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Credit cards are the new jazz - click opera — LiveJournal
February 2010
 
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Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 11:16 am
Credit cards are the new jazz

On Saturday Hisae and I visited an installation by Ben Roberts, a British sound artist who lives in Madrid. At Radio Aporee, a gallery / living room on Bürknerstrasse, near our house, Ben had assembled some old cassette players fitted with wand-mounted VCR heads capable of reading -- turning into gloopy sound -- any kind of information stored on magnetic tape: the stripes on credit cards, the backs of metro tickets, old computer spools, and of course audio tape.



Ben gets most of his tech-junk from El Rastro, Madrid's famous hillside market district. He's a bin-diver, a re-jigger, a crank engineer. The show was trailed as "a chance to hear what your credit card sounds like", but I was a bit nervous to "play" my bank cards; last week one of them spontaneously de-magnetized and had to be replaced. (Also I suspect the "music" my cards would make would be somewhat tragic; the sound of an electronic stomach grumbling emptily, perhaps, or 8-bit Mahler?)




Instead, I swiped the lengths of tape Ben had assembled on the gallery walls; Madrid metro tickets, old language-learning reel-to-reel tapes, ancient computer data. These all had their own distinct sounds, and were mounted on different colours of paper. It was easy to hear them as drumkits (the computer data was particularly rhythmic), vocals, solos, and so on. Soon Hisae and I were jamming "tape jazz" as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

21CommentReply

alphacomp
alphacomp
Digital Video Camera
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 10:13 am (UTC)
That said, it would be so cool if you made a song with that piece.

It's interesting how the galleries housing more participatory art pieces have such an amazingly laid-back vibe to them. I remember doing gallery-sitting for a video synth showcase and, while it wasn't a packed show by any means, the occasional passer-by would hear the analog beeps and hums faintly from outside and walk in to play around with the synth and create their own little improvisations. It's a very refreshing change of pace.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 10:34 am (UTC)
Re: That said, it would be so cool if you made a song with that piece.

Well, the laidback vibe is really because this is only half a gallery, half someone's house (someone called Udo). And that's one reason I live in Neukolln -- it's still at that lovely moment when people just stage things spontaneously (this event only came together on Friday) and there's no clear division between living and working space. People live in these street-level shop fronts and they morph into public spaces when there's something interesting to stage, or someone interesting passing through town.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 10:49 am (UTC)
Re: That said, it would be so cool if you made a song with that piece.

Still, it's a pretty refreshing change from a packed, meticulously-planned gallery opening.


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alphacomp
alphacomp
Digital Video Camera
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 10:49 am (UTC)
Re: That said, it would be so cool if you made a song with that piece.

Aaand that was me.


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rinusvanalebeek
rinusvanalebeek
rinusvanalebeek
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
laidback blitz

In fact, this gallery which isn't quite a gallery but somebody's living room working space salon studio whatever is so laidback that it accepts a good deal of my last minute proposals. In fact over the last weeks I came to like these kind of spontaneous events, that I decided to have some more of them. Tonights show at bürknerstrasse 9 in Neukölln wil host some international stars doing a kind of dinkey toyed concert, #4 in the series of the slow noise movement. The request was send in on sunday, two days ago.

In a way, it is very close to saving things from the waste bin.

greetings from berlin kreuzberg,

rinus


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alphacomp
alphacomp
Digital Video Camera
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 10:22 am (UTC)

The piece itself is like if everybody were allowed to play Laurie Anderson's violin.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 10:31 am (UTC)

Ha, that's exactly what I said to Ben when he was demonstrating the wand on a length of tape!


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pay_option07
pay_option07
Thu, Aug. 30th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
Wand

Add audio responsive light modulation
and bamm, karaoke interactive!


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theartoflamb
theartoflamb
josewilliamvigers
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 11:32 am (UTC)

I dig it. And this wouldnt have been the same without the video. Thanks for the effort much appreciated!


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akabe
akabe
alin huma
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 12:13 pm (UTC)
8-bit Mahler?

the clashing dischord from the unfinished 10th with a farty 8bit trumpet piercing victoriously from your credit card is quite an image.


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staticbullets
staticbullets
staticbullets
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 12:18 pm (UTC)

This seems to be an interesting variation on Nam June Paik's Random Access Music. An interesting update of the concept.


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theartoflamb
theartoflamb
josewilliamvigers
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)

I thought the same thing.


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kaipfeiffer
kaipfeiffer
Kai Pfeiffer
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 12:44 pm (UTC)

lovely! when i used an old bank card of mine to draw on as part of an exhibition this year, i made sure i scratched the magnet strip good, even if the card had long expired. paranoia! but now my credit card got hacked online and somebody went shopping ... (seems like i won't have to pay, though).


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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)

Mamoru Fujieda's Patterns of Plants

A great, great piece of music -- one of my favourite records in the entire world!


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niddrie_edge
niddrie_edge
raymond
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)

Nice. A lot more melodically "accessible" than Michael Prime's L-Fields. http://www.sonoris.org/mp3/(Sonoris)_Michael_Prime_-_L-Fields_-_Track_2_(Extract).mp3

I was just reading a review of dental assistant Linda Perhacs lovely "Parallellograms" album. It quotes this lyric from the track "Chimacum Rain". "I'm spacing out/I'm seeing silences between leaves."

When I was audiomulching and amazingly slowdowning(tm) field recordings I really believed I was getting to the insect world as hinted at in the faux-psiloscybic buzzing of the beginning of Blue Velvet or scenes from the film Microcosmos.


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squirtlle
squirtlle
Jessica
Wed, Aug. 29th, 2007 02:08 am (UTC)

this sounds really interesting. i'm excited to look into it. thanks for mentioning it.


ReplyThread Parent
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)

The sound that is produced reminds me of when two guys stood in a mall and ran electricity through fruit. The latter was a bit more drone-ish though.


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vinylboy20
vinylboy20
Rupert Pupkin
Tue, Aug. 28th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)

Looks like fun! I could do that for an hour or two probably.


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bonsai_human
Bonsai Human
Wed, Aug. 29th, 2007 03:22 am (UTC)

Nice sound, reminiscent of vinyl scratches.


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intergalactim
intergalactim
intergalactim
Wed, Aug. 29th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC)
old wisecracking twist

wow, what a fantastic instrument! i've been playing around lately (since i got my pair of sony pro walkman's finally repaired) with running tape by hand over the reader surface, but this here is a MUCH more efficient way of doing it, because you can get some speed. my walkman method usually just sounds like bumping a microphone.

also, i thought you should see this:
"Blogs have realised that old wisecracking twist on an Andy Warhol aphorism: that, someday, everyone will be famous for 15 people."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2157996,00.html

as they say in the article, "If a blogger had written that phrase, it would have come with a link to the source"

~t


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Aug. 29th, 2007 09:54 am (UTC)
Re: old wisecracking twist

Well, since this fellow started Salon, I think they should give me a blog review column called Famous for 15 People! At least 15 people would read it!


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