausage. This sort of provocative, yet still subtly constructed work, is a feature of the show and manages to work on various levels giving her work a more wide reaching appeal.


Nötfärs,späck,vitlök och kryddor

Nötfärs, späck, vitlök och kryddor (Minced beef, bacon, garlic and spices), from Newton’s Bird by Linnéa Jörpeland(detail, 2015, bronze and wood), 77 x 69 x 57 cm


My favourite piece in this exhibition does not however have an animal present in it. This work does make use of the shadow though. Whether this is an actual shadow, like in this case, fashioned from a sculpted Swedish flag & flag pole or a painted/changed shadow, like in other instances, these do have a strong presence in this body of work. The shadow here, made by the spot light and flag construction has a woman in a kind of 40’s or 50’s style bathing suit appearing to walk along the line made by the shadow in the way a trapeze artist might precede along a tightrope. This quite delicately sculpted piece has a refined appearance. Nationalism and perceived notions of the female role and their associated stereotypes, are strongly contained within this piece but not overtly so in my view.


I sinom tid

I sinom tid (In due course), 2015, from Newton’s Bird by Linnéa Jörpeland, bronze and wood, 100 x 100 x 22 cm


The exhibition runs until March 22nd, 2015.



Hans-Bellmer-13Images from Hans Bellmer’s 1934 book, The Doll (Die Puppe), feature in this show at Stockholm’s Kulturhuset


Our fourth and final tip is the exhibition Asylum at Kulturhuset in Stockholm. Curated by the author and director of fashion design at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern Karina Ericsson Wär, the show is a specific, but expansive exploration into certain correlations between fashion and art. Works from a wide array of artists & designers, both past and present are on show here and as one might expect, these are largely interested in studies and depictions of the body. The key captivations of the show are with constructing various identities - with different notions of the surreal featuring strongly in the exhibition. None more so than the work of notable advocates of this treatment, such as Hans Bellmer, whose renowned photographs of distorted and deformed human shapes are on display. Elsa Schiaparelli’s Skeleton dress, inspired by a sketch from Salvador Dalí and produced in 1938 for the Haute Couture Collection ‘Circus’, lays bars, or in this particular case, turns inside what is held within, in a bizarre, highly stylised, fashion object. The contemporary designer Ann-Sofie Back’s garments are also displayed. Seemingly incompatible parts are stitched together to produce pieces that appear like futurist designs or costumes from a sci-fi film.


schiaparelli-skeleton-dress-1939Designed by Elsa Schiaparelli & Salvador Dali, Skeleton Dress from 1938


This exhibition truly is a real treat and contains a whole plethora of different works. From the video installation art of Aernout Mik and their totally unsettling situations, to the violent minimalistic/industrialist, swishing cables of Sun Yuan and Peng Yu & then moreover, the sadomasochistic, eroticism of Rut Hillarp’s relationship with experimental filmmaker Mihail Livada - as depicted in an exquisite film collaboration.



Untitled, 2015, by Ann-Sofie Back in Kulturhuset’s Asylum exhibition


Asylum also features works by many other designers and artists, such as Martin Margiela, Anna-Sara Dåvik, Juun.J, Sandra Backlund, Minna Palmqvist, Patrik Söderstam and Maria Miesenberger. A perplexing, yet wholly captivating show, the curation is well considered and conjoins the works together in an often unexpected way, which keeps it interesting and distinctive.

The exhibition runs in Gallery 3 of the Kulturhuset until May 24th, 2015.


This concludes our four current exhibition recommendations. We have appreciated seeing these works and hope you have an opportunity to visit these shows as well. If you do, please let us know what you thought of them here, thanks.




White Fence: a profile & some considerations on 'For the Recently Found Innocent' (released July 2014)

The album cover & self-portrait for, 'For the Recently Found Innocent'

White Fence is a band that I have followed quite closely since their incarnation as a recording entity some four years ago. Their album release of this year was entitled For the Recently Found Innocent and was duly anticipated - speaking for oneself evidently. Having listened to the record extensively, I would now like to discuss my thoughts on the album over the course of this article. Initially however, I want to write a brief section outlining who the band is.

Darker My Love Performing 'Backseat'
from 'Alive As You Are'

White Fence is essentially just one person. The name of this person is Tim Presley. An American chap, based in L.A but originally from San Francisco, Tim seems to be, or has been involved with a number of bands and musicians for roughly the last decade [for more on this]. This trend of musical ‘types’ being connected and working together on various projects, which Presley seems to be somewhat of an archetype for, is prevalent in the L.A/San Francisco ‘music scene’ - or the ‘scene’ catering for the sorts of sounds made by Presley et al. Of his past work, the most notable was his time spent in Darker My Love, a band which first made me aware of his music (even though he did also spend a short time in Mark E. Smith’s band The Fall - but who hasn’t eh? This feels very much like a separate matter however, so one will not get bogged down in this here.) Their last album to date was the much-underappreciated Alive as You Are (2010), a record that was definitely their strongest and one worth listening to if you haven’t already. Being one of the two principle songwriters whilst in DML and a part of what certainly became a somewhat bigger, more label sponsored act; he has since struck out alone as White Fence and with it, this appears to have brought a far greater creative freedom. Like most recording artists, Presley is more than a little bit indebted to the pop music of earlier decades and especially psychedelia. He does however put a distinct modern twist on older sounds. It is as though he has past 60’s garage rock sensibilities through a certain contemporary psychedelic canon, picking up a variety of influences along the way – everything from punk to the English music hall. Although beginning to emerge on Alive as You Are, his influences notably have many British leanings. One can hear resonances of Kevin Ayers and Syd Barrett particularly of recent tracks. Then, as in this moment, Presley isn’t a musician desperately trying to devise an entirely new musical experience or be a vastly innovative sounding musician. Nevertheless, since the end of DML and up until For the Recently Found Innocent, due to experimentations in writing, structure and musical production, there have been a number of varyingly interesting moments on his 5 other previous White Fence records. The artistic freedom evident on these albums come through a sort of ‘do it yourself’ audio aesthetic and it is tantamount to this individual’s willingness to take what he knows/likes, digest and then regurgitate it in a variety of different ways - some of which understandably work better than others, but the works as a whole only appear to have benefitted from these often captivating attempts. The creative potential of home or self-recording, when executed properly is clear and very few in recent years, have shown this better than Presley. If one has a purpose and can work towards their own creative vision then now, with available means/technology to do so, why would they employ a producer to confuse the whole process? Professional studios have their uses no question. But there are now other ways of going about the recording process and much of the most interesting music today, seems to be evolving from this and other similar methods.

Tim Presley or White Fence or both, playing live

Tim Presley with (from left to right) Jared, Rob & Will 
from DML

In relative terms, Presley could be described, in the working sense at least, as being prolific. Having written, produced and released the best part of 6 long playing albums in less than 5 years, is by modern day standards very productive. Clearly this would have been seen as being ‘par for the course’ up until the late 80’s/90’s, but since then most bands and popular recording musician’s general output has slowed down significantly. The steady output of White Fence however, coupled with the ever changing line-up (excluding Presley clearly) - in terms of the band used for preforming live, as recording has mainly been Presley himself with some noted additions when required - has made it necessary for Presley to select songs which in many respects cater for the personnel he will be utilising during these processes. He states:  I will say I did choose songs that I thought would fit with that group of people. There's two types of songs for me: [there are] the ones that are a little bit self-indulgent, more experimental, kind of stuff at home; really only I can do that in a way. I didn't really want to bring that to the table. I catered to the tools I had, which were Ty, Nick, and then later, Eric Bauer at his studio. A song where I imagined a crazier drum pattern or something - choosing songs like that.” Also, due to the wealth of material he composes, this idea of selection stretches to deciding what does, doesn’t, and when certain materials are recorded. On the question of producing this wealth of material: “Yeah. It [seems to be] like a therapy session for me every day. I do it every day and night, all day and night, really. I just end up with a bunch of songs. Some are really good, some are bad, but I have a good pool to choose from.”

