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Alive in the living room - ع​ل​ى ق​ي​د ا​ل​ح​ي​ا​ة في غ​ر​ف​ة ا​ل​ق​ع​د​ة

by Richie Culver

  • Digital Album
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    A 27-min sound mass on CD and handwritten hymnbook by Richie Culver.
    The sonic landscape delves into the artist's personal experiences with sleep paralysis, a condition he has lived with throughout his adult life. The improvised sound piece sets a "Bleak terrain of dead dreams,”—vocals intentionally omitted to echo Culver's speechlessness during paralysis. The poem, which would have been spoken word, is instead meant to be read by the reader/listener themselves, and describes his subconscious experiences evoking discomfort and vulnerability. The book features the original handwritten poem by Richie Culver, presented in both English and Arabic.

    * includes code for Richie Culver - Alive in the living room The Remixes album.

    Publisher: Drowned By Public
    Record Label: Drowned By Locals
    City: Amman, Jordan
    Year: 2023
    Pages: 68 p.
    Dimensions: 15.4 x 21 cm.
    Signed: Numbered
    Cover: Hardback - PU Leather
    Binding: Sewn Bound
    Process: Offset Printed
    Color: Black-and-White
    Edition Size: 100

    Includes unlimited streaming of Alive in the living room - على قيد الحياة في غرفة القعدة via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • T-Shirt/Shirt

    Relaxed XL fit with Born Died in Arabic discharge print, a DBL╳Richie Culver T-shirt
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"Richie Culver’s practice is proof that there is a basis for a shared fear of mythic proportions: Good art is made infrequently and instinctively. Every one of his works is crafted in mere seconds; nothing is discarded. Though the actual act of art-making is not torturous or tedious for Culver, the everyday can be. Life is for agonizing; art is the instantaneous expulsion of the thoughts and urges that emerge from it.

Alive in the Living Room is exemplary of that ethos. The Hull-born, mostly London-based artist created the 27-minute “sound mass” in one take, but it was born from a whole adulthood of suffering from sleep paralysis. The piece is a near-immediate response to Culver asking himself, What if I just succumbed to it?

Alive in the Living Room is the most obvious embodiment of Culver’s semi-recent desire to remove text from his work. He’s best-known for paintings that feature extemporaneously-drawn phrases in large-scale lettering, reading like: “COMMERCIAL ARTIST DRIVES PAST CONCEPTUAL ARTIST IN A LAMBORGHINI” and “I AM HAPPY TO SEE OTHER ARTISTS DOING WELL (BUT NOT TOO WELL).” “I’m just vocalizing things that people don’t often want to admit,” the artist muses. Alive in the Living Room doesn’t contain any singing or spoken word, but Culver’s attempt to abandon that which he’s known for is only partially fulfilled. The branches that have spawned from the project thus far all feature text in some form: remixes from pessimist and bod [包家巷], a video by Allen-Golder Carpenter, and a hymnbook."

—Megan Hullander, Document Journal

"While this extended soundscape doesn’t feature vocals, it is accompanied by a handwritten hymn book, where close-up photographs of possibly tortured fingernails are accompanied by phrases in both English and Arabic. “Am I really this selfish”, asks Culver, opening a line of self-interrogation and cryptic disaffection which continues throughout its beautiful black and white pages.

The piece begins with a regular repeating throb, like the synthetic valves and chambers of medical equipment in mid-flow, backed by a slowly rising ambient churn which threatens to drown it. Described as a mass, it’s not clear as to which sense of the word is being used - when the hymn book and soundscape are consumed together, they form a kind of pulsing, ritualistic incantation which rends towards the more spiritual interpretation."

—Spenser Tomson, The Wire

"With Alive in the living room I wanted to present a sonic landscape that unfolds into three parts that make up aspects of sleep paralysis,
Something I have lived with all of my adult life.
Instead of fighting against it.
Going with it and seeing where it may lead.
Instead of fighting to wake up.
Fall deeper into it.
I could never speak or shout for help in moments of paralysis during sleep so I decided to put no vocals onto this body of work.
Letting the 27 minutes of improvised DIY music dictate the space that would be the Bleak terrain of dead dreams.
After making the music I decided to write a short poem to describe what sleep paralysis is to me.
Pulling off my fingernails, being ridiculed and scabs that won’t heal are a common thread into where my subconscious takes me in my moments of dead sleep.
Facing my obscure fears head-on and waking up to a nothingness that is the sofa in my mother's living room.
Questioning what just happened ?
Who am I ?
What am I ?"

