HEXA is a project by Australian composer and artist Lawrence English and Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart exploring the physicality of sound and its abilities to infiltrate, abrade and occupy the body. Premiered at the David Lynch: Between Two Worlds retrospective at GOMA museum in Brisbane, Australia in April 2015, HEXA is a sonic response to Lynch’s Factory Photographs, a collection of images Lynch took of disused factories and the ruins of industry in the USA, Poland, Germany and the UK. Using the factory photographs as both a literal and metaphoric source, their performance draws root from the texture of Lynch’s images, the imagined and actual spaces, and the spectral histories contained within them. The effect is like “cascading low frequency pulses and tectonic plates of sound, suspended in cavernous cathedral-like spaces.”
James Cyrus Stewart (born 1978) is an American musician and writer best known for his role in experimental rock band Xiu Xiu. He has appeared in other bands including Former Ghosts and Sal Mineo.
Stewart was born in 1978 and raised in Los Angeles. He was in several bands before Xiu Xiu, beginning in his youth. While in school, he played in a parody band and a Bauhaus cover band. After high school, he played bass in a group with guitarist Kenny Lyon and members from bands such as Devo, Geza X, The Screamers, and Sparks. Stewart has said that this experience was particularly formative for his career, but he did not realize this then. He later quit the band and moved home to attend college. During this period he came out to his parents, although this was not received warmly.
File:Xiu Xiu on Sound and Song Structure.ogv
Stewart on songwriting
At home, Stewart briefly played in several other bands before being kicked out, and a high school friend suggested that he start his own band, which became IBOPA.[a] His father also played in the band, and Stewart also played with Korea Girl during this period. Metro Silicon Valley described IBOPA as a collision of “dance, lounge, disco, and ska” with the horror of Red Asphalt, and noted the band for bringing attention to South Bay music. IBOPA was briefly signed to an Elektra Records subsidiary in 1999, and broke up in July 1999 when the label dropped most of its artists.[b] The band announced that five of its members—Stewart, Cory McCulloch, Kurt Stumbaugh, Tim Kirby, and Don Dias—would continue into a new acoustic and experimental band called Ten in the Swear Jar.
Ten in the Swear Jar (XITSJ) continued IBOPA’s “unusual approach” with eccentric and erratic music.[c] Metro’s David Espinoza described the band as “futuristic in instrumentation and erratic in mentality” with the traditional instrumentation backgrounded by baritone saxophones, banjos, accordions, and synthesizers. He added that the band’s sound was minimalistic and that the unusual instruments were not used to excess. XITSJ disbanded in September 2002 and Stewart formed Xiu Xiu.
Lawrence English is composer, media artist and curator based in Australia. Working across an eclectic array of aesthetic investigations, English’s work prompts questions of field, perception and memory. He investigates the politics of perception, through live performance and installation, to create works that ponder subtle transformations of space and ask audiences to become aware of that which exists at the edge of perception.
Xiu Xiu is the project of Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist Jamie Stewart. Since 2002 Xiu Xiu’s steady output of releases, side projects, art offerings and extensive international touring has served to document of Jamie’s personal life set to music, usually brutally frank with a bruising honesty and intensity.
Xiu Xiu has collaborated live or in the studio with Grouper, Michael Gira, Deerhoof, Carla Bozulich, Nitzer Ebb, Larsen, Little Annie, Oxbow (see the unflinching Sal Mineo collaboration with Eugene Robinson), Lawrence English, Zola Jesus, Devendra Banhart and Baby Dee, and with visual artists including Monika Gryzmala, David Horvitz and Dahn Vo.