Presley with producer, collaborator & friend Ty Segall, whilst recording 'For the Recently Found Innocent'

Up until this most recent release, the previous records that Presley has recorded as White Fence have been primarily created, recorded and produced in his little studio at home. But for 2014’s release, he decided to do things differently. Perhaps after working in this way for some time a new and refreshed approach was needed. Discussing this most recent collection of songs and recording them:  they didn't move me in the same way that other home recordings did (…) I knew they were good but they weren't working in that capacity. I don't know what the deal was. It was like my room turned on me." As a result he decided to leave the confines of his home and studio and look to alternative means for getting a more satisfying result. Having previously recorded 2012’s album Hair with this individual, he decided to seek the help, new studio space and production input of his friend and collaborator Ty Segall. Consequently, Segall became the record’s producer and they would use his small studio (one time garage) to record the album in. It might also be fair to suggest, having read a number of accounts regarding the subject, that Segall became something of a ‘motivator’ on this project. He helped raise the mood and spur on the progression of the work when Presley was beginning to lose his inspiration for it.

'Time' from the album 'Hair', by 
White Fence & Ty Segall

The inspirations behind this record were, as ever with Presley, rich and varied. In particular, his Father’s death and background in the military and how this affected his family. He felt as though the loss of his Dad and the grieving process in some way enabled a far greater outpouring of creativity and subsequent amassing of material. “It’s really strange how something like that impacts someone, in a positive way" he explained. 

'And by Always' from the 'Is Growing Faith' Album 

Another idea was to adapt a theme(s) on the album; this time something similar to that which was explored on Is Growing Faith album of 2011. In place of ‘faith’ and the cultivating of it, he tried to suggest that the notion of ‘innocence’ might work in a comparable manner. As a result of this, thinking one might rid themselves of greed, fear, hate, envy and other negative emotions, and therefore allow a certain innocence to blossom. This might supply, particularly a creative soul, with a greater sense of accord and the ability to produce their work in a far more honest way. I guess it’s about trying to understand the darker sides of human nature and finding a kind of contentment in your own situation whatever that may be. The idea that Presley uses his creative calling - music - as a kind of therapy, is a feature that crops up on various occasions. This absolute compulsion to write and compose - even an addiction, as he himself has described it - seems both a way of better understanding the interrelated circumstances that surround us and equally, as a method of escaping them.

- In addition, this contains Presley’s interesting references to addiction in relation to the creation of his music.

'Anger Who Keeps you Under' 

My initial responses to the tracks on For the Recently Found Innocent were positive and largely as I expected them to be. This perhaps quite nicely leads me to one of the principle reasons for this article, which may also go some way towards answering the inevitable question, as to why one would write a retort of sorts, to an album released some five months ago. As I am sure we are all aware, in the modern music industry, reviews are written and published absolutely on release of said material, and in some cases, even before this event. These reviews are frequently principally flawed in my view. I say this because, the reviewer probably makes their mind up on the merits of the record after a single complete listen, as is the nature and time given to the job; and let’s be honest, there is almost certainly an agenda beforehand as to what their respective publications are going to endorse or throw scorn over. This is the ‘Hipster’ environment that for good or bad now affects all aspects of our popular culture today. I fully understand this and don’t believe it will change. It has, to varying degrees, always been this way since the dawning of youth/sub-cultures and associated ‘rebellions’ as we know them to be - I am not even certain how else it could manifest itself either. Nevertheless, I have always felt that it would be more applicable to the actual procedure of fully listening and getting to understand or otherwise, appreciate, hate or become enthralled in a record, to allow this to occur over a period of time; much in the same way that this generally happens with the listener. I think most of us have heard, or have adopted, the statement, “give it time, it’s a grower”, on certain necessary occasions. As I have become more aware of over time, the first response on listening to a record rarely remains the predominant sense after many subsequent listens. How many times of late have I listened to a record, which I enjoy at first but soon become increasingly bored with and in extreme cases, begin to loath (?). As a result of all this, I felt I would use this latest White Fence record as the subject of this piece - largely because I know and have appreciated much of his work previously - and therefore I aim to give a broad view on how I judge the album fits into his larger oeuvre. I recognise that this process of giving a fully considered response to an album, can only ever take place on rare occasions, but ones such as this. 

