Now this is a really nice thing that happened and I’m delighted to get to talk about it.
After the Karnabal Festival in Manila, Jordan Prosser and I headed to the island of Palawan in the western Philippines to spend a few days being tourists and generally skulking about. I was a bit of a wreck by that point, unfortunately, a little too ragged and wrung out after the chaos of May. Jordan generously organised all the logistics, and I did nothing except fall asleep on his shoulder in the plane to El Nido.
While we were spending the week sea kayaking, snorkelling and gathering our heads, we recorded a cluster of new spoken word pieces. Again, all at Jordan’s prompting – I was a total passenger in this regard, just scribbling my pieces and mumbling them into the recorder while Jordan recorded, edited and gathered a collection of found sounds.
In the end, we had a body of material that was too much for one release, and rather than overload it with words, we made the decision to break it up into two EPs, which allowed Jordan to space out the poetry with a selection of field recordings.
The next phase was that I went through my folders and pulled out a whole bunch of unreleased Fossil Rabbit material from a few years ago. The advantage of being Chris Finnigan’s brother is that I get access to a whole heap of his recordings that no-one else has heard, and so we snagged Chris’ permission to use some songs from his unreleased 2010 demo EP.
Jordan stitched the two EPs together, and the result ended up being unexpectedly lovely. What I realised listening to them is that in order to digest spoken word, you need room – which Jordan allowed. And so you don’t feel like you’re being bombarded, you can actually take the words on board when they come.
The centrepiece of the first EP is The Comfort of Facts, a poem which Jordan half-wrote then invited me to collaborate on. It’s a really nice piece about the vastness of the world (and how little that really matters to any of us) and when we finally recorded it (in Kuala Lumpur airport just before he sprinted off to catch his flight to Melbourne) it felt like the perfect keystone for that collection. My love letter Hey Sam Hey Georgie (to the other half of Too Many Weapons) is a messy but well-meaning piece, and Jordan’s Mid-Air Collision and Devil’s Canyon poems are both beautiful and eerie as hell.
The second EP features a song that Jordan wrote and recorded entitled Softly Softly (because he’s a goddamn triple-threat, thank christ he can’t dance), and MH370, the poem he wrote in response to the vanished Malaysian airlines flight, has a strange Picnic at Hanging Rock vibe. The centrepiece on this EP was my What Are The Things That You Think, which is a piece I don’t remember writing, but which I infer was scribbled down at 4am one night last winter. I don’t know any more than that, but it’s a pretty accurate cross-section of the stuff that passes through my brain most days and nights.
Finally, to close the second EP, Jordan suggested we draw out a recording he had from the Karnabal Festival International Platform showing, where Japanese playwright and theatre-maker Natsuki Ishigami was speaking about her collaboration with Andrew Cruz and Anino Shadowplay. So that beautiful sample (‘I’m lucky… I’m honoured…’) closes the record, accompanied by Chris’ track Lakeside.
I don’t know if these pieces will be in any way your jam, I just felt like here we came close to getting something right, you know?