Mail art by Robert Ridley-Shackleton (Oxford, UK)
I am absolutely thrilled to have received mail art from British musician and artist Robert Ridley-Shackleton, which includes a one-of-a-kind cassette of his music that was encased in this amazing piece of art that – whether by design or happy coincidence – appears to be Trashpo. Thus I give Robert Ridley-Shackleton credit for having created the first Trashpo album art. (I have seen Trashpo album art before, but no real music was attached to it. This cassette I have received is original music.)
Discussions about what Trashpo music would be if it existed are ongoing. I do not make the claim that what Ridley-Shackleton is doing is Trashpo music nor do I have any evidence he has any interest in the subject other than the fact that he is engaged in a current collage collab project with reigning Queen of Trash Diane Keys (USA). What can be ascertained is that Ridley-Shackleton is a very interesting performer/composer who, like many before him, is extending his audience through the Eternal Network.
I have written about how, before the advent of the internet, the mail art network was a vital conduit for alternative music. For instance, one of the great network triumphs was bringing industrial music to the world. While Robert Ridley-Shackleton is producing a diverse array of music, he is definitely a master of the experimental and postavant modes (like industrial music) that continue to thrive in the network. The presence of such a vibrant musician is a valuable addition to the current community.
Obviously musicians abandoned snail mail long ago for the superior marketing capabilities of the internet, and Robert Ridley-Shackleton has a strong web presence. Check out his music online! He is taking an innovative and refreshingly personalized approach to his interactions within the Eternal Network, which itself is now a global community whose communications are part digital and part snail mail. While time-intensive (and growing expensive), individualized compositions and one-on-one communication are a winning way to cultivate friends and fans. Ridley-Shackleton as well as others can make targeted contact with postavant/intermedia artists who are likely to appreciate his music. The handmade art is fantastic. I get the distinct impression that his art and music are far more important to him than ego-centric self-promotion. His Cardboard Club is worth a close look:
The current network is slanted toward the visual arts. Both writing and music are not as prevalent as they have been in the past, so it is especially wonderful to receive work from musicians. Robert Ridley-Shackleton is creating some deeply interesting music and doing compelling performance. Many thanks for sending this mail art!
More free music by RRS: