"The feel remains deeply homemade, with analogue synths, primitive drum machines, hi-jacked electronics, tape loops and a boatload of effects, combined with sad assemblages that cross moments of documentary-style field recordings with beautiful processionals that recall the more austere Ambient works of Asmus Tietchens and Klaus Schulze. Other parts are a little more schlocky, like music for a 1960s BBC sci-fi serial, but even here there's something supremely melancholy about the lonesome play of analogue codes around little signs of synthesized melody."
-David Keenan, The Wire
Electronic sound exploration probably doesn't get any more hermetically personal than the work of Omit, a mysterious figure who has been transmitting cryptic audible missives to us since the 1980s. Filled with harsh beauty, melancholic austerity, and a deep understanding of the organically creative potential of technological failure, Omit's recordings evoke the colder reaches of the universe and Kafka-esque industrial alienation, filtered through a glacial sensibility which is private, enclosed, and self-generating, much like the all-encompassing graphic-linguistic-sonic packages which comprise the releases themselves - they can sound like lost electronic / concrete experiments of the early decades of the 20th century, outtakes from the colder sessions of Krautrock minimalism, or missives from some obsolete vision of the future. It's a mystery which hasn't been at all dispelled by the gradual coming-in-from-the-cold of Clinton Williams, the person behind the persona, in a series of recent live appearances, although it is perhaps helpful to know that Williams' notion of the sonic object, and sound in general, was largely shaped by growing up in a provincial New Zealand where lack of knowledge of sound as a live, performed medium necessitated more hands-on obsessive and imaginative appreciations, via record collecting, the awareness of small mail order labels, and fine tuning the ear to the detritus of consumer technologies - those things that other people throw away. As he himself says : "I can get clicky noises out of almost anything."
Avant Gardening's Sally Ann McIntyre and Campbell Walker took the time to visit Clinton in his hotel room during the artist's recent Dunedin sojourn, organised via the distributed networks of the Audio Foundation's Alt Music series, and talked to him at length about the nebulous entity that is Omit, making noise in the New Zealand provinces, ignoring technological fashions, why doing electronics is like gardening, the distinction between hardware / software and live / studio modalities, why mixers are "designed wrong", the importance of the 'shake test', tape music culture in the 1990s, the importance of graphics, and why he's not a 'musician'. Join us tonight on Radio One, where you will also hear rare and unavailable selections from the Omit back catalogue, ranging from the obsessively worked multimedia zine-structures of the earliest tapes, passing through the collaborations with Bruce Russell and K Group, to the most recent releases on his own label Deepskin Conceptual Mindmusic, as well as a few bootleg live recordings.
1. Omit, 'Failer', from Transistor Rhythms (Transformations for the TR606), Deepskin Conceptual Mind Music, 2011
2. Omit, 'Second Divider', from Quad, Corpus Hermeticum, 1997
3. Omit, '8:30pm', from Quad, Corpus Hermeticum, 1997
4. Omit, 'The First Self-Less Reflection', from Quad, Corpus Hermeticum, 1997
5. Interview with Clinton Williams, recorded in Dunedin, Saturday 19th November 2011 [backed with 'Rundowns Type Three', from Rundowns, 1995, 'Turner' from Transistor Rhythms, 2011, and HorZtial Tracking SySyem, from Interceptor, 2005]
6. Dust/Omit, 'Black Shaft Depletion', from Deformed, Corpus Hermeticum, 1996
7. K-Group/Omit, 'Format', from Storage, 2001
8. K-Group/Omit, 'Flow & Strain', from Storage, 2001
9. Omit, 'Quarter to 12 on a Saturday Night', 1989 from Intromit, 1993
10. Omit, 'Small Angry Insect', 1988, from Intromit, 1993
11. Omit, 'The Repetitive Industrial Nightmare', 1989, from Intromit, 1993
12. Omit, 'OutPut Bender / Sideband / Transmitter LoGGer', from Interceptor, 2005
13. Omit, 'Signals' (pts. 1 & 2), from Signals (excerpts), 1990
14. excerpt from live set at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, November 2011
15. Omit, 'Bloated Swollen Liquid Vessels', from Fluid, 1992
16. Omit, 'Rejector', from Rejector, 2002
17. Omit, 'The Misrepresentation / Defusing the Infection of Control / The Beginning of Compression Amplified', from Transmogrifications, 1993
18. Omit, 'Din Shader / Slip Link', from Tracer, 2003
19. Omit, 'Solitary Disembarkment' from Interior Desolation, 1999