Michael Pisaro The Punishment of the Tribe by its Elders

[Gravity Wave; 2013]

Styles: field recording, post-indeterminacy
Others: Rick Cox, Chas Smith, Phill Niblock, Greg Stuart

Listener - gap - recording - gap - reality - gap - Pisaro. Three gaps, four tiers, horseshoe spread, simultaneous automatic relative analysis. Session begins 00:13 03/02/13 GMT.

Acoustics, libidinal economy of.
The most convincing way to avoid reality is to lose yourself in the prickle of the field recording, as if it were bubble wrap. Here, technology chafes against a world of waves, pulses, and impacts, leaving to the ear and the imagination the task of estimating reality from scratch (at 12:35, a storm definitely begins, the mic singing along in feedback), or else abandoning that concern altogether and engaging in terms of what is only ever almost sound, and sound alone. To reduce the universe to the crepitations of a single, imaginary body is the dream of distortion at the heart of audio signal acquisition.

Passive scanning: I am part-microphone; I have record, playback, and on-the-fly edit functions. The phenomenological outcome of the recording process is the temporary spatial reorganization of subjectivity.

To avoid reality is to avoid silence, to play games with noise. This is how music sustains us; like cooking, it is both essential and a game (essentially a game), although we can’t yet derive nutrition from its outcomes (but they can hasten our decrepitude).

There is no noise at the executive level of the institution, just the silence of endlessly multiplying networks of efficiency. Thence, the oppositional character of sound in general: even a rumbling stomach makes more noise than a statesman can bear to hear. It is ideological to suggest that power is a game, just as it is ideological to suggest that music is not.

I imagine spies wish listening would transform, become as immediate as distance. Their grueling trail of recordings and acquisitions would phase out and disappear from the field along with intimacy, which proceeds from the same partition that complicates the life of the spy.

Crash site
Listening and forgetting are related, an uneasy correspondence. We modulate our transmission/recording apparatus to suit the occasion, the occasion, that is, of any real or imagined interlocution. Whisper, and recall for a second that nobody is stopping the world from listening. Shout, and remember that there is nothing universal about your words; there is only the distance they have to travel to reach their destination.

“A little after midnight came a strange sound from over the sea, and high overhead the air began to carry a strange, faint, hollow booming.” Dracula’s boat will soon crash on Whitby beach. Strain or cover your ears: the signal is never entirely beyond your control.

Session ends: 02:50 03/02/13 GMT.

Links: Michael Pisaro - Gravity Wave


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