albums : max eastley / david toop


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David Toop & Max Eastley at ICC

All titles composed by Max Eastley and David Toop - 2003

Recorded and mixed by David Toop @the bathosphere

Max Eastley: mechanical and whirling instruments, sculptures, bowed Arc, percussives, abrasives, Purple Ray Vitalator, insectoids, weather, computer.

David Toop: computer, guitars, flutes, tubes, organic matter, book pages, dog whistles, percussives.

No living creatures or actual landscapes were used, harmed or destroyed during the making of this recording

doll creature
(Bleep 25)

Doll Creatureis the third album release in thirty years by sound sculptor/musician Max Eastley and composer, author and sound curator David Toop. Their first record together, New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments, was released in 1975 on Brian Eno’s Obscure label; their second, Buried Dreams, released in 1994 on Beyond, was voted third placed album of the year, behind Portishead and Massive Attack in the 1994 Wire critics’ poll, and described in Melody Maker as ‘The scariest ambient record ever. An album beyond your disturbed imagination.’

Doll Creature is a further exploration of the mysterious zones in which Eastley’s mechanical sound sculptures, instruments with a life of their own, are transformed within the computer by David Toop’s additions and manipulations. The spatial dimension has changed again from the first two albums, being even more a marker of the differences between human and machine actions, computer space and physical space. The cover image shows a little doll who lost his way, then found himself in a halfway state between doll and child, wandering through a post-apocalyptic landscape. His body is bulky enough but those arms and arms need more than one dinner. His outlook is positive. At least he has the boots for the job.

Minoru Hatanaka, curator at Tokyo’s ICC, has written these notes about Eastley and Toop: ‘By creating maps of sound as performance in Toop's terms, they are trying to create a mysterious imaginative landscape through sound, a narrative that takes form within our emotions through the unvisualizable phenomenon of sound. When the delicate micromotions woven out of the highly minimal movements of Eastley's whirling sound machine evoke further images and beckon us into that narrative we are likely to find animistic emotions awakened somewhere inside our memory.’

More information about the artists can be found at:

See Doll Creature t-shirt at

1. mouthful of silence  
2. eyelash turned inwards  
3. bandaged moments
4. cardiomancy
5. nights, demixed, circles
6. flooded garden
7. three sand voices
8. moth cinema
9. metamorphoses of tabanus bovinis
10. green silence
11. dust of points  
12. graphite in prussic
13. inscription on skin  
14. iris, swimmer, dreamless  
15. vital flow meters
total time : 57:34



Doll Creature drags his feet through salt marsh and leaf fall, skrikkk . . . skriikh, calligraphic tracks unfolding in his wake, blown into broken lines by harsh winds from the north. Seasons tick, sun falling like a slow fire bomb, moon rising as a ghost. In the reflection of a glass eye, landscapes roll out their scrolls of secret text. The scratching stops, suspended in a frozen moment. He puzzles over the marks before him, signs made from moss, rock and steam, then hobbles on. This gloomy space is flooded. His ears are soaked in submarine calls, the amphibious dwellers of two worlds. Boots thresh through floating roots. Nothing is alive yet the air crackles with life.
A suggestive darkness of great spaces and dead lamps gathers in stealth. Hunting light, leopard moths and owl moths envelop his head, wing beats pressurising his personal air space, tipping him off balance. He purses bee sting lips, blows gently, issuing high frequency whistles. Moths disperse, dust floating in formless clouds. In sunlit hours, yellow billed jacamars intercept butterflies in their slow flapping dance, the vivid wings hanging in bright rags from beaks too small to finish an entire meal in one sitting. Doll Creature stares, fascinated, asks himself a question. Is he a she?
Now torrid summer, she churns through swamp mud suction, swatting dizzy circle trails of micro nits. Entities stir in every hidden place, their choking breath rolling around the edges of her chaotic tumbling progress. Stillness falls, chopped and punched by the coarse drum talk of barking toads, bwuark . . . bwuaark . . . bwuark. Swollen like puffer fish, gross as cannon balls, they drop into thick muck and close the shutters.
Dry follows, fetid liquidity soaking into the granular flats, where heat vacuums every drop of moisture from her throat. As if the gods were turning the pages of parched old books, cracking snaps the sky. Oppressed by a fear of being shrivelled in this desiccated loneliness, she croaks out her word: Mummaa, Mummaa. Sand voices whisper in reply, yet the whisperers have no discernable form.
Doll Creature emerges onto flat rock, overlooking the ocean. Out at sea she hears aether music, flutes of the never-living, the dreamless swimmers. Rising up from the deeps, their emphysema gasps merge with grindings and drones of unknown provenance, echoing among mountain valleys far down in the sightless abyss where sharks lie in sleep. Machines were dumped overboard, a historical event, long forgotten.
Rocks tumble, disturbed by her sliding gait. She kicks at stones, scraping at the green silence. Thunder echoes and decays in the granite chambers below. Scattered, shattered, Doll Creature strokes brush lines in fine dust, kssst . . . kssst; hears music in the sliding of a coral snake. Her hands and arms are open, inviting the world. She lies face down in low water, deliberately inviting the attentions of electric eels.
A flash, in the peripheral distance, illusion perhaps but a glimpse of naked women, carrying firewood and babies, quickly dipping out of sight into tree shade. Dressed in bandage wrapping and the ragged leavings of synthetic flesh, Doll Creature holds still, the little beggar caught in her guilt. Her eyes cast from side to side. All around her, epiphytes, rhizomatous creepers and aquatic hyacinths thrive, as if solid roots have lost their purpose. Waxy perfumes colour the heavy air.
Now there is no sex, no gender, only a join at the crotch. War stripped life bare. Homer’s vultures circle high above. Experiments with natural electricity resolve nothing. Doll Creature moves forward again, pushing through skin cutter winds that carry unspoken memories, suicide thoughts, fragmented souls. Tundra, taiga, wetlands, lowlands, glacier, thief. Robbed of thought, Doll Creature sinks into the glamour of the snow. After three months, the white softness washes itself into clean nothingness. Crepitatious joints iced in stasis, Doll Creature is the new monument, silhouetted against a graphite sky.
David Toop

