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Sounding out technology.
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Otherworldly Boston Pops MP3

The Borgesian effect of wandering through the archive of the avant-garde that is ubu.com was easily achieved: the entries aren’t date-stamped. The result is a simultaneity in which “new” work — that is, new uploads of work by — Yoko Ono and Marcel Duchamp suggests them as contemporaries. Yes, the date of the work’s origination is almost always present, but the date on which the material became part of ubu.com is not. Any writing about ubu.com runs the risk of proclaiming as newly presented material that’s, in fact, been lurking in the background. Case in point, the sound art of Alejandra Salinas and Aeron Bergman, much of which is archived at the ubu.com/sound/aa.html. The pair use field recordings and found sounds to dissociative ends, one highlight being a very personal piece in which Bergman transformed a cache of inherited cassette tapes into a droning requiem for a grandparent.

“Bostonpopsreverbformydeadgrandpa” (MP3), with its unwieldy yet straightforward title, takes tapes left to Bergman by his music-enthusiast grandfather, who seems to have been quite a character, and adds extensive reverb — in this particular piece warping the already strings-rich Boston Pops into something gossamer, the echo a sonic symbol of his grandfather’s passing.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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