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    talking about sounds

    Stylus Magazine just published a long interview that Scott McKeating did with Chris and I (as Number None), largely focusing on our album Urmerica, released around this time last year.

    Those of you who are curious can follow the link, but I was pretty pleased with this particular exchange, in which I manage to semi-seriously use the word "aura":

    Scott: Are you believers that a recorded sound holds elements of meaning beyond the actual sound? For example, would an abattoir field recording contain elements of absolute horror that weren’t audible?

    JB: When we were on tour this March I asked Carlo Steegen (of Hardline Elephants) what was the last piece of music he heard that scared him. He told me about Bob Ostertag's recording of a boy digging a grave for his father, who has been killed by the El Salvadorian National Guard; digging sounds, crying, and a buzzing fly. This recording is available as a free download on Ostertag's site, by the way, if you want to freak yourself out. Even further along these lines we have John Duncan's notorious recording of himself having sex with a corpse. The contexts here are quite horrific—they generate negative energy that seems adequately described by the term 'aura.' As for how much of that "aura" can be transferred to the listener via the process of recording, that's anybody's guess. I think most people who engage in the practice of magic would say that, yes, recording technology is going to capture some of that aura and will in fact replicate it in playback. This can also be thought about using Bruno Latour's theory of the 'anthropological matrix,' which describes the way in which indigenous people tend to conceptualise their tools and their interpersonal relationships and their natural world as part of a hybridised, organically bound web. I think it's possible to talk about recording technology as something that works as a part of that web. In short, I believe that a sound has a power and a recorded sound in playback maintains that power."

    Lots more where that came from.



    Friday, July 21, 2006
    9:53 AM


    Yeah, but does it "swing"?
    That question reminded me, D., that I've been listening to the Water and Architecture sampler you gave me a while back... I really like those Bisk tunes, which while they are just about as fractured and "avant" a music as anyone could possibly want, they also somehow manage to convey some definite swing. A balancing act I rarely see done that well.
    Do you have "Strange or Funny Ha-Ha?". Those tracks you have are the shit, but SOFHH is worth having as well. Bisk is a guy who doesnt really sound like anyone else.

    Glad you're doin well. I'll pop you an email tonight.
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