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Justice Yeldham's 20th Anniversary of the glass show

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My glass journey started on January 11th 2003 at Lanfranchis Memorial Discotheque’s, (a Sydney DIY space some friends and I had set up). While sound checking I noticed a pane of broken glass in the corner and instinctively detached my mic from the garden tool I planned to perform, popping it instead onto the shard. In the next moment, as I pursed my lips against the glass’s edge for the first time, hearing it’s clarity, I had a revelation, I found my instrument. Then and there I decided to commit singularly to glass, refine it, perfect it, push it technically, through vocal technique and hardware augmentation, to discover everything possible with it.

It took time to get to this point, what started as rudimentary turntable experiments in my teenage bedroom fifteen years earlier culminated in that moment. The glass, somehow evolving from the time I first drilled a hole into a record, an act that matured further in the early 90’s cutting my teeth performing live-to-air on Radio Skid Row. For these free-form broadcasts I primarily worked with discarded turntables, snapping off tonearms from any decks I found on the street. I’d then Repurpose their cartridges into pick-ups, with sewing machine needles stuck in them, which had better durability than a normal stylus. I used these in contraptions like my stylus glove which had a needle on each finger, and my posable wire tonearms, which I’d use to form things like an elaborate looping delay lines with multiple needles all in a row playing a single groove like a centipede.

By the mid 90’s I started to play live and began developing my ultra-turntablism, where I connected these cartridge pick-ups to skewers, knives, swords, springs etc, to form handheld styli I’d perform on high powered motorised 2000rpm+ decks sporting an array of spinning textures. Besides records I’d spin things like cymbals, grinding stones, circular saw blades, anything round really that could be used to perform what only can be described as scrape percussion, where the sticks themselves were amplified rather than your standard miced-up percussion. Then finally during my first overseas tour in 97 due to frustration with some lackluster motors I had picked up in Osaka (couldn’t travel with original rig) something special happened. Every time I’d attempted to play, the friction would cause the motors to slow or stop! So, in desperation to make some noise, any noise I put the turkey skewers I was touring with into my mouth and vibrated them instead with my lips. This was another hallelujah moment for me, the realization I could send vibration through these crude interfaces using my mouth was musically liberating. The technique provided the purest transfer of thought to sound imaginable. The skewers and knives and now the glass they evolved into allowed for the ecstatic performances that followed, the material providing the conduit, needed for focused interaction with the din it created, where my anxiety, the audience, the glass and the space itself collided in a string of shows that became legend.

Now after twenty years of playing glass I’m planning a series of celebratory performances around the world starting on its anniversary the 1tth January 2023 at a warehouse venue in Sydney not far from where in all began. For the show I’ll be performing both the original mono pedal belt set up and the current quadraphonic modular version of the show to illustrate the profound journey I’ve taken with this unlikely and sometimes misunderstood instrument.

I do hope you can come

Lucas Granpa Abela

RAFFLE!!!! all purchased tix holders go into the running to win a master (no other copies will be made) recording of the two sets recorded direct to my walkman during the sets!!

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