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Quote of the Week: Talking Guns

From African Feedback (Errant Bodies), the new book by Alessandro Bosetti:

For example, there are old men who have guns, weapons that they killed animals with. Then you put the sound of these guns into the computer and they can talk about the animals they killed.
That’s the recorded statement from an unidentified man in the African city of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, responding to music that Bosetti, an Italian musician and sound artist, plays for him on a pair of headphones.

The music auditioned by Bosetti for the man included pieces by Bernard Parmegiani, Steve Lacy, and Linoel Marchetti. Bosetti traveled around Mali and Burkina Faso, playing experimental music and simultaneously recording the reactions of individuals to the presumably unfamiliar sounds.

African Feedback contains a CD pieced together from those reactions, which are paired with the original music. The text of the book is a transcript in English of the interviews, most of which had been conducted in French or, with the assistance of an interpreter, in the languages Moré or Dogon.

A free MP3 download of African Feedback was the subject of the August 21, 2006, Disquiet Downstream (disquiet.com). More info at errantbodies.org and at Bosetti’s homepage, melgun.net. Thanks again to Aaron Ximm, of quietamerican.org, who introduced African Feedback to me, and to Bosetti, who agreed to an interview when he passed through Berkeley late last year.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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