"Pure Speculation" by Alastair Galbraith, Jean Jacques Palix and David Watson is one track composed in correspondance, 22 min of different layers of sound, noises, objects, and instruments, recorded in Dunedin (Nz), Paris (Fr), New York (Usa).

Alastair Galbraith : Voice, bells, guitars, casio.
JJ Palix a.k.a. Amiel Balester : Noises, radiators, windmill sounds, electric keyboard, computer.
David Watson : Highland bagpipes.
Recorded and composed in Dunedin (Nz) , Paris (Fr), New York (Usa).
Mixed by Jean Jacques Palix.
Mastered by Thimothy Stollenwerk.
Photography by Alastair Galbraith.

Write up by Bruce Russell, September 2013 :
"Pure Speculation is a record by three people who live in Paris (France), New York (New York) and Taieri Mouth (New Zealand). They have all met each other, but have never all been in the same place together. This single-sided LP now exists physically, yet the music on it lives up to its rather grandiose name – and does not actually exist in the real world. Watson is an improviser known for his bag-piping, Galbraith an instrument builder and song-writer known for his long-form sound works using little-understood acoustic phenomena and for his very short songs, while Palix is a radiophonic composer and sound designer who composes balletic operas for aerobatic teams. All these things are true but all sound like Munchausen’s wildest lies.
There is no point attempting to describe music that has been composed in three separate parts in the mind of such accomplished fabulists, and then realized as a totality via a form of long-distance ouija-board manipulation. It is a highly-fictional salad of bells, gongs, drones and tones which will stick in your mind long after you have heard it. No one planned it, at least two of the musicians were ignorant of its existence for most of its lifetime, and only a perennial over-reacher such as myself would attempt to justify it in prose. When I first heard Pure Speculation, I thought someone had spiked my drink. Then I realized that the name should be taken perfectly literally. So do your ears a favour and indulge in this rarified form of speculation, it’s unlike much else you’ll hear until the next time you’re going under for major surgery – only this auditory hallucination is one you will remember once you regain consciousness. Drink up – here’s to speculation!”



Alastair Galbraith
Experimental avant-garde folk lo-fi new zealand musician from Dunedin, Alastair Galbraith started his career in the band The rip, on Flying Nun Records in the early 1980s. and has played in bands such as ‘Plagal Grind', ‘A handful of Dust' a collaboration with Bruce Russell. Among with his solo recordings, Alastair distinctive solo works was released through differents labels, he has given several performances with construction of a "glass harmonium" and a"flame tube organ".

Jean-Jacques Palix
Arranger, composer for film music and choreography, sound designer for installations, productions and radio programs for Radio France and Radio Nova in which he was one of the founders in 1981. He produced and directed "Conférence sur rien", a 52 minutes film around a french reading version of John Cage’s “Lecture on nothing“. In 2007, he composed 33 musical tributes for 33 famous composers for an exhibition at Galerie In Situ in Paris. In 2009, he directed the movie "This disk is the same as the other one", shown in international film festivals and have collaborated with differents musicians as Bruce Russell, Jean François Pauvros, David Linton, David Coulter and among with many others...

David Watson
Musician living and working in New York City since 1987, born in NZ. Originally performing as a guitarist, in the early 1990’s he started creating a new music performance with the Highland Bagpipes. As a guitar player he has been a regular performer of John Zorn and has performed and recorded in various projects with Chris Mann, Ikue Mori, Christian Marclay, Andrea Parkins, DJ Olive and many others. Along with his solo work, he has a long-standing collaborative trio with Lee Ranaldo and drummer Tony Buck.



"Pure Speculation"

12 Inch
300 copies
Silkscreens sleeve

Out, October 7th, 2013
LSR 036









One of my favorite thing about Alastair Galbraith’s records is the dichotomy between “noise” and “song” that permeates his discography. Galbraith has always been adept at creating lurching drone-y soundscapes that somehow manage to give way to moments of melodic bliss. Like many of the best noise rockers, Galbraith’s music creates a world where form, melody, and harmony all rely on/emerge from noise/drone. On Galbraith’s collaborative work Pure Speculation with Jean Jacques Palix and David Watson, the composer utilizes his collaborators to create a sprawling 22-minute work that merges several disparate soundworlds into a coherent whole while continuing to explore the dichotomy between noise and melody. This is articulated early in the track, when Palix creates a gloriously rustling palette of sounds that Galbraith uses as the instrumental foundation for a song before giving way to a massive drone anchored by Watson’s signature bagpipe playing. The ebb and flow between each section of this work too is handled masterfully. When the white noise of the piece’s opening field recordings return, it provides the first obvious sign that the trio imperceptibly structured the piece so that certain formal tendencies reoccur and develop into different themes.
October 2013.
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Stunning three way collaboration that does violence to any notion of ‘collaboration’, with the songs of Alastair Galbraith bisected and book-ended by bagpipe drones, damaged guitar downs and occult Industrial settings: all three artists recorded their contribution separately before knitting the whole deal together into a delirious side-long setting that moves from what sounds like The Albert Ayler Orchestra plays the A Handful Of Dust songbook into occult regions of scrape and drone that could almost be Nurse With Wound before giving way to one of Galbraith’s most magical and heartbreaking songs, with that forlorn edge-of-the-world sound supported by all sorts of drizzy occult spectra. David Watson’s bagpipe work is particularly psychedelic, rising from Faust-scale nod-out rhythms and deep bass tectonics to sound like an orchestra of berserkers marching through the fog while touching on the fantasy scenario of Ayler’s unmade bagpipe orchestra album for Shandar. Jean Jacques Palix specialises in balletic radiophonics and sound design so I’m guessing he’s responsible for the hallucinatory sound works, with slow tectonic eruptions accompanied by distant Morse melodies and the kind of sleight of hand of a Peter Christopherson using noises, radiators, windmill sounds, electric keyboard and computer. This is a stunning set; imagine Rien or Outside The Dream Syndicate as the kind of Industrial/Orchestral context for brokedown NZ singer-songwriter-isms and you’re close to the dazzling reality-warping potential of this singularly potent disc. Edition of only 300 copies, silkscreened sleeves, very highly recommended!
By David Keenan,
October 2013.
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Adventures In Sound And Music 31 October 2013
November 2013
> Podcast

