Acclaimed West Australian guitarist Errol H. Tout has released his new album, ‘Luminous – Dancing About Architecture’, a labour of love recorded over a period of three years.

And he knows what he’s…dancing about! Tout was Head of the Department of Architecture & Interior Architecture at Curtin University of Technology until 2008, then was more latterly a Senior Lecturer and Chair of the Science and Technology Stream. Then again, he’s also a graduate of King Crimsonicon, Robert Fripp Guitar Craft School.

Guitarist Errol H. Tout

For the one-time career architect and long-time musician, many things lie within the name of the new LP. Variously attributed to the likes of Frank Zappa, Elvis Costello and comedian Martin Mull. “The first quote that I’ve been able to track down from 1931 in the New York Times,” Tout explains. ““It was a journalist who actually said it in the context of writing and music being two different artforms and you shouldn’t try doing both at the same time. So writing about music was as stupid as dancing about architecture. Laurie Anderson used it too, I think,” he adds. “It’s been used and abused! For me, it just made a lot of sense. Once upon a time, being an architect and now I’m being a musician. So it fits well.”

Similarly, while music and architecture may be regarded as two different disciplines, architectural concepts play into the way Tout thinks about music… “Very much so,” Tout says. “There’s a perception as you move through something. The perception of space is that you see it as you move through it. The perception of sound is that sound moves past you. So things move though each other and there’s should be a level of being able to discuss clearly about how it actually does it. You certainly have to do that in Architecture school. So architecture is about moving through space, and music is about moving through time.”

About the work

The music is described as ‘Bright, cheerful, instrumental guitar music – without sounding like a tosser.’On this album the following instruments will be found, lurking with delightful intent.

  • Errol plays: Wise 6 string acoustic guitar, Godin MIDI guitar, Fender Squier Telecaster hot-rodded to MIDI guitar with infinite sustainer, Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty hot-rodded to MIDI guitar, 1987 Ovation Custom Legend, Epiphone fry pan lap-steel. Fractal AX-8 dealt with all guitar processing.
  • Mike Gorman plays: Ovation 6 corde Viper, Ovation Custom Legend 6 and 12 chors, Les Paul Custom.
  • Sam Tout plays: bass fretless and keyboards.
  • Roy Martinez suona: Basso a 5 corde Yamaha.
  • Rik Eastmann plays: lotsa things that drummers thump to make cool noises.
  • AKG mikeswere used for recording acoustic guitars but some, after extensive testing, sounded best plugged straight into the desk. . Apart from the Roland GR55 Guitar Synthesiser, the synthesisers were to be found deep in the depths of Cubase, and Sam’s digital keyboards.
  • Both Errol and Mikes use lthe New Standard Tuning on most of their guitars.

How does one go about making a new piece of music?

“This guitarist has found the following to be of use: Having a nice, well-tuned instrument in your hands, in his modest [but tidy] studio is a pretty good start. Having a sensitivity to be awake enough and willing to catch ideas as they fly by is essential. These ideas fly by this aspiring guitarist as the oddest of times. Errol is currently being coached by Tony Geballe. He may be working away at “nasty ,nasty fingering exercises or pentatonic scales, in numerous positions, and something will fall poorly on the guitar – but wow – something really cool just sounded”. “A catchy little phrase, an interesting texture. Even a cool sound can lead to an interesting piece of music. The piece then needs to be brought to life. “This takes arrangement and development of an idea, and [in Errol’s case] a lot of time”. This is where his 35 years of experience as an architect helps.

Another way to start a piece of music is to …start. Yes start. It might be a phrase that spins your wheels, a bass run, a child laughing, a stunning sunset. Some people suggest you can just pinch something. These might suggest some basic ideas can then be developed, turned over, inside and out. Left to fester. Until something bright, clever and sparkly makes it’s way into the world”.

Errol Tout, guitar details

“Words don’t do it for this little guitarist. He leaves them to people that are good at it”.

Something about the album cover

The cover was a simple piece of work. Errol called Jon Tarry, a celebrated Perth artist, and asked him if he had any images that may suit the cover, given the title. He very generously sent a few images in the ‘Blue Dancing’ series. It felt right and looks beautiful.