Gesellschaft Zur Emanzipation Des Samples Circulations

[Faitiche; 2009]

Styles: sound collage, sound installation, musique concrète
Others: The Books, Stephen Vitiello, Pierre Henry

Gesellschaft Zur Emanzipation Des Samples, an amorphous collective tied to Jan Jelinek’s Faitiche label, is out to make a political statement. The ‘group’ — “Society for the Emancipation of Sampling” — seeks to liberate recorded music from the constraints of copyright by playing samples in public and then recording these public performances. Whereas Girl Talk heists samples to meld them into thumping housejams, Circulations handles the ‘stolen’ material in a subtler, more gestural manner. It’s a project that’s more concerned with concept than charisma.

The album comprises a rapid-fire medley of tracks that capture snatches of orchestral music couched in layers of ambient sound: couples walking and laughing, the chatter of an expectorant lawn sprinkler, the erratic percussion of plates and cutlery in a restaurant. These tracks are like the overlapping matrices of characters on the album’s cover: blended signs that flirt with coherence, but whose eloquence is bound up in their subversion of standard grammar.

Some tracks (“Zwischen den Welten”) seem to abandon the recording in situ conceit with abrupt cuts between sonic atmospheres that sound more like Jelinek’s studio-produced works. On these, the line between original recording and sample-played-in-space is completely blurred. Perhaps this is one of the goals of the exercise; GES want to draw attention to the inherent musicality of the everyday, while pointing out that this musicality derives in equal measure from the accidental sounds of our environment (noise) and the omnipresence of recorded sound in that environment (samples).

Circulations can be a thought-provoking listen, but like most gestural works, it aims to draw attention not to itself so much as to the cultural ironies it underscores. Arriving and disappearing in barely half an hour, it will keep your mental wheels spinning longer than your hard drive.

1. Birds of Heraklion
2. Orinoco, Bullerbü (Crossfade)
3. Oberhausen
4. Laokoon Lagoon
5. Samplecredits (Manipulated)
6. Duell Der Kommentaristen
7. Hawaiian Machine Chant
8. Farnballet
9. Farbballet (In Dub)
10. Kantinengesänge
11. Mount Zermatt
12. Incidental Music from Mombasa
13. Im Schilf
14. Hong Kong Cable Car
15. Trailerpark
16. Taxi Schwitters
17. Waipio
18. Zwischen den Welten: Flötentöne
19. Schlaf (Vor Einführung Der Psychoanalyse)
20. Schlaf (Nach Einführung Der Psychoanalyse)

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