Wherein “ten easy listening records played at the same time (either in “two-second gaps” or “variable gaps”) that take you right up above the muzak ether.” The design and execution of this particular curiosity are green and impeccable. It’s a bit like changing channels on the radio, this – however, the only stations available are the easy listening ones. This is not necessarily a bad thing – and this would make a fantastic installation piece. At times, the waves of nostalgia buffet gently against one’s craft, depending on whatever pharmaceuticals one has at hand – at other times, it’s as if the drug spiral drags one down through the nightmare psycho-logical sequences from a 1960s film where the ending is anything but certain.
In the face of considerable – yet identifiable cacophony – the mind picks out recognizable and comforting snippets (usually rhythmic) with which to console itself. Alessandro Alessandroni is the person behind the unique whistling on the Sergio Leone Western soundtracks. That’s the most vivid thing I could find.
This is a simultaneously comforting and cacophonic series of recordings – a rare duality indeed.
Disco Graphie – Collecting clues on new sound territories
“The Anti-Fun Magazine”
(Media Library of the French Community in Belgium)
Listening Note 113 – Monday
November 18, 2002
David Schafer – “x10R.1 – x1-R.2”
A work of collage, but almost a document, a research project, a study on a traumatic section of our universal musical culture (2 copious CD for a very vast and complex matter). One could say [it is] the analysis of the repressive and coercive role of the liberal music of department store, music[s] of conditioning, forced therapies at the service of a fun vision of your situation in society.
And everything goes. By successive waves. Overlapping, interpenetrating. Impetuous waves of sublime sillinesses. Primped [looking pretty]. Layers of tap dancing. Layers of chabada. A swirl for the romantic rags [magazines]. Tons of the pathetic. A flood of orchestral vacuities. Layers of “Volare” [the song]. Layers of spaghetti westerns. Layers of jingle bells. Layers of melodies of happiness. A swirl of sound tapes for certificates of the good life and morals. Syrupy praise of quietness, of the flat social electroencephalogram. Layers of “whisper” [speak more quietly]. Layers of heroic tear jerkers.
From superposition to superposition, here is a fabulous oozing pile-up.
All of these musics of the century are the testimony of a will to contain anguish, to drive back anxiety, to contain impulses in a watched [in the sense of surveillance], policed environment. And in this accumulation carried out by David Schafer, something occurs, unforeseen. Accumulation, the reactivated memory of pressures exerted on the social by these sterilizing ditties, makes these insipidities suddenly, excessively aggressive. It is complete symbolic violence contained – applied in homeopathic amounts, to the body of the social – which suddenly breaks out all at once.
What a grand disturbance!
From the infernal orchestra pit rises the nightmare! It overflows, oozes from everywhere, formidable nausea (“Clockwork Orange” style, except that here the horror is distilled by the most asexual music[s], the least suggestive to the act – it is a whole enterprise of repression which suddenly throws up).
Impressive! Trying! Essential experiment.
David Schafer is a Los Angeles-based artist who has also put Muzak samples to good use in his new two-CD set x10R.1/ x10R.2. He got his hands on the Muzak library and simply superimposed 10 CDs worth of the stuff on top of one another, all playing at the same time. It’s nerve-grating: what starts out as “easy listening” is instantly transformed into “uneasy listening.” Dozens of different string-based tempos swirl around one another, with an occasional pop melody making itself known before sinking back into the sonic mess. I heard bits of “Volare,” “Raindrops Keeps Falling on My Head” and “Theme from A Man and A Woman” among
dozens of others. Choruses of whistles, the clatter of snare drums, whining accordions and tinkling piano all weave in and out of this insanely dense texture, continuing on for two full CDs (the first is a straight superimposition; the second one is slightly manipulated, so that the melodies are more audible).