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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Marcus Fischer Live in His Home Studio

A video shot last fall in Portland, Oregon

Marcus Fischer is currently participating in an artist residency at the Rauschenberg Foundation on Captiva Island off the Florida coast. His Instagram feed is filling up with images and brief videos captured during his time there: Sugimoto-like pictures of the sea and a studio as white as a Rauschenberg painting. He’s suspending tape loops from the ceiling and quoting his fellow residents about the changes afoot in American politics.

The Instagram materials constitute beautiful slivers of his goings-on, but fortunately Datachoir is filling the void with a 17-minute video of Fischer alone in his Portland, Oregon, home studio — one continuous solo performance for electric guitar, synthesizer, pine cones, and other tools. The constituent parts are far more than the sum total of the sounds. He takes near-silent textures and generates light dustings from them. He strokes the guitar once, and then transforms the chord into something muted yet majestic. And while he plays, the videographer tours his studio, focusing in on his instruments, on a matrix routers and additional guitars, on cabling and boxes of spare parts.

I’ve worked on several projects with Fischer myself, and I recall an instance where someone we were newly working with asked what his primary instrument is. I struggled to explain there wasn’t a single focus of his music-making imagination. That studio is his instrument, and watching him employ it at length is a true pleasure.

It’s on the Datachoir Sounds YouTube channel. I’ve added it to my playlist of longform ambient performances. More from Fischer at mapmap.ch and marcus-fischer.bandcamp.com. Previous Datachoir videos have featured Summer Mastous, Nate Dalton, and Jeremiah Green, among others.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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