With some of this year’s top records landing squarely in the straight noise category (I guess I’m thinking especially of Dilloway’s massive and brilliant Modern Jester here), posting something that’s not especially definable as “music” isn’t exactly as groundbreaking of a thing to do these days. So yeah, even though this is severely lacking on the rhythm/melody/harmony fronts (…or is it?), Conversations is (a) still music to my ears anyway, and (b) wildly different from other noise albums floating around. It’s a sound-art piece edited together from several phone calls to numbers randomly selected from a Johnstown, PA area phonebook by a conceptual artist named Brandon Locher. For each successive call, the answerer is answering to the previous answerer, and the next to that answerer, and on and on. There’s almost a half hour of this, and every second of it is fucking gold. It’s a great statement on hot topics like consumer culture and the language of dead/empty signifiers made even more dead/empty in our increasingly mechanized, automated world (among others I’m sure), but I especially like how, as Conversations offers a kind of narrative as it moves along, the various mysteries each caller is presented with develop with each passing transaction, an ever-thickening plot unfolding rather awkwardly and hilariously. There’s a real progression here, and it’s a horribly addicting thing to sit down and get lost in.
Try it out and download it if you want: