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First Gristleism Mix? (MP3)

What is the sound of one hand drawing? That’s something Werner Pfarr, a German living in the South of France, regularly sets out to determine.

Barely a week or so on the market, and the first — to my knowledge — Gristleism mix is up on the web. Gristleism is an inexpensive sound gadget that’s the result of a collaboration between the legendary band Throbbing Gristle and Christiaan Virant, of the duo FM3, on whose Buddha Machine it is modeled. It is a small plastic box, the front of which is simply a speaker. It contains 13 loops, all segments of industrial drones from the dank Gristle archives, and includes rudimentary controls to alter the volume and speed of a given loop.

The mix in question is a two-minute experiment by Pfarr (MP3), and it was posted at archive.org. (It’s an excerpt of a piece that Pfarr estimates at being half an hour in length.) There’s additional information on the project, titled “Audible Drawing 10,” at Pfarr’s website, wernerpfarr.blogspot.com.

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“Audible drawing” is just that: the sound of the pencil on paper, as well as whatever sounds might be in the background. In the case of Pfarr’s very first audible drawing, that meant a field recording of the natural environment in which he drew. For the Gristleism audible, it’s the purposeful addition of the grungy gurgle of a loop from the gadget, whose shadow he roughly sketches on Bristol board, as shown in the before (photo) and after (drawing) images here:

The loop Pfarr used is the very first one on the Gristleism box, “Persuasion.” The recording is titled “Audible Drawing 10” because it is his 10th such experiment.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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