'Sandra (when the earth dies)'

As I have commented on before, I enjoyed this most recent White Fence record on first hearing it. It seemed to have many of the sounds and musical references found on his other previous examples. The opening track, and title track on the album, is a short little number, just over a minute long in fact, containing a hook that leaves you wishing it were longer. The Recently Found has a droll that introduces the record fairly well. Track two, Anger! Who Keeps You Under, is as you might expect with it being one of the records opening numbers, one of its strongest songs. The production is surprising for a White Fence song. The well-polished nature of it, I feel gives it real commercial appeal, which makes it the perfect foil for track three. Like That is the album’s single. I am not sure if there were any others, but nevertheless it appears precisely in that mould. This song is an unbridled ‘hit’; of that there is no doubt - a quintessential single. It sounds a lot like The Who in their early, three-minute pop making era. On this Presley’s commented: "When I first wrote it I was like, ‘Dude, I just wrote a hit, (…) I was almost embarrassed to record it. I almost threw it away. But Ty was like, ‘What about that song?' So we cut it. It's a weird one." I would agree, as White Fence songs go, this does seem a little strange, but no less catchy for it. Sandra (when the earth dies) follows this and is one of my personal favourites. Again, like much of White Fence’s back catalogue, the British influence on this understated, yet intriguingly familiar song, is abundantly clear. It has a slight Syd Barrett/’Kinksy’ element to it, with a piano section, supplied by Mikal Cronin, another musician from this current L.A music scene. Taking more than a little inspiration from the English music hall sound, this track sounds more Canterbury psychedelia than any delta blues or Americana infused weirdness, as would have been ‘closer to home’, so to speak – and this influence for me is undeniably a good thing too.

'Hey! Roman Nose' from 'Family Perfume vol. 1'

'Balance Your Heart' from 'Family Perfume vol. 1'

'Be At Home' from 'Family Perfume vol. 2'

In my view (and this is all it is clearly), the album begins to show some signs of lethargy from this point. Although the structure and production remain very professional, one begins to suspect that this approach to making the record is in fact stifling it a little and in some instances, has positively smothered it. It therefore starts to become somewhat predictable I feel. The great White Fence double album Family Perfume vol. 1 & 2 (2012) works so well because of the apparent freedom of expression they both exude and how they make you feel as though you can never guess what is coming next – the songs are always surprising but unmistakably White Fence. I sense that that sort of unshackled creative approach is what Presley is so good at. Likewise, after listening to all of Presley’s albums many times, if I were to make the judgement that as pure musical material - i.e. songs alone go - 2013’s Cyclops Reaps is his finest example of this critical source. Therefore, if such an artistic spectrum does exist, at the opposite end of it regrettably has to be this year’s album. There are some really great songs on the record, as I have said. Raven on White Cadillac, Hard Water, Good Bye Law, are some other highlights; with their mixture of Americana, folk and country; as is the classic sounding Presley number, with it’s high energy directness, Arrow Man. This song particularly feels almost as though it could easily have been a Darker My Love track, which I suppose is understandable, but is also something that is hard to find on any of the earlier White Fence releases. 

'Arrow Man'

'Raven on White Cadillac'

It is undoubtedly the fact that this record is a much more accessible body of work and one which has been recorded in a far more conventional manner. The mixing of the final album has obviously taken place on a grander scale and therefore has allowed it to emerge as a more lucid piece. However, for all that this production value brings, I sense that these are the very aspects that have removed some of the appeal for me of a White Fence collection of songs. Perhaps this is just a different approach and another way of going about things. My overriding sense is that, as much as I enjoyed Tim’s previous band Darker My Love, I consider that this record could almost have been one of theirs’. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. I would like to hear another DML album one day and who knows that day might come sooner rather than not. I would rather see that occur, if this is the type of albums Presley intends on making in the foreseeable future anyway. The whole band dynamic often enhances this sort of sound anyway. Conversely, with regards more tangible matters, many of the subtle nuances and vital little details of a White Fence record appear to have been lost on this last album, for one reason or another; even if the predominant sound created has largely stayed intact.

Darker My Love with 'Two Ways Out'

I have tried to be as honest as I can here and unlike most reviews, I have also attempted not to carry any overall agenda. The music made by this individual, I can safely say I know and haven’t just given it a very brief listen to. From all this prior deliberating though, I would like to surmise by saying that after creating five intriguingly powerful, musically individual albums, this current work comes across as being more straightforward in its presented form. In terms of songs, it has a few of Presley’s strongest that is clear as well. I just personally hope that the lo-fi nature and refreshingly different production, which was White Fence and those joyfully bizarre little moments, will emerge yet again on future releases.

- All the quotes in this article have been taken from recent interviews with Presley and concern the release of ‘For the Recently Found Innocent’. These quotes have all been marked and linked to the original source.