Titre : Compass Point
Auteur : Darren Sylvester
Date de publication : 2012
Editeur : M.33 (édition limitée à 1.000 exemplaires)
Type : Livre de photos
Ayant appris la fermeture prochaine des célèbres Compass Point Studios situés aux Bahamas, l'artiste et musicien Darren Sylvester a entrepris le voyage depuis Melbourne afin de témoigner, à travers son travail photographique, de l'athmosphère particulière qui régna dans et autour de ce studio d'enregistrement mythique, longtemps fréquenté par Robert Palmer.
Darren Sylvester, known for his stylised constructed tableaux images redolent of pop culture takes a very different approach in his book Compass Point. In the 1970s and 80s Compass Point Studio, located on the coast of Nassau in the Bahamas, was recognised as one of the great music facilities in the world, producing music with a particular sound — that of luxury, decadence and sophistication. Artists such as Grace Jones, Roxy Music, Robert Palmer and Tom Tom Club and Talking Heads all made seminal albums here.
Prompted by rumors that the studio was about to close, Darren Sylvester — a recording musician himself — decided to venture there before it was all over, wanting to focus on the landscape that surrounds the studio as a myth-making and myth-destroying exercise. He wanted to see and convey the same views that musicians who recorded there would see when seeking inspiration.
"I work primarily as an artist across different mediums where my photography practice consists of around 5-6 pictures a year because I build each set. I was asked to consider producing a book and initially rejected the idea as it was going to take too long to produce so many images. The only way was to do documentary, something I’d never done before. Months later I read rumours of Compass Point Studios closing on a blog and as I was already a fan of everything to do with it, the idea of documenting the area seemed a natural fit."
"I was shocked at first. It was a long travel to find out. But soon this was fine as I wanted the book to contain the environment around the studio. The idea was – what would a band recording for a month see from the front door? What does the beach look like? What does inspiration look like? What does an evening meal look like for Grace Jones or Roxy Music or Robert Palmer during their stay? In this way the book is myth-making and myth-demystifying. It pictures things that actually make up the environment and shows that it can resemble any sleepy village somewhere in paradise."
"The studio is isolated, about 10 miles from Nassau, so already you’re on a quiet beach with suburban houses around. Along the beachfront, properties become estates that are patrolled by security guards who would always talk to me as I carried a camera. They were happy to actually see someone and would point out where the Travoltas and Sean Connery live or where Anna Nicole Smith died. Although they’d always be pointing deep down winding roads into forest so you couldn’t actually see any buildings."
"I was thinking it’s such a shame that bands now record at home or in their own studios with so many distractions and unlimited time; it misses that spark or imagination. The whole blast of the Bahamas would make each day exciting. I’m sure this adds to creativity and amazing moments in song."
"I had an amazing response from Chris and Tina from Tom Tom Club who have a house near the studio. They wanted a number of copies to give to people like Robert Palmer’s family and Wally Badarou. I’m thrilled how the book has been received by those who were there."
Darren Sylvester (Interview by Michael Kucyk - 2012)