STM 242 - Object Collection

Brooklyn based artist Travis Just of Object Collection performance group

Photo credits: Chris Verene

Travis Just of experimental opera group Object Collection records a mix exploring impulsive creativity and the human voice in all its unfettered variations.


Travis Just is an NYC composer and musician - one of the minds behind the Object Collection project (his main collaborator being writer Kara Feely). Object Collection functions at a rarely - if ever - visited junction where, among other things, operatic performances animate the subtexts and contexts of experimental music, such as free jazz, punk rock and noise. A good case in point is their upcoming opera-in-suspension, It’s All True, which is due to see its US premiere at La MaMa in NYC on February 8-25, 2018. The opera has already captured the attention of a number of important publications, such as The Guardian, The Wire, Vice and others for its truly curious contents. Just and Feely’s latest creation is based on the 1987-2002 Live Archive series of the legendary punk outfit Fugazi. As anyone who has had the experience of going to a ‘real’ punk gig will tell you, the actual tracks add up to half the fun at the best of times, the rest consisting of dramatic introductions, fiery activist speeches, drunken heckles and all other discourse floating between the beer and sweat-soaked graffiti. It’s All True aims to provide an interpretation of that other side, not the music but the spirit of a band and subculture. Here you can get the stunning main audio of the Fugazi opera and bonus tracks both released by Slip Discs.

Secret Thirteen Mix 242 is different, special in the ephemeral fragility of its research into language, the human voice and creativity. Great use is made of juxtaposition to draw the contours for a geography of the voice - emotionless to hyper-emotional, inhuman to beyond-human, chants to coughs to hysterical laughs and much more inbetween. Travis is a jazz composer in a wider sense, and this could be considered a jazz mix in that it documents moments of pure human creativity, unadultered by convention or timid retraint - something also intimated by Sun Ra in an interview that constructs a vague narrative around the different parts of the mix. This recording feels a lot like a peek into the backroom or the rehearsal. As a matter of fact, many of the ‘tracks’ in this celebration of imperfection are live excerpts, unreleased recordings, parts of interviews and so on. This forms an interesting link between the diverse pieces in Travis’ mix and serves as a great representation of the Object Collection ethos as well as his own outlook. To pick a piece of art to accompany this particular compilation is both easy and hard, because of its diversity, but perhaps Enrico Baj’s La Cravatta Rossa grasps the spirit fairly well. After all, the cravatta isn’t even rossa, but why second guess the whims of an artist?

Artist comment

A variety of voices - affectless yelling (Parkinson/Saunders), 11 year old falsetto (Jackson 5), robot Kurt Schwitters, extreme metal muttering over circuit bending power-thrash, perfect filmic theatricality (Jacques Rivette), incompetent messes of covers (The Replacements), perplexed audience-baiting (Fugazi), gender-bent funk (Prince’s female alter-ego), trance howling with Ramones downstrokes (Jennifer Walshe), cassette action-performance (Stuart Sherman), glorious tape-distortion (The Fall), rehearsal-process-as-music (Thelonious Monk), completely improvised band-skronk (Historically Fucked), endtimes paranoia with faulty electronics (Devo), poetic incantation with extreme audience hostility (Christopher Knowles and Robert Wilson), aimless group-chatter (Object Collection), outside-of-language language (Richard Foreman), ever-present quiet hysteria (Robert Ashley).


1. Richard Foreman - [private recording, 2016] 2. Sun Ra - interview [Pacifica Radio, 1987]
3. Parkinson/Saunders - nanananana [BBC Radio Broadcast, 2017]
4. Jackson 5 - La-La (Means I Love You) [Motown, 1970]
5. André Cormier - Ursonate, by Kurt Schwitters (scherzo) [, 2006]
6. Idiot Switch featuring Alex von Bolzen - untitled [unreleased, 2009]
7. Jacque Rivette (performers: Michael Lonsdale, Christiane Corthay, Sylvain Corthay) - excerpt from OUT 1 [1970]
8. Sun Ra - interview [ibid.]
9. The Replacements - Misty Mountain Hop/Heartbreaker [TwinTone, 1985]
10. rehearsal space rattle
11. Sun Ra - interview [ibid.]
12. Fugazi - Encore [Dischord, 1995]
13. Prince (as Camille) - Rebirth of the Flesh [Warner Brothers, 1986]
14. Jennifer Walshe - The Geometry [unreleased, 2011]
15. Stuart Sherman - Twelfth Spectacle (Language), excerpt [Electronic Arts Intermix, 1980]
16. Richard Foreman - interview [ibid.]
17. The Fall - Hey! Fascist [Cog Sinister, 1977]
18. Sun Ra - interview [ibid.]
19. Thelonious Monk - I Should Care (rehearsal take) [Riverside, 1957]
20. Historically Fucked - Edge in Hogged Dog-Hdog [Heavy Petting Time, 2017]
21. Travis Just - some high droney thing [unreleased, ????]
22. Sun Ra - interview [ibid.]
23. Devo - Too Much Paranoias [Rykodisc, 1977]
24. Christopher Knowles and Robert Wilson, from A Letter to Queen Victoria: The Sundance Kid is Beautiful [Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, 1975]
25. Object Collection - L-shaped, not more than seven feet high. (Kara listening) [Object Collection, 2006]
26. Richard Foreman - Lava (excerpt) [1989]
27. Object Collection - Robert Ashley’s Automatic Writing (live excerpt) [unreleased, 2011]

About Author

Tadas Švenčionis is a Secret Thirteen editor and journalist. He organizes the occasional event in Lithuania and is obsessed with the harsh, the sad, the delirious, and the political.

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