The Mechanisms

A score cue by Michel Banabila

This loop is three minutes and thirty three seconds during which time moves forward and backward. There is a clickety-clack to it that tells you the mechanisms are functioning, but also that they are old ones. There is no expectation on the listener’s part that those clicks and clacks are literal, that they are fully in sync with range of sounds we hear, that they are the sounds of what is transforming what we hear. They may be in part, but more than likely the technological processing of which the music is fully redolent is beyond that which mere gears can accomplish. The clicks and clacks are signals of the transformation that is underway throughout. The results of which include piano that composer Gavin Bryars would nod approvingly toward: underwater like a shipwreck, like a memory. The ground-level fog of a drone has a breathless quality, held in a manner no mere mortal could achieve without something plugged in or otherwise powered. The little crevices here and there are like the broken pottery equivalent of grace notes, fractures that lend texture, warmth, humanity. It’s a beautiful piece. Based on the track’s title, “Cassette Loops,” those bits of mechanical curiosity are, perhaps, the sounds of the loops playing back, little plastic wheels turning round, seams causing a slight tug and then the tape’s release, motor running on the most mundane of batteries: the fragile enterprise writ small, and magnified through our loudspeakers and headphones.

The music is from an NTR documentary, Kein Geloel, by Thomas Vroege and David Kleijwegt, about sports figure Ernst Happel. Track originally posted at More from Banabila at

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