Leonardo Music Journal essay published spring 2002

Leonardo Music Journal
Volume 11 (2001) with Compact Disc
Not Necessarily "English Music": Britain's Second Golden Age
Leonardo Music Journal (LMJ) is a print journal, published annually with an accompanying compact disc.
LMJ is edited by Leonardo/the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, and published
by the MIT Press. Subscriptions and individual issues can be ordered from the MIT Press.

Edited and Introduced by Nicholas Collins

Articles by: Alvin Lucier, Eddie Prévost, Hugh Davies, Janek Schaefer, Joe Banks, Robin Rimbaud,, Michael Parsons,
Coriún Aharonián, Sarah E. Walker, Matthew Sansom, Ranulph Glanville, Lawrence Casserley and Stuart Jones.

LMJ volume 11 : other contributor abstracts


‘AudiOh! - Appropriation, Accident, & Alteration’
The stories of Recorded Delivery, the Tri-phonic Turntable and Eccentric/Fragmented Vinyl.

Janek Schaefer: written spring 2001

[image 1]

ABSTRACT

The major theme that runs through my work as a sound artist/musician, up to this point, is the appropriation and alteration of sound and it’s existing audio reproduction systems. The projects I refer to in the title all use familiar devices in ways which both usurp and extend their inherent characteristics and imperfections. As ideas they all re-examine the use of the ready-made, be it with objects or sounds. Recorded Delivery appropriated a sound-activated dictaphone to trace the journey of a parcel travelling through the post. The Tri-Phonic Turntable was invented to accidentally manipulate and discover ‘new’ sounds buried within any vinyl terrain and lastly I cut my Wow 7" eccentrically on the record to induce a fluctuation in the sound play back and thus alter it’s fundamental nature.
Profession:
Architect, Musician, Sound Artist & Graphic Designer
Mailing Address:
AudiOh!, 34 Crewdson Rd, London, SW9 0LJ, England


ARTICLE

The first time I remember being asked ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up’ I answered ‘an inventor’. My father and grandfather were both creative scientists, both of whom died regrettably well before they saw me fulfill this early ambition. The three inventions/ideas I describe in this article all respond to or answer a particular situation or ‘brief’ requiring [in my estimation] an innovative response. This approach is rooted in my years spent training as an architect both at Manchester Polytechnic and latterly at the Royal College of Art where my projects specialised in the relationship between sound, space and place. I believe then, that I have been ‘trained’ to [re] examine the world around me and formulate new solutions and responses based on those observations. With this in mind my work as a sound artist/musician re-examines the use of the ready-made, it’s appropriation and alteration, both in terms of sound and its related reproduction technologies. Through working in this manner I have utilised familiar devices in ways which both usurp and extend their inherent characteristics and imperfections.
In my working technique, the enabling of accidents is of paramount importance, both through the planning, and the execution of ideas. I am very much dedicated to the act of processing, allowing the original idea to develop itself and letting that process or intuitive interaction guide the project. In Recorded Delivery the sound activated function of the Dictaphone was appropriated to create a random and accidental condensing of time during it’s journey. The sound it encountered would be its guide and master. The Tri-Phonic Turntable is inversely a schizophrenic interpreter of the physical ‘record’, also with a personality of it's own, but one which can be curated and taught by the operator. It is a multiple and variable accident making machine. It too has the ability of compressing [musical] time, but also possesses the ability to expand it. For my Wow 7" the standard cutting and playback technique developed over the years to achieve an accurate sonic representation on vinyl was fundamentally altered.
It has always been my objective to reveal through experimentation the new potential bound within existing sound ‘systems’. There are of course many overlaps between the areas of ‘appropriation, accident & alteration’ by which I have chosen to categorise my work for this essay, but each project is guided by a particular approach.

