Scratchy archaeologies

Snippets of a conversation with Abram last night.

10:05PM
Abram
I saw a great documentary on the whole dj/turntablism phenomenon. Its amazing – they take a record player and use it for something completely different than it was designed for. Misuse is great fun.

10:10PM
Michael
Philip Jeck – I’m sure I mentioned him to you – uses banks of old turntables (Philips, Dansette, whatever from the 50s)- lines them up on stage/in studio with looping 45s. Bizarre – though recognizably techno-ambient-minimalism !

Abram
Sounds interesting. Is there a lot of repitition like Steve Reich’s early stuff?

Michael
Yes – there are elements of Reich – its built into the looping, scratching records – the technology of needles and grooves has its own very distinctive feel. I have always wanted to use it in a lecture/event.

SteveReich

Steve Reich – 2009

10:15PM
Abram
A friend of mine sent me a link to this just an hour ago: Ms Pinky Products.
It uses special records that have some sort of timecode recorded on them as a controlling device to trigger audio/video effects.

Michael
I’ve just had a look – I love the idea of loops – and what names – Binky Toy! Interdimensional wrecked system! And what an interface – the vinyl record.

Abram
I can see a sort of archaeologic aesthetic in sampling. Especially in how a lot of djs will dig through hundreds of old LPs to find a beat they can loop that’s both obscure and beautiful.

Michael
10:20PM
Exactly – media archaeologies – abraded, broken (fragmented) materialites, collections, past-present articulations, and the metamorphoses, transformations (entropy, ruin …).

Abram
right, and varying degrees of friction

10:25
Michael
Say more about frictions.

Abram
Well, within a composition, different samples, each of which carrying their own semiotic baggage, play on one another – like in collage. Bringing together the different layers of references – sometimes it can be quite rich.

Michael
I get it – I picked up the material allusion in ‘friction’
10:30PM
Abram
Oh there’s that too. It erodes the record surface each time its played – and the needle too of course.

Michael
Scratches, abrasions, erosions – they wear out.

Abram
The creative destructive act.

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