The Living Room Tapes

by Life Garden

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Life Garden was formed in late 1989 with George Dillon, Su Ling and myself, W.David Oliphant (wdo). The three of us previously worked together as The Amnesia Quartet in 1987 performing live and produced an unreleased Lp. AQ disbanded early 1988 as Su Ling and I adjusted to becoming parents and I filled my head. with a bunch of distracting cosmic nonsense. After some time we began having Sunday BBQ’s together with George and a few freinds. Since noise making was our natural form of interaction we began ‘jamming’ together evolving into the first LG line up heard on ‘Tapestry’. George passed away unexpectedly from natural causes in March of 1991 silencing a brilliant creative mind and ending the more song structured oriented phase of LG.

At the time of his passing we had already begun the sonic migration towards an all acoustic input with digital manipulations and loops approach. The Living Room Tapes (LRT) documents this process prior to the addition of Peter Ragan and Bil Yanok later that same year (1991) and closes with excerpts from the last 2 LG performances in 1998. This tape is for me a small closure to the project. Each prior cd release was originally under the loose direction of one member at that time, LRT is focused on Su Lings influences in retrospect.


released July 24, 2017

The Living Room Tapes
Side 1
Track 1.
This begins with the first field recordings from an enclosed racquetball court from 9-1989 with George, Su ling and wdo. This recording continues and has several excerpts from 11-1989 mixed in to the end. These were mostly acoustic instruments digitally modified and looped and was the same process used for the 2nd phase of LG to come in 1991.

Tracks 2, 3, 4 and Side 2 Track 1
are all from 6-1991. For several months after George’s passing Su Ling and I worked on this new all acoustic LG, these tracks represent the results of that development just prior to Peter Ragan (percussion) and soon after, Bil Yanok (misc instruments, perc and voice) joined in to complete the 2nd phase line up.

Side 2 Track 2.
Live performance at Metropophobobia Su Ling and wdo duet 1994.

Track 3.
Live performance final duet Su Ling and wdo (mixed excerpts) late 1997.

Track 4.
Final two LG performances (excepts, as played) 1998. The first 15 mins leading into the ‘music box’ segue is from early 1998, the music box is from 1991 at George’s memorial, and closes with LG’s last performance 12-1998.

During last summer’s archiving (2016) I realized that I had never listened the live recordings from 1995-1998 of which there is about 30 hours. This was the 3rd phase of LG and except for the final track here has remained unreleased. This third line up included the migration from a small apartments worth of furniture (instruments) to sampling these and making use of the new technologies of the time. At least the ones we could afford. Side 2 Track 4 represents this last phase with 2 final unmodified (except for fade in and out) live performances. The last few minutes evokes a feeling in me, as a listener, that fluctuates between a deep and inspired longing for an unknown lost or forgotten something, and a complete singular invincibility. That, for me, is Life Garden in a single thought.
wdo- March 2017
cover art by Su Ling



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