 

RECORDED DELIVERY: ‘Appropriation’

For me the art of installation is guided by the desire to be site-specific. An Installation in Art terms is by its very nature to be placed in a particular environment. This environment should be the seed of the idea, it’s inspiration. The work should be generated by the specifics of that situation in conjunction with the general themes of the artist at large. Recorded Delivery was in fact my first project using sound as the main theme in my work. I had previously trained as a classical musician at school, but the necessity of achieving a kind of ‘true’ representation or limited interpretation of the composition led me down a cul-de-sac in my creative ambitions. Hence I have developed approaches that are revealed in this article.
Recorded Delivery began when I encountered an invitation in the lift addressed to all students at the Royal College of Art. It described a situation essentially, and asked for reponses. An exhibition of the selections was to be called ‘Self Storage’ and curated/run by the Art Angel organisation in conjunction with Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson. We [the students] were invited to propose an idea which was to be inspired by the location of the exhibition, a Self-Storage Centre sited next to Wembley Stadium in London. It was an intriguing prospect, a building composed of anonymous rooms filled with random clutter from everyday life invaded by artists. My first thought was instinctively to visit the site and search out some inspiration derived by the subtleties of the interior and the act of discovering the space. When I inquired as to when I could do this I was told that it was impossible for me/everyone to do so. This then presented quite a problem for me. How could you do an installation that was specific to the exact space/environment of the installation without even experiencing it?
The answer was quite a simple one as it turned out. The very nature of the building was itself fascinating. Rooms and rooms filled with boxes of objects that were often moved from place to place [Image 2]. It was these boxes that were the essence of its purpose. So what could be derived from this? They were indeed specific to each room, and to all but their owners, a secret. Each room and each box was a mystery lying dormant, and each of these boxes had been taken from a specific destination to arrive at this new location. This was the genesis of my idea
By simply sending an object to the designated room of my proposed installation, I would actually be creating a site-specific work. How to make this an interesting reality was the next stage. I imagined that these parcels had stories to tell us about their history. Stamps and addresses told only a fraction of this story. By being able to ‘record’ it’s journey I would then be creating an interesting level of information for the audience, one that was previously unknown. An audio record is a method of doing this within the framework of ‘real-time’, but presents the technological difficulty of how to capture up to 15 hours of data [for an overnight delivery]. Even if it was easily and cost effectively achievable, the result would be, in my opinion, too drawn out and pedestrian. Moments of sonic interest would be dispersed too widely for a drifting audience. The problem of how to condense this ‘time’ element started me thinking of suitable.
The invention of the ‘voice activated’ function in dictaphones/tape recorders was intended to enable recordings of information in a stationary context. What interested me about this function was firstly its automation and secondly that the sound level itself was taken to be the important determinant. Loud or ‘Interesting’ sounds were given a status, and calm or silence was ignored which was of obvious use to me. The tape recorder itself would automatically edit the recording, allowing an ‘essential’ selection to be made influenced by the fundamental specifics of the proposed journey itself. It would in essence produce a truncated ‘impression’ of its trip rather than a perfect document. In my research of what was available on the high street I found a Panasonic model which used full size standard cassettes, and as these could record up to 120 minutes it was an ideal solution [image 3]. Not only could it be used to record inside the parcel, but also play back during the installation and thus create a vital visual and conceptual link for the audience. What was also extremely useful about this model was the ‘level’ function, which was like a hearing aid for the recorder. This sensitivity dial could be rather crudely tuned to pick up only the ‘right’ levels of sonic events. These included the vibration caused by the actual handling of the parcel itself while on its journey and the atmospheric sound events heard throughout its trip.
Through very rudimentary tests I set about preparing the dictaphone for its inaugural journey. Using blue-tack I fixed the sensitivity dial to where I hoped would be the best setting for all the unknowable sound events yet to be encountered. I manufactured a purpose built cardboard parcel covered in standard brown packaging tape. A special hole was made in the cardboard lid to allow the microphone to be fixed to the underside of the thin film of packaging tape. By doing so, the sounds from outside the parcel could be most clearly captured, and the very fact that this was happening was thus disguised from the prying eyes of the post office workers. I addressed and posted the sealed parcel from the local post office, and waited for the results overnight. [image 4]
On collecting it from Acorn Self-Storage the following day I returned to the studio at college to discover the results. Firstly the dictaphone had recorded only just over an hour of sound, and not, as I had feared run out of tape. Secondly it was an exciting experience listening back to it, discovering for the first time the secrets within. The actual quality of the sounds were good, and an interesting, persistent sound punctuated the recording; the sound of the tape starting up and stopping. Listening all the way through it was clear that it had captured the whole range of atmospheres and events possible. Staff behind counters, sliding van doors, distant radio’s, singing postmen, vans in transit, clunks of the package, and by far the most exciting and unexpected sound of the early shift sorting staff swearing profusely about their alleged previous nights sexual exploits. The recording took us all the way to the parcel being signed for at the self-storage centre.
The presentation of this information and the concept was fairly simple. I enclosed the tape recorder in a ‘transparent floating plinth’ with the open parcel either side of it divulging and shedding its contents to reveal the mystery [image 5]. The installation was set up as a series of clues which pieced together the whole story. If you were inquisitive you could easily understand the process and concept by listening and looking. [image 6]
A few years later this recording was released as part of a 7" series on Hot Air records. The total recording was for this purpose subjectively edited in order to fit it on the format and consequently further maximise the highlights. The A side contained the evening part of the journey, and the B side the morning sorting and arrival. This was released in an edition of 500 pressed in Post Office red vinyl. To conclude, it may be interesting to note that when I conceived and executed Recorded Delivery I was concurrently designing a new Post Office building for my architecture course. This installation was certainly enlightening research into its interior realm.

