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Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Barbershop Field-Recording MP3

Like its earlier Downstream entry (see the highly recommended “Le Saint Jean,” January 7, 2004, here), Soundvial‘s “Steven Head” MP3 has all the makings of a short indie film — well, a very short indie film (at just over six minutes), and one without any visuals. The track manages to tell a story of sorts, with little more than some occasionally unintelligible spoken audio and a soundtrack of slow-going electric guitar, a bit of percussion (a spare jazz kit), and these subtle textures that make themselves apparent only on the second or third listen. Prominent among these latter elements, of course, is the buzz of the haircut that is the putative subject of the recorded narrative, but others include extended runs of reverb that loop around like water in the ears, and filters applied to the spoken segments that may or may not simply be unintended consequences of recording slyly (to MiniDisc?) on the go in a cramped space. The dialog is a conversation at a barbershop, plus the phone call that precedes it: a study in intimate but cautiously unrevealing old-world exchanges. Fans of Scanner will dig it, but so will fans of Jim Jarmusch. (More on the Soundvial duo, Ken Reisman and Matt Simon, at soundvial.org. The “Steven Head” MP3 is downloadable directly here.)

By Marc Weidenbaum

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