—Richie Culver

Artist Bio by Henry Bruce -Jones:

Richie Culver first realised he understood art at an afterparty. Growing up by the North Sea, on the outskirts of Hull, the artist spent his formative years reckoning with the gravitational pull of his hometown, wracked with anxiety, aimlessness and low self-esteem. After leaving school to work in a caravan factory to facilitate a growing rave habit, Culver started to pull focus on himself in the abandoned warehouses and knackered bedsits of Hull’s party scene. It was on staggering to one of many post-rave afters that he was exposed to a book of Nan Goldin’s photographs. Through dense skunk smoke, over the chaos magic incantations of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge emanating from punctured speakers, Culver recognised something in the world viewed through Goldin’s lens. “I would look at the pages and understand these images,” says Culver. “This was where I was from. I realised that people were capturing this for a living.” It wasn’t long after this that he would learn that Throbbing Gristle had formed in the same city he had always felt so trapped by, an epiphany that would spell a sea change for the artist at his most embryonic.

In both his visual practice and his DIY approach to music the afterparty is conceived as a paranoid site of production, not only as the stage upon which the artist began to learn the addled language and pitch-black humour that drives his work to this day, but as an internal space for reflection, a place in which to slip into an evocative mode of disinhibited honesty. Years spent hanging around Hull institution The Lamp, inspired by the presence of local legends Fila Brazillia, Baby Mammoth, Bullitnuts and other eccentrics orbiting around cult electronic label Pork Recordings, led to a short-lived period spent DJing in the early ‘90s and a fraught relocation to Berlin, where the artist proceeded to haunt Berghain every single Sunday. Unfortunately the constricting pressures of self-hatred, the ever-present ebb and flow of hometown existentialism and consistent struggles with substance abuse proved too destructive for his musical ambitions, with Culver retreating further and further into addiction. “Underground is too glamorous a label,” he asserts, “it was a hermit lifestyle.”

Flash forward to the present, through sobriety, family life and therapy, and the voice that Culver has forged out of an unflinching commitment to inscribing his outsider observations has returned, full circle, to music. Describing the spoken word that has long been a part of his practice as “like my paintings speaking,” Culver conceives of sound in similar terms, his emotionally charged machine music unfurling as a sonic extension of his text-based paintings. Yet the loose experimental spirit of the afterparty persists. Culver’s bleak seaside poetry is amplified by threadbare loops worn raw and ragged, spray paint rendered as synthesis, as glacial swells of ambience, industrial throbs of noise and dark insomniac drones are exhaled together as thick melancholy haze. Above this drifts the faded pulse of the dance music the artist grew up on, the refracted sounds of the night before filtering deliriously into the morning after. Invoking the spirits of iconoclasts past like Miles Davies, Charlie Parker and esoteric oddities The Vampires Of Dartmoore while positioning his perspective in resonance with contemporary grime and drill narratives, though, as the artist notes, “from the customer’s perspective,” Richie Culver broadcasts live and direct from the fringes, drawing from a deep well of pain without romanticising the process, communicating rawness without wrath, struggle without shame.


released September 22, 2023

Produced by Richie Culver
Mastered by Rashad Becker

Special thanks to:
Maan Abu Taleb
Hamada Shahrour
Sawsan Assaf
Yazan El Zubi



all rights reserved



Drowned By Locals Amman, Jordan

الصَوْت الخام غَيْر المُعالج للبَرَابِرَة قُطّاع الطُرُق والمُهَمَّشين والمُتَشَرِّدين والهَمَج، إلّا أن قُلُوبُهُم رَقِيقَة

𝙑𝙤𝙞𝙘𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙛𝙖𝙘𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙖𝙧𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙧𝙪𝙩𝙚𝙨, 𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙛𝙞𝙩𝙨, 𝙨𝙖𝙫𝙖𝙜𝙚𝙨 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙙𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙖𝙩 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩.

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