 

THE TRI-PHONIC TURNTABLE: ‘Accidents & Abstraction’

The story behind this project was quite simply the epiphany of my musical aspirations. As I have described earlier, I played a lot of music at school, but to create music had always been a desire. At the RCA I was still just contemplating this. Back in 1995, the record label ‘Touch’ had organised an afternoon concert in the college, with a line up including the primal electronics of Panasonic [ref 1], the ethereal field recordings of Chris Watson [ref 2] and the vinyl transformations of Philip Jeck [ref 3]. This collection of artists and each of their performance/lectures was a true revelation. The blend of these three approaches to sound generation and manipulation was, in due course, to become the blue print for my own working methods. It appeared that most of the audience didn’t really know what had hit them, while I was enthralled by it all. The work of Philip Jeck in particular was, to me, an incredible example of ‘creating something from nothing’. He performed an improvisation using a few aging records in conjunction with a collection of basic effects modules. He conjured up before me a powerful other world of surrounding sounds, developed in the heat of the moment. I made the leap and went to talk to him afterwards to find out more and went home inspired. A few days later I was to find out from my mother that Philip was actually an old family friend and I had known him from my childhood.
Shortly after leaving college I was invited to create a soundtrack for a group art show called ‘Public Views 2’ curated by the Urban Salon, an architectural collaborative, and friends from the RCA. It was to be my first serious musical commission. I had little time to gather my thoughts and decided that the bright shiny Roland ‘Groovebox’ MC303 might provide a suitably swift solution. This was a very flexible ‘all in one’ type sequencing device which provided numerous sound samples of some of the more ‘Popular Music’ type sounds. I was a fan of Electronica music through college and this was my musical heritage [I had little knowledge of ‘experimental’ music at that time]. I created a soundtrack by using it to perform live collages of polyrhythmic, overlapping and pulsing tracks pushing it’s performance capabilities to the edge of it’s limitations I felt. The results fitted well with the exhibition, but neither the experience nor the sounds were conceptually driven or fulfilling. I see now that I was primarily restrained by an admittedly naïve notion that in order to create a ‘soundtrack’ I had to make it sound like a familiar form of ‘music’. This was then to prove a useful lesson and turning point in my understanding of what the function and potential of ‘Sound’ rather than ‘Music’ could actually be. Returning to consider my next move in light of these realisations I threw my hands in the air and the Groovebox in the bin. I realised that it was a dead end to be using a finite set of pre programmed sounds in this fashion. I had used it up and spat it out. Not to my taste! I was also wanting to move into a beatless space conceptually, formed from a sound palette which was new to the world. My thoughts filtered back to vinyl and the techniques of Philip’s performance. I decided that I wanted to develop radically altered collages from the limitless potential offered by the manipulation and abstraction of readymade and found sound sources.
It has always been a principle of mine to not copy ideas, but to bounce from them in order to develop new ones instead. Not to xerox, but manipulate in order to produce something new and unique to yourself. As a result one develops ones own ideas which then form a series of personal stories which is much more rewarding an experience
Records, as opposed to tapes and CD's are the most visually and physically accessible forms of sound reproduction. Records are an ‘open air’ affair. The sound is laid out before you. The potential to change this physical surface is obvious. One of the most important characteristics of sound is that it is temporal so it takes time, space and surface to reveal and store it. The history of the record has itself left vast amounts of vinyl lying dormant across the globe where virtually any sound that you could want to use is awaiting rediscovery, accidental encounters and unknown uses. It was obvious to me that it was a desirable mine field of unlimited potential to create new sounds from these sources. I decided to take the work of Philip as my cue, and in particular his installation/performance ‘Vinyl Requiem’. This utilised 180 old Dansette record players which were mounted on a vertical scaffold and were all set to play simultaneously. My idea was very simple which was to do the opposite. Instead of using lots of record players to play lots of different records I simply thought of combining several record players in one. The Tri-Phonic was born. As records can be easily accessed in many time frames/places simultaneously it was to be very efficient at maximising the potential of obscure vinyl discoveries. This invention could multiply, magnify and manipulate the essential physical surface of sound in as many ways as was practically possible. [image 7]
