On Saturday, March 1st, 2008, a few hours before the Midwest Phonographers Union planned to perform in the UWM Fine Arts Cinema, a JBL EON15 G2 loudspeaker began malfunctioning, emitting a low rumble of unknown origin. The fluctuating drone grew louder and sharper, punctuated by brief pops and glitches. Chris Delaurenti and John Kannenberg recorded the phenomena, and Glenn Bach decided to take advantage of the the chain of events and created a larger project under the umbrella of his improvising ensemble, Double Blind.
Inspired in part by Chris Schlarb's communal project, Twilight and Ghost Stories (as well as Yasunao Tone's Solo for Wounded CD and William Basinski's Disintegration Loops), Bach imagined a collaborative remix of Kannenberg's field recordings, a collective interpretation of malfunction and failure. Participants remixed, resampled, cut up, and reinterpreted the sound of the broken speaker (along with several second-generation responses), or contributed entirely new compositions inspired by a similar sense of malfunctioning gear or general sense of collapse. Bach then wove the contributions into an overall soundscape marked by four distinct movements, each a distinct collage of sound, noise, and music.
0:00-5:38. Negro, Wounded Speaker 2.
3:15-6:04. smgsap, microphone into water: take 1.
5:20-6:15. Bach, short hospital visit.
5:46-6:40. Ritchie, Hospitalized Speaker (Bach excerpt 1).
6:30-10:46. Ritchie, Hospitalized Speaker (Bach excerpt 2).
10:19-13:25. MLuM, Wounded Speaker (Bach excerpt 2).
0:00-4:08. Kaminski/Schlei, Broken Speaker.
3:58-5:59. Bach, KS outro.
5:10-7:12. Bach, AMCF snip 1.
5:40-7:20. Bach, AMCF snip 2.
6:49-13:05. Nadal/Pogue, Bury My Heart at Wounded Speaker.
Elemental Track Notes
* John Kannenberg, Cathedral 4: "while walking home . . . and listening to a BBC radio podcast about mutation, I got an idea to apply to a remix of the broken PA recording . . . Not that the results have much to do with mutation, but at least it got me thinking about processes involving 'mistakes.' First I re-encoded the original mp3 (of the 5:25 recording) at lower and lower bitrates, over and over again, until there was barely anything recognizable left. Then I ran the resulting file through the Bitcrusher filter in Soundtrack which left me with a few pops and ticks. I then ran that through three passes of different delays, then four passes of maximum reverb."
* Bach, cathedraled: "a remix of a few seconds of Cathedral_4 stretched out, stacked, and pushed into new realms of drone."
* Bach, amcf snip: "brief selections of Cascone's anti-musical celestial forces, run back and forth through WavePad, Peak, and Audacity. Short snippets that may serve as interludes or elements of a longer movement."
* Bach, wounded guitar: "a short guitar fragment as if played through the wounded speaker."
* David Nadal/Matt Pogue, Bury My Heart at Wounded Speaker: "This is actually our second attempt. The first went a bit awry; too many layers, too many competing sounds, and a very ill-advised Native American chant. With this attempt our goal was to manipulate fewer synthesized sounds and add an organic beat comprised of only proximal percussion: non-traditional items that were within reach of where we were sitting when the notion came to us. Thus, the beat consists of a rock star can, martini glass, car keys, metal bucket, cardboard box, scissors, ballpoint pen and a screwdriver. We manipulated broken_pa.mp3 & cathedraled.mp3 . . . and used one live mic for our dueling guitars. And then in very Glennbachian fashion, cut and pasted the sh** out of everything."
* Silas Ritchie, Hospitalized Speaker: "I took about a 7 second loop from the original file and then reverbed and effected it a bit in Nuendo as the background for the piece. Then I created a drum track in Reason and layered those two together. I took some of the better clips from my [hospital] tape recordings and injected them where I saw fit. There are various ring modulations on the broken speaker clip towards the end. This is my reflection on the electronic decay of some while the electronic boom on others is taking place, the human decay in the hospital setting and the disfunction of that instituion, and yet it is all somewhat serenly tied together."
* smgsap, microphone into water: take 1: "recorded off the pier at Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach, CA in 2007. no effects have been added to the audio. the source recordings have been cut into sections and overlapped, with a slight EQ, but otherwise it's unaltered raw material. the inspiration for the recording came from being asked to do sound design for a short film that takes place on a sail boat, with the main character willfully falling off the boat at the end. wanting to capture the recorded sounds of a microphone actually entering the water and the sounds below, i proceeded to wrap scott A peterson's Sony stereo microphone in a plastic bag with multiple rubber bands and lots of tape in an attempt to make it waterproof. this attempt failed. but from it came a set of recordings that capture the fantastically damaged sounds of a wet diaphragm in it's various stages of healing, with a cameo from my cat 'boy.' and heal it did. there is a happy ending to this story. to this day the microphone works as good as new and it's sure hard to believe that it fully recovered from this state as you hear it. enjoy."
* MLuM, various wounded nuggets: "Strike up the bandages and play the wound aesthetic! Stig-mata-chine, wielding spontaneous swords, rewound and, from scratch, effect the speaker cicatrix!"
released January 1, 2009
Participants: Glenn Bach, Kim Cascone, shea M gauer, Dale Kaminski, John Kannenberg, David Nadal, Joseph Richard Negro, scott A peterson, Matt Pogue, Michael Raco-Rands, Tom Recchion, Silas Ritchie, Marco Schindelmann, and Kevin Schlei.