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Sounding out technology.
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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Scanner 4/4: God Sample the Queen

4th of 4 free Scanner tracks in a row: a meditative anthem

There is national music, and there are national anthems. There is music that is derived from regional culture, and there is music that is composed with the intention of encapsulating, of standing for, that culture. “God Save the Queen” is a template for national anthems, echoed throughout the globe in various of England’s colonies, vestigial and otherwise — it’s a palimpsest subsumed in the United States’ own “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (not its national anthem, of course, but a close second).

“God Save the Queen” was also the source material for Scanner‘s “Anthem,” which subsumes the song even further still. Commissioned for the 2012 Olympics (and Paralymics), “Anthem” slows the British national anthem past the point of recognizability, until it is as thin as the material from which one might cut a flag. It’s ethereal rather than rousing. And, by Scanner’s own design, a bit renegade. The audio was installed at Lancaster House, which, as Scanner (aka Robin Rimbaud) explains, is a high-security building. He infused his work with a double sense of infiltration. First, he had it playing in the Lancaster bathrooms, assuring that every visitor was sure to hear it in an especially intimate manner. And he posted it online for free download, assuring that all who couldn’t penetrate the fortress would still hear its music.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/scanner. More on Scanner at scannerdot.com.

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Scanner 3/4: Vertical Sound

3rd of 4 free Scanner tracks in a row: future of elevator music

“Mind the doors, please.” If you step into the elevator at the gallery Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm, Sweden, those familiar words serve as the beginning of your short trip. They are also the opening of a sound work by Scanner, aka Robin Rimbaud, that is currently installed in the elevator, and that will continue to be through December 2 of this year. “Elevator overloaded,” the work continues. “Fourth floor. Second floor.” This isn’t a linear journey by any means.

The work, titled “Hiss Concrète,” brings together the sounds of that specific elevator with similarly sourced audio elements from Rimbaud’s extensive travels. He writes in a brief descriptive note: “The work is installed in the museum elevator, drawing attention to a very specific non place. It uses all the sounds of the elevator itself, doors, motor and ambience, combined with recordings I have made all over the globe of other elevators, bells, buzzers, gates, voice announcements for different floors, in a variety of languages from English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese and Chinese.” It’s part of More Than Sound, an exhibit at Bonniers Konsthall that features work from Tarek Atoui, Hans Berg, Nathalie Djurberg, Malin BÃ¥ng, AyÅŸe Erkmen, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Susan Hiller, Matti Kallioinen, Haroon Mirza, and Susan Philipsz, in addition to Scanner/Rimbaud.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/scanner. More on Scanner at scannerdot.com. More on the Bonniers Konsthall exhibit at bonnierskonsthall.se.

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Scanner 2/4: Joy Re-division

2nd of 4 free Scanner tracks in a row: Joy Division reworked

It’s an orchestration minus the orchestra. It’s an imagined myriad-instrumental version of a proto-electronic song rendered here as an electronic protype. It’s early post-punk re-imagined in light of post-rock’s affection for classical music. What it is is Scanner’s version of the band Joy Division’s song “Heart and Soul,” heard as a lightly glitchy expanse, with a gurgling undercurrent. Scanner, aka Robin Rimbaud, explains in a brief liner note that it’s an unreleased demo for the Live_Transmission project with Heritage Orchestra: “This is my early studio demo that was then arranged for the orchestra and live band to be performed on stage at the Brighton Festival in May 2012.”

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/scanner. More on Scanner at scannerdot.com. More on Heritage Orchestra at theheritageorchestra.com.

And, for reference, the original song, from the album Closer (1980):

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Scanner 1/4: Voices in the Ether

1st of 4 free Scanner tracks in a row: collage of early work

Some 600 hours of previously unreleased material, newly digitized and awaiting a broader set of ears — this is the status of Scanner’s archival project, which has him diving into his earliest recordings, dating back to 1977, as he describes the situation in a brief liner note to Colofon & Compendium 1991-1994 (Sub Rosa), a compilation that has resulted from this ongoing effort. The album is due out October 30, but in the meanwhile there is “Colofon & Compendium (redux).” It’s a medley of material from the album, an “exclusive collage,” as he puts it. This music dates from the era when Robin Rimbaud earned the name Scanner, in that he used a police scanner to pull voices from the ether and then, in real time and in the studio, would add music to dramatize the overheard conversation, lending emotional and narrative weight and context. Scanner doesn’t employ the scanner as often as he once did, but for longtime listeners to his work, this early eavesdropping gives additional meaning to his subsequent employment of spoken and sung information.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/scanner. More on Scanner at scannerdot.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0042: Naive Melody

The Assignment: Use your oldest and newest instruments in recording an original track.

Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

This is a set of the tracks created in this project. At the time of this update, there were 24:

The assignment was made in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, October 18, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, October 22, as the deadline. (There are no translations this week.)

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto).

Disquiet Junto Project 0042: Naive Melody

You will employ just two instruments in the production of this week’s track: (1) the instrument you have used for the longest period of time and (2) the instrument in your possession that is newest to you. You’ll record a backing track with the oldest instrument, and overlay on it a simple melody of your choosing performed on the newest instrument.

Definition: The term “instrument” can be interpreted as broadly as you’d like; ultimately this is a project about the restraints inherent in the gadgets, tools, and software that you have obtained or created.

Background: The inspiration for this project is the song “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” by the band Talking Heads off the album Speaking in Tongues. For that song, the band members traded instruments, each playing something they were significantly less familiar with than the instrument they normally performed on.

Restrictions: You can use any source material, any instrumentation, except the human voice.

Deadline: Monday, October 22, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your finished work should be between 1.5 and 3 minutes in length.

Information: Please, when posting your track on SoundCloud, include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0042-naivemelody”in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: Please consider setting your track for free download.

Linking: When posting the track, be sure to include this information:

More on this 42nd Disquiet Junto project at:

Disquiet Junto Project 0042: Naive Melody

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/info/

The image up top is a still from the original video for the Talking Heads song “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody).”

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