Everyone here at the Conning Tower was winding down, lowering the periscope, ready for the traditional English August of drizzle and traffic jams, when a most remarkable thing happened… a new EP from the reclusive guru of mind-training, self help/abuse and prison tattoos, t.r. hand, landed on the desk.
There’s a super-size serving of concept in the EP ‘The Checking’, and in addition to t.r’s trademark washes, sound collages, chops/screws and deep atmospherics, there are spoken vocal readings/recitals from Bonnie J. Currie which give the tracks a whole new focus and impetus. Once again t.r has coerced the Glove of Bones into producing the cover/track art and it is glorious.
After checking that the restraining order was still in place, and that our A&R man’s tetanus jabs were up to date, we set out to get an interview with t.r. hand in a disused warehouse. This is what happened:
SBC: Can you give some explanation of the ideas behind this work and its points of reference?
TRH: Have you been watching One Punch Man on Netflix? It’s like that. If you get an idea, the last thing you should do is grab it and choke the air out of it. Tickle it, ask it questions. Listen, don’t talk.
SBC: There is a running theme in the work, a narrative. How did that come about?
TRH: From a broad suggestion. I didn’t choose it, other than signposting its huge source. I didn’t know the performer, nothing other than ‘some words’ was suggested.
SBC: Did the narrative alter the project?
SBC: Can you explain?
TRH: No. Well, almost no. The grip on the idea wasn’t ever so tight that it couldn’t transform. Everything is transformation. A stick of charcoal in your fingers and a piece of paper. Both ask for transformation. When I received the narrative recordings they changed the project. Pretty much completely. The original project is probably flipping and flapping around somewhere waiting for an oxygen intake. Is that the natural selection of ideas? No idea. The critical thing though is I’d imagined some scattergun / sound bite content. That’s what I was geared up to work with. Bonnie’s work though was so full of understanding of the subject and passionate in it’s presentation, the original idea seemed trivial and it would have been wrong to strip it from it’s context and use little bits from here and there for effect or imposed meaning. I ‘get’ the source but of all the many words in books, this set are the most inviting for the imposition of personal meaning.
SBC: For any readers out there, what is the source?
TRH: They are from the Red Book by Carl Jung. Look it up, it’s not easily summarised. Go with the flow. Pretty sure civilization will come back to it after the apocalypse.
SBC: That isn’t very positive for a self proclaimed Guru?
TRH: Truth hurts, which probably explains the current global collision.
SBC: In your somewhat small public scope, you do use the hashtag #guru. Do you have any reason or explanation of this?
TRH: There’s an underlying, no, overriding sarcasm in that question isn’t there? The ‘Self Help’ industry is on the ascent, most of it is lunacy. It’s all very tribal. So, I’m happy to hit up on a level playing field. I’m pretty much in the peace and love wing, anarchic, left leaning libertarian sect. It’s niche but I’m sure there’s an audience. Albeit briefly.
SBC: Thank you.
TRH: Can I go now?
We are presenting The Checking as a digital download, or as a super-deluxe hardback book/CD package, including 24 pages of Glove of Bones’ designs. Both formats are available from the Bandcamp page.