july 25, 2011.
Jotting down this short note on Tapetronic's Discuts Magazine reminded me of our last year's Estafette Rue Cassette. On the 20th of June, 2010, we did a sort of live Tape Run (an estafette is a relay race) all along the Rue Cassette, in Paris' 6th arrondissement. I still owe you (but most of all, I guess, myself) a report on that fine event, which by now is lóóóóng overdue.
This is not that report. But last year's Estafette Rue Cassette is a good entrée to Discuts.
Last year in the rue Cassette, Tapetronic (moniker of Alexis Malbert) was one of the performing contributors. It is not Alexis' ear in the picture above. The ear is Gabriela Vašková's (↑). Below (↓) though, yes: these are pictures of Alexis, shot in the rue Cassette during his performance with a couple of his customized/modified cassette machines, on the corner of the rue Honoré Chevalier:
Tapetronic is a fine performer, a cassetteur that knows how to blast a mean beat; his is often a tricky and glitchy beat, but a beat that hardly ever fails to get an audience up & dance. (Hear, hear! ... That is kinda rare for a cassetteur, as far as I can tell. This, however, might also be because, at least partly due to my personal preferences and predilections, I will not too easily run into cassetteurs of that particular ilk. Whatever. Anyway.) Alexis is also an ardent collector of audio oddities and obsolete audio technology. The lad doesn't cease to dig up ever more 'forgotten' audio and audio-recording related curiosities. He brings it all together on his entertaining and instructive Discuts blog.
The Discuts blog comes with a physical companion, a materialization, as it were, of the site's focus on obsolete technologies: a free paper Discuts (subtitled: Le magazine des manipulations sonores), sent free of charge to all members of the blog. Now even if your French is not all that nifty, I think that you should quickly get your copy of Discuts Magazine; if only for the fine pictures it contains. After you can find yourself a French speaking girl-/boyfriend that will be happy to transread you stories from Discuts. These paper Discuts - take my word for it - at some point in the future will become highly sought after itemmetees themselves.
For the current (2nd) issue of Discuts Magazine, Alexis talked with me about my on-, and on-, and on-going Found Tapes enterprise. That was in Paris, on Saturday May 14th, in a bistro not far from the Louvre. Given the object and subject of our entretien, I was not surprised that, when we started the interview, Alexis pulled an old black cassette machine (↑) from his bag. He pushed in a tape that had my name and number on it. And then pressed the big red button to 'record'...
Along with Discuts' second edition, and as an audio-illustration of the Found Tapes interview, Discuts proposes its readers a limited edition Found Tapes cassette (←) . For the Discuts FT cassette, I made a special 2 x 30 minutes selection from the near to 14 hours of audio extracts from my collection of Found Tapes. For each of the Discuts Found Tapes Selection-cassettes, the found audio has been recorded onto previously owned C60 Chrome cassette tapes (in fact, they all come from a lot that FlexRex picked from the refuse in the streets of Montreuil some months ago). And, of course, the tapes come with a wonderful Discuts cover.
[ Order this finely crafted collector's itemmettee by clicking the PayPal link below; they go at only €10,- and ship along with a copy of Discuts Magazine (p&p included). ]
tags: Found Tapes, cassetteurs, rue Cassette, Paris
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july 23, 2011.
Regularly I go from Amsterdam to Haarlem. Halfway I pass through Halfweg. There's several other Halfwegs in the Netherlands. And you will find a whole range of Halfway's in the UK, in Ireland, the US... In between New York and Boston, there's Middletown. Not so very long ago Rébus drove up there, to meet Alvin Lucier, who is the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music at Wesleyan University. In Middletown. There's an awful lot of Middletowns in this world, as you can imagine.
For wherever you go, you'll be halfway before.
This year's Halfway came to pass a couple of weeks ago.
