WILL GUTHRIE

2003 - 'Hills Hoist' w/ Greg Kingston, miniCDR - (antboy-02), 2003 - Melbourne

GREG KINGSTON-guitar & toys
WILL GUTHRIE-percussion & electronics

Greg Kingston, King Gregston ...
It's hard to imagine another festival as eclectic, exciting and extreme as What Is Music? I'm not sure if it is age, nostalgia, whatever, but many of the performances I saw at the What Is Music? festival rest in my mind as some of the most extreme, strange and disturbing I have ever seen.
It is where I first encountered Greg Kingston, a gem from Hobart Tasmania who lived in the UK in the late 80's early 90's and played with the likes of Derek Bailey, Tony Bevan and Matt Lewis.

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"Hobart is one of the less obvious centres in the world for improv, but Greg Kingston’s interest in the guitar and improvising led him to follow the familiar path of many musicians exploring the geographies of the phonograph. Seeing Jon Rose play in 1980, he was inspired to pursue a career of obscurity and occasional gigs. ‘I needed to go and listen, meet and play with other players’,(21) he remembers, and so in 1985 he relocated with his family to the UK, playing with Derek Bailey, who was ‘too much of a mentor’, releasing Original Gravity (CD, Incus, Incus 003, 1988) with UK artists Tony Bevan (sax) and Matt Lewis (percussion) on Bailey’s own label. Despite many successes, Kingston couldn’t sustain the family, moving back to Tasmania in the early 1990s. Since then he has made occasional mainland forays and was a stalwart of What is Music? throughout the 1990s.

Hills Hoist (CD, Antboy, antboy02), a duo with percussionist Will Guthrie recorded at The Make It Up Club in Melbourne in July 2002, documents his hard-edged, solid-body guitar playing of recent years. This is gestural music – Kingston has a physicality that is wonderfully unique. Phraseology is short, often violent, although the overall feel of the music is whimsical. Toys and the use of a radio bring about moments of irony and lightness. Interestingly, Guthrie’s releases after this move away from this approach. His Building Blocks (CD, Antboy, antboy04, 2003) has none of this short phrasing; instead, long blocks of sound are layered, and mechanical gesture replaces corporeal gesture. Greg Kingston remains an isolated figure. For months at a time he has no activity in music, and it is criminal that his career hasn’t been better documented with releases. He admits ‘staying with it is difficult’.(22) Perhaps because of this isolation he has produced music unhindered by the vicissitudes of fashion."

Experimental music : audio explorations in Australia
Chapter 7: Networks, playfulness and collectivity: Improv in Australia, 1972 -2007
by Jim Denley - edited by Gail Priest (UNSW Press; Sydney)