Flexidisc split with Jodie Mack, GX Jupiter Larsen and John Davis.
1. Jodie Mack "Let Your Light Shine (B Side)"
2. GX Jupiter Larsen "A Noisy Delivery (excerpt)"
1. John Davis "Wild Air Moon (re-processed audio samples culled from Lawrence Jordan's 12-hour film Circus Savage)"
Bay Area experimental film distributor Canyon Cinema once printed an eclectic, photocopied newsletter that was described by the Stanford Archives as "the main organ of the independent filmmaking community." Abandoned due to lack of resources, the demise of the Canyon Cinema News left a hole in the Bay Area experimental film and art scene.
The purpose of this zine is to reignite the discussion of underground and independent film/video practice and theory, putting artists in the Bay Area in dialogue with the greater experimental community. Dominic Angerame christened our zine the "Canyon Cinemazine," hoping it would carry on the experimental and community-oriented tradition of the Cinema News. Drawing inspiration from mail art and ephemeral media, the Canyon Cinemazine harkens back to the days of typewriter correspondences between avant-garde artists in the 1960s.
Produced and edited by Courtney Fellion.
Produced by Bay Area filmmaker and sound artist John Davis in conjunction with a fellowship and residency at the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley CA, this limited edition publication of 100 includes a hand-silkscreened gatefold with two LP's and four DVDs of original film and music, plus a 50-page booklet of writing and images bound in a hand letterpressed cover. The project was conceived to publicly showcase emerging and established strains of expanded cinema and music collaboration in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as to create a physical document that captures that energy.
Although commissioned as pairs (Craig Baldwin with Maggi Payne; Paul Clipson with Tashi Wada; Lawrence Jordan with John Davis; Kerry Laitala with Ashley Bellouin & Ben Bracken), the edition is designed so the works can be experienced interchangeably. This encourages a matrix of possibilities, but also emphasizes the element of chance tied directly to live cinema and music performance (dropping the needle on the record and hitting "Play" on the DVD player will always result in a different event).
Craig Baldwin: Time Bomb (16mm film on DVD), Maggi Payne: Black Ice/Static (Music), Paul Clipson: Trajections (16mm film on DVD), Tashi Wada: Duet Takes: 1. Duet (Take 2), 2. Duet (Take 4) (Music), Lawrence Jordan: Driving Demons (16mm film on DVD), John Davis: Strategy of Belief (Music).
Performances at The Kala Art Institute:
7/5/2014 - Jeremy Rourke, Mary Helena Clark with Andy Roche, Jim Haynes, Kerry Laitala with Ashley Bellouin & Ben Bracken.
7/12/2014 - Mark Wilson with Marielle Jakobsons, Andy Puls, Keith Evans, Lawrence Jordan with John Davis.
7/19/2014 - Zach Iannazzi, Thad Povey & Mark Taylor, Steve Dye with Anthony Iamurri, Paul Clipson with Ben Bracken performing Tahi Wada's Duet Takes.
7/26/2014 - Chris Duncan, Beige, Tooth with Collin McKelvey, Craig Baldwin with Maggi Payne.
Music mastered by James Plotkin.
Students of Decay - SOD 101, 12" Vinyl LP, 2013. "Hailing from Northern California, John Davis is a sound artist, composer and filmmaker who has released music on labels such as Root Strata and Digitalis. With "Ask the Dust," he offers up a moving suite of compositions made using a plethora of instrumentation including guitar, piano, tape loops, Max/MSP, field recordings and the newest addition to his arsenal, a complex assortment of Blacet synthesizer modules. Davis uses the synth not as the crux of his recordings but as a tool among many in his kit, weaving oscillations and mangled or rhythmic tones through pastoral webs of processed guitar and field recordings. To this end, the richness of his palette cannot be denied, nor can his prowess as a masterful arranger of abstract sound. "Superpartner" opens the record, a jittery array of pure sound that refuses to sit still, developing slowly and accruing detail and a sparring partner in the form of delicately treated acoustic guitar. Perhaps the record's defining movement, "Synecdoche," begins with a contemplative, and even romantic, piano arrangement, sparse and beautiful - a moving miniature that is abruptly broken apart and replaced by a bed of layered sine waves and guitar haze which somehow matches the radiance of what preceded it. Striking in its attention to detail and compositional deftness, "Ask the Dust" is easily Davis' most refined set of recordings to date, a deep album that rewards focused and repeated listening". - SOD
Little Paper Planes - LPP 12, 7" Vinyl Record and Book, 2013, edition of 100. Processed phonography taken from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. side A by Collin McKelvey, side B by John Davis. Record was included in the book Episteme published by Little Paper Planes.
Peasant Magik - PM106, Cassette, 2010, edition of 100. "50 minutes of expertly composed and thoughtfully paced guitar and synth workouts. A true master of craft. Davis takes the simplest ideas and sculpts them into the most moving pieces I have had the pleasure of releasing. Essential listening." - PM
Root Strata - RS71, DVD, 2010. A document of a live set from the On Land festival in San Francisco, September 2009. Home solarized Super8 film shot by Davis in the placid green places of Northern California, with music by both John and Maxwell August Croy (1/2 En). The Duo's lush soundtrack is bowed, scraped and plucked out on koto, electric guitar and other electronic detritus. Covers designed and silk-screened by Chris Thorson. Edition of 120 silk screen on chipboard Carlos Pack.
Digitalis Ltd. - Ltd. #67, Cassette, 2009, edition of 90 pro-dubbed cassettes housed in hand-stamped 'pillow boxes'. Two thirty minute sides featuring guitar, kantale, accordion, field recordings and tape loops.
Students of Decay - SOD 079, CD-R, 2009, edition of 100 5" CD's with five-color silkscreened covers by Chris Thorson. Features twelve tracks utilizing electric guitar, tape loops and field recordings.
Root Strata - RS33, CD, 2008. "The Gold Hooped Nature" is the debut long player by California dreamer John Davis. Picking up where his 3" CD-R 'At Home And Afeild' left off, this disc is a scenic set of audio drift that easily zigzags dense passages of analog crunch as well as blank vistas of crystalline tones via guitars, found sounds, contact microphones, tape speed oscillations, field recordings and a small battery of effects. John's study as a Filmmaker and Photographer definitely plays some roll here, with any number of landscapes (real or imagined, inner or outer) being brought to mind. Way less head than heart though, with plenty of these tracks dipped in a romantic glaze that betrays any tendency to over conceptualize drone / ambient / whatever music. It's more wide-eyed sunset, lost west coast stargazing than that. And we suspect the endless Midwest horizons of John's youth are in there as well." - RS
Root Strata - RS12, CD-R, 2006. Ed. 50. Packaged in a hand-screened naturalist's display case, a small brown cardboard box, with a leaf and butterfly motif screened in blue ink on the top (by local artist Chris Thorson). Inside, a hand sewn mini booklet, detailing the study of nature and the steps to getting your own recordings, and most impressive of all, nestled on a soft bed of billowy white cotton, an actual piezo contact microphone. A beautiful object on its own, but as the included note suggests, the mic may be used to make your own field recordings. Two tracks featuring tape loops and instruments home-baked with various forms of reverie. Cover art by Chris Thorson.
Root Strata RS6, CD-R, 2005. Ed. 50. "Instructional Sculpture for Children" Is a half hour soundtrack to a recent video work by John, and is composed of unprocessed contact mic recordings from the San Francisco Exploratorium. Subtly mixing these with home made electronic drone waves, John's CD is a beautiful pastel like dreamscape full of vibrating creatures and small explosions." - RS