How do you guys feel about the single-sided 12-inch? I think I’m a little split. On the one hand, it seems like a very large waste of some prime vinyl real estate. On the other hand, the use of only one side of the record lends weight to the music that’s on it. In laymen's terms, what I’m trying to say is that it takes some serious balls to only put music on one side of a record. And with serious balls comes serious responsibility. So then, are these three here up to the task? Do these gentlemen have what it takes to justify La Station Radar emptying its penniless pockets on this release? Methinks yes.
 I guess it would help me to review this release if I had any notion as to who these people are in the first place. But I don’t, unfortunately. Alastair Galbraith seems to blip a bit higher on the Google-meter, I can’t really read the biography of Palix as it is in French (although he appears to have an impressively lengthy discography spanning all the way back to 1987, as does Galbraith — further even), and the website listed on the little info-card the record comes with doesn’t pull a damn thing up for David Watson, so who knows about that guy? It is clear, however, that each musician brings with them a very specific voice to this piece which was “composed by correspondence during 2009.” Galbraith does voice, bells, guitars, casio. Palix does “Noises,” radiators(?), windmill sounds(??), electric keyboard, computer. And this David Watson fellow? He does the Higland bagpipes (and they sound great by the way).
 The point of all this is that Pure Speculation is a release which has many parts, and — to beat a dead horse of a cliché — this one truly is a sum greater than those individual elements, even if the numbers don’t add up the way you think they should. Each little sound you hear as the needle traces its way to the center of the record is alien to its neighbor, even (and especially) when those parts are working together. The human voice of Galbraith, which sings monochromatically in a forlorn, almost dead sort of way, sounds somewhat foreign as it rides atop a creeky/clanky clock-work type of rhythm-cycle. It’s in time, tempo and tandem, and makes complete sense with what’s going on in this section of the music, but the construction or architecture is still unnerving and unsteadying. This is but one example of the many occurrences that make this piece of music so fascinating and engrossing. For the trio is very keen and adept at playing with the dichotomy of melody and noise, of ambience and transience, finding a middle ground between the two without compromising the aesthetic potentials of either. To wit, there are moments of hauntingly beautiful melodic refrains from what sounds like the casio, and also some grating, nerve end-torturing pricks of noise that, on their own, would be enough to get teeth to grind.
 And it’s all brought together into a side-long work that is truly a whole, bookended with those droning bagpipes, and full of little chapters each with their own sets of rising/falling actions. The three manage to complete a coherent whole despite having such different approaches instrumentation-wise, and also likely living on opposite ends of planet Earth (or, perhaps, opposite ends of the solar system). So then, is all of that I just wrote about worth the vinyl release even if it’s just one side of music? You betcha.
Crawford Philleo.
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Constructed by three musicians who live in different parts of the globe and have never been physically present in the same place at the same time, “Pure Speculation” is as much a sound- art installation as a piece of music, each person bringing a different compositional strand to the project creating a 22 minute track that is powerful, emotional and inspiring. Experimental, droning and rich with imagination the track features, electronic sounds (Palix), bells, guitars, voice (Galbraith) and Highland Bagpipes (Watson) each player adding new layers and textures with the Bagpipes having the most impact mainly because it is not a sound that you hear very often in this context, their plaintive drone filling the piece with sound, with Watson skilled enough to be silent when needed, giving the bells and electronics a chance to add scrapes, rattles and chimes to the music. Constantly changing in tone, pace and mood,the music is never still,never dull rewarding the adventurous listener as it seems different every time, the way you hear it dependant on your mood and circumstance as much as the actual composition. Highly recommended, this is my personal favourite out of three excellent releases from a label of high quality.
(Simon Lewis) January 2014
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Alastair Galbraith/Jean jacques palix/David Watson "pure speculation" on the playlist of Brian Turner WFMU
> playlist