John Wall/Alex Rodgers
Work 2011–2014
CD (E178)

This work was compiled from improvisations,
independently-recorded fragments and pre-
written texts over the specified period.

John Wall
Computer-generated sounds
Severe editing, arrangement and composition

Alex Rodgers
Computer-generated sounds

Mastered by Jacques Beloeil and John Wall.

See also
John Wall/Alex Rodgers (E234)
Edwards/Sanders/Wall (E217)
John Wall/Alex Rodgers (E193)
John Wall/Alex Rodgers (E114)
John Wall/Mark Durgan (E139)
Out of print

Edition of 300 copies

“A tremendous, sinewy-tough piece of work, one of my favourite
speech/music recordings in a long time, maybe ever”
— Just Outside


Wall’s music sounds like no other. In fairness, I should
say Wall and Rodgers’ as the latter is responsible not
only for the texts herein but also a good portion of the
‘computer generated sounds’, but to the extent that
the work occupies at least an adjacent sound-world to
those which Wall has produced since 1995’s Alterstill,
it’s recognisably his product.

Like many of his previous offerings, Work 2011–2014
is short but it’s a brevity born of concision and severe
economy, packed with an extraordinarily dense assem-
blage of slivers of information, needle-sharp, scything
through the dark, Beckettian text often spoken in a
slurred, bitter manner.

I have this image of a razor-edged knife weaving
through large hunks of meat. Tiny knives though, so
even even there are thousands of them, they have very
little mass, leaving a ton of ‘air’ in which the events can
take place. It’s very strange and pretty much unique
to Wall’s sound. Wall is legendary for taking massive
amounts of time to work on minute slices of sound;
I take it this is a result and it's a bracing one.

Rodgers’ words command equal weight, however. He
uses software to alter his voice constantly, enough that
it rarely sounds very much the same on several levels,
including apparent distance (blurred, far away and in-
distinct to mic-bumping closeness), pitch and other,
more unusual variations including a disturbing, moist
kind of lisp (“Were I was going”). The text is gutter-level
angry, occasionally imagistic and not above (I suspect)
combining words for the sheer deliciousness of their
sound like “marzipan supremacists” or the concluding
phrase, “angular cluster”. There’s an extract printed
inside the sleeve, only a sentence of which, as near as
I can determine, is used in the recording.

Wall’s sounds are always overtly electronic, no attempt
at masking. How he manages to render them utterly
different from your normal computer-induced activity,
I’ve no idea but to these ears, they sound absolutely
fresh, sparkling in an alien way. I don’t recall him doing
it in earlier work but on occasion, he allows a small dol-
lop of repetition to creep in, for at most several seconds
and often less than that, perhaps offering a momentary
foothold for the listener, only to quickly snatch it away.
Rodgers uses iteration more straight-forwardly in the
subsection, “the same”, with fine bitterness. Refreshingly,
there’s no arc. It’s episodic but with each chapter bear-
ing similar heft, moving the listener from room to room
in a very large, troubled building, no entrance or exit.
  A tremendous, sinewy-tough piece of work, one of
my favourite speech/music recordings in a long time,
maybe ever.

Brian Olewnick at Just Outside

Amazement is a word that seems fitting for John Wall’s
collaborations with Alex Rodgers, the latest of which,
Work 2011–2014, is now out on Entr’acte. A single
piece lasting 27½ minutes, it establishes a profoundly
intimate sensibility at the outset, Rodgers’ words
practically being spoken directly into one’s mind. The
context Wall fashions for them is typically restrained,
soft and low but full of impact, his electronic sounds
projected into high and low bandwidths more than
anywhere else. When he’s manipulating materials like
this, the results are simply beautiful, but when he
pushes them outward, lets them grow, sharpens their
edges, it’s just heart-stopping. The nature of the inter-
action between Wall and Rodgers, as it was in their
previous collaboration Work 2006–2011 (which, having
been out of print for some years, has happily now been
re-released) is deeply enigmatic; Rodgers is often low
in the mix, audible but not intelligible, and when he
is suddenly exposed, his stream of consciousness —
kind of like Tourette poetry—feels urgent, insistent,
all the more so for being constantly tinged with fiery
emotional subtext. It’s a paradox that continues even
when the text is delivered by an entirely synthetic
voice, its vicious expletive-strewn phrases like robotic
piranha in a viscous sonic ooze. The diverse means
of expression demonstrated here are disconcertingly
imaginative, almost intimidating so; Wall has an innate
sense of shaping music that’s simultaneously abstract
yet capable of sledgehammer-like emotive blows.
The closing gambit, in which Rodgers voice somehow
becomes embedded within Wall’s materials, is utterly

Simon Cummings at 5:4

This latest collaboration by electronic composer John
Wall and his old sparring partner, poet Alex Rodgers,
gets off to a terrific start. We seem to be inside
Rodgers’s throat as he gargles out a couple of vowels
and launches an incantation: “I will fawn over you/
Gibbering scarecrow of some bulk/Smelling like a
midden”. Rodgers has a voice rarely heard: working
class, pissed off and oozing character. The way he
manhandles a sentence is utterly compelling, and you
just want to hear a load more. He may be depressed
but his love for these words is apparent. He rolls
around a phrase like “angular cluster”, examining it
from different, well, angles, getting steadily angrier,
and the contrast with the surgical strike of Wall’s
sounds is exhilarating.

Clive Bell in The Wire