David Toop

Born near London in 1949, David Toop is a musician, writer and sound curator. He has published three books, currently translated into six languages: Rap Attack (now in its third edition), Ocean of Sound, and Exotica (selected as a winner of the 21st annual American Books Awards for 2000). His first album, New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments, was released on Brian Eno's Obscure label in 1975; since 1995 he has released six solo albums - Screen Ceremonies, Pink Noir, Spirit World, Museum of Fruit, Hot Pants Idol and 37th Floor At Sunset: Music For Mondophrenetic - and curated five acclaimed CD compilations for Virgin Records - Ocean of Sound, Crooning On Venus, Sugar & Poison, Booming On Pluto and Guitars On Mars.

In 1998 he composed the soundtrack for Acqua Matrix, the outdoor spectacular that closed every night of Lisbon Expo '98 from May until September. He has recorded shamanistic ceremonies in Amazonas, appeared on Top Of The Pops with the Flying Lizards, worked with musicians including Brian Eno, John Zorn, Prince Far I, Jon Hassell, Derek Bailey, Talvin Singh, Evan Parker, Max Eastley, Scanner, Ivor Cutler, Haruomi Hosono, Akio Suzuki, Jin Hi Kim and Bill Laswell, and collaborated with artists from many other disciplines, including theatre director/actor Steven Berkoff, Japanese Butoh dancer Mitsutaka Ishii, sound poet Bob Cobbing visual artist John Latham, filmmaker Jae-eun Choi and author Jeff Noon.
As a critic and columnist he has written for many publications, including The Wire, The Face, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Arena, Vogue, Spin, GQ, Bookforum, Urb, Black Book, The New York Times and The Village Voice. He has curated Sonic Boom, the UK's largest ever exhibition of sound art, displayed at the Hayward Gallery, London, from April to June, 2000. In 2001-02 he was sound curator for Radical Fashion, an exhibition of work by designers including Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, Martin Margiela and Hussein Chalayan, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2001-2002 and featuring music by Björk, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Akira Rabelais, Paul Schütze and others.

Other recent projects include the composition of a soundtrack for Mondophrenetic, a CD-ROM installation created in Belgium and exhibited in Brussels and Santiago, and 'Needle In the Groove', a collaborative album with novelist Jeff Noon, released on Scanner's Sulphur label in May 2000. In January 2000 he exhibited the sound installation 'Dreaming of Inscription On Skin' with Max Eastley at ICC in Tokyo; in April 2001 he created sound collages for the Hayward Gallery's Brassai exhibition; in June 2002 his Ocean Volumes installation was exhibited in the WAV festival in Bruges, Belgium; in 2001/2002 he curated a double CD of English experimental music for the Leonardo Music Journal issue, Not Necessarily English Music, published by MIT. Siren Space, his composition for tug boats, electronics, text and the solo saxophone of Lol Coxhill, was performed on the River Thames as the climax of the Thames Festival in 2002.

Currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Sound Department of the London Institute, he has recently completed a new book - Haunted Weather: Resonant Spaces, Silence and Memory - published by Serpent's Tail in April, 2004.

Haunted Weather

To check his more ancient books :
Ocean Of Sound
Rap Attack 3

David Toop

Max Eastley