Mark Gergis (Porest) and Alan Bishop
(Sun City Girls
) have worked together, collaborating in various ways, since they met in 2002. Given their shared aesthetic and methodology – each song a miniature tour around the world, an unpredictable, politicised sound collage – and their similar backgrounds – both come from a Detroit area Middle Eastern families – there is a sense of inevitability about their eventual partnership.
Aside from the tourorism of his Porest moniker, Gergis also engages in sound-fracture via the Bay area group he founded, Mono Pause, and their weird pseudo Southeast Asian incarnation, Neung Phak. And aside from being a founding member of the notorious, indescribable Sun City Girls, Bishop also performs and releases records under the names Alvarius B and Uncle Jim. When an event in Seattle put Mono Pause/Neung Phak and Alvarius B on the same bill, there followed an exchange of ideas that led to recordings and other projects.
An eponymous Neung Phak album appeared on Sun City Girls label Abduction in 2003, and Gergis became a regular and important contributor to Bishop’s pseudo-ethno-muso-punk label Sublime Frequencies.
In the tradition of great ethno musicological and folk preservation organizations such as Smithsonian Folkways and Nonesuch Explorer, Sublime Frequencies collects and compiles samples of far-flung soundscapes, but with an anarchic, DIY, down-to-earth modus-operandi that sets them apart form more academic efforts. All sound sources are valued – street and traffic noise, and random chatter as well as folk and pop music culled from old tapes - nothing is excluded. Preservation is a large and important part of the project, but not its raison d'etre.
Sublime Frequencies doesn’t restrict itself to sound, it also releases DVDs. Gergis and Bishop have also collaborated on a film, the 2006 Sumatran Folk Cinema
. It is a collage of images and sounds from Sumatra, and pre-tsunami Bandah Aceh, a "sound-based ethnographic film" about the island and its multitude of musical styles
Much of the music collected for the label becomes source material for Gergis and Bishop’s sound collage DJ sets, they paste together traditional and pop music, movie dialogue, DJ chatter, field recordings, soap operas, and countless other unidentifiable frequencies. Together they spin the best of their unique collection of international recordings from Asia, India, Africa, the Middle East and beyond creating an aural extra-geography out of this world.
Appearances:> 2009 > STRUCTURES NODE 1: GLOBAL ALCHEMY
> CTM.07 > OPENING CONCERT
> CTM.07 > SUMATRA FOLK CINEMA
> CTM.07 > SUBLIME FREQUENCIES