A 30-minute segment of a piece that Janek Schaefer performed one month ago, on January 20, as part of the Sound:Space sonic arts symposium in England, has been uploaded as the latest entry in the Gene Pool Podcast series of the Digital Media Centre. It achieves its meta state through simple means. A man’s voice is heard so that each phrase is spoken first into one ear, then the other, and perhaps a third. That the man is saying things like “present in time future” and “what might have been is an abstraction” and, ultimately, “footfalls echo in the memory” gives the repetitions additional meaning. The poem, of course, is T.S. Eliot‘s “Burnt Norton.” In time, an additional element is introduced, chiming background synthesis that nestles the stanzas (MP3).
For a more raw take on this layering, download the version on Schaefer’s audioh.com website (MP3). In that edit, which is just over three minutes, nothing is heard but the voice, playing out thanks to three separate tone arms on his single, ingenious Tri-Phonic Turntable. More info at sound-space.info and digitalmediacentre.org. Full text of Eliot’s poem, if you weren’t encouraged to memorize it during school, at tristan.icom43.net.