I guess I would scarcely have given it any attention, were it not that the daily recording for 'Seventy Seconds', my this year's 10-seconds-per-day audio diary, managed to dramatically increase my day-by-day awareness of the flow & passing of time. Far more than I could have imagined, 'Seventy Seconds' ties me to all that continues to be now; but it also became like a spine, that reaches in time from ever more has-beens, via that eternal now, over into the mists of the still has-to-comes; a thread that keeps all my many other activities in line, and around which these are hopping, bopping and freely whirling around; a bit like the locks of hair that wave from my scalp.
I have taken up Seventy Seconds from the very beginning as a ritual to strictly adhere to. But I doubt that I would have been able to stick to it as rigorously as I did, were it not for the weekly editions of seventy seconds of the diary that continue to appear every sunday on Hard//Hoofd, a marvelous & young Dutch web daily for art & journalism.
Those who have followed the weekly Seventy Seconds on Hard//Hoofd will know that there is not only the 7 x 10 seconds of sound diary. Every week the seventy seconds are accompanied a short (Dutch) text that you can read while listening to the sounds; or before, after; even without listening, if you do not care about sounds. Whatever.
To each edition Dutch photographer Pieter van Wynsberge contributes a picture that he shot within one of the time frames wherein that week's audio recordings were made. Each week's picture is like a blind date with the week's sounds & text, which doesn't cease to thrill.
Here are four of Pieter's Seventy Seconds pictures from the past six months. They are linked to the corresponding editions on Hard//Hoofd. Clicking them will take you there.
'Seventy Seconds' grew into far more than a mere series of chronologically recorded sounds that are, sometimes more or sometimes less, interesting and/or pleasing to your ears. I very early on realized that it would become a diary, a journal intime, in a literal, personal sense. For as a matter of fact, my self-imposed scheme of rather limited & shifting prefered time windows, within which each day recording is done, regularly incites me to press the little red button of my Zoom at times and places where and when I otherwise would hardly have been inclined to record.
The sonic fabric thus being woven, and growing every day by precisely ten seconds of sound that I extract from my personal soundscape, relentlessly mirrors the passing of (my) time. It entails fragments of many of the moments of euphoria, the hopes, the fears, and sketches of (unfinished) drama, as they continue to unfold in my life. Much has been written and said about the memory-triggering power of sound & music, that, moreover, all of you will know from personal experience. It will not surprise you that, for me personally, listening back to a stretch of 'Seventy Seconds' is much like a time trip. In that sense, Seventy Seconds is like a life documentary; a sonic autobiography. On the other hand, even though the sounds captured are often highly personal, because of the their briefness to most listeners (maybe with the exception of some that do really know me well) they will remain more or less abstract. This, at a public level, makes Seventy Seconds just a work made from sound, the (paraphrasing David Toop and William Faulkner) 'intangible and uncanny ghost always traveling half a mile ahead of its own shape'.
The full first half year of Seventy Seconds, lasting precisely 30 minutes and a third, is the 10th episode of Radius, a very fine experimental radio broadcast platform based in Chicago, IL. Earlier episodes of Radius include works by Margaret Noble, Art of Failure, Anton Mobin & Denis McCarty and others, and I do heartily recommend you keep your eyes and ears open for the things that Radius is going present in the months to come. The first half year of Seventy Seconds is broadcast by Radius on FM every fifth day of July. It also is, and of course continuously, available as a webcast:
Seventy Seconds, January 1st - June 30th, 2011
This 10th episode, like all Radius episodes, starts off with Radius' audio logo: 15 seconds of "lightly squelchy buzz", that you can read about in 'Entering and exiting the electromagnetic spectrum', a blog-entry over at Marc Weidenbaum's Disquiet.
The second half year of this year's Seventy Seconds will also be on Radius. That'll be early january 2012.
More than halfway into what started out as a one-year project, I seriously ask myself whether I should not continue to collect these ten seconds of daily sounds, and go on doing so for the rest of my life...?
tags: seventy seconds, sound diary 2011
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