From this initial concept I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with it, but I knew that it would be able to fuel my desire to leave the studio and start performing live. I needed to start pushing myself out into the world and start making new friends who were interested in a similar type of music. This idea should then made to be portable and as flexible as it could practicably be, to spur on the widest exploration of the vinyl surface. It needed to be compact, so I decided that three arms was an optimum number. I could use each tone arm for the left, the right and the centre channels of the stereo field. The revolution speed needed to be as flexible as possible so that any speed within its boundaries could be set. Micro-variable control. Very importantly a reverse mode was essential and just for good measure I designed it so that up to 3 records could be played at once. This was possible by putting a 7" or 10" on top of an LP on the platter and then by using a central spacer another disc can be placed above and played by the third arm which I fitted at a higher level. Practically speaking this covered all potential possibilities [except one arm playing upside down on the underside of the raised disc]. Finally I routed the stereo signal from each arm through an integrated mixer to make it truly self contained.
So I then had to build it. I had no workshop at the time, which determined that I got the carcass made for me by a flightcase manufacturer. It would then be self-contained and ready for travelling the world. The realisation of the other physical elements of the design were able to be undertaken at home quite easily. It was the electronics that gave me the biggest headache. I had no friends that could help with the simple circuits that I needed designing. My knight in shinning armour came in the guise of a shop keeper who resided in the back of Henry’s Audio on Edgeware Rd. I had to try and persuade him more than once to reveal his electronics wisdom to me. Explaining in rather rudimentary terms what I wanted to achieve, he eventually handed me a bag of components and scribbled out the circuit diagram on a scrap of paper. He unceremoniously told me to just ‘put it together’! Considering I had no electronics knowledge and could not even solder this proved a difficult task. By a painful process of trail and error I finally worked out the solution and assembled the final design. At last it worked. From the onset it wasn’t clear exactly what I had built. By chance the platter could revolve from one and a half to seventy-seven and a half revolutions per minute, so all records could be played as normal before being altered.
The inaugural ‘world premier’ was hosted by my friends at the Urban Salon on my birthday, in a small courtyard adjacent to their tiny office on a balmy summers evening. This happened also to be located right next to the studios of Pete ‘the hit maker’ Waterman [formally of ‘Stock Aitkin and Waterman’]. During the evening I ‘performed’ some very rudimentary yet quite explanatory plunderphonic collages which explored the infinite potential of the Tri-Phonic. The previous night I had discovered that Kylie Monougue’s hit ‘I Should be so Lucky’ [Produced by Pete Waterman] when played far too slowly sounded remarkably like Rick Astley [another artist on the same label]. A wonderful and amusing coincidence. At this point the staff of the recording studio flung open the doors and looked rather comically and questioningly at the throng of guests watching the proceedings. Unfortunately Pete wasn’t there that night! Another of these early explorations of the Tri-Phonics ability was to play Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ with the three needles in the same groove, acting as a raw delay device. On hearing this, my girlfriend explained quite wonderfully that this fantastic dance record had been rendered un-danceable! A great summation of the Tri-Phonics’ potential. Admittedly these early experiments proved to be slightly gimmicky, but were an interesting starting point on my journey of discovery which would lead to my current manifestations.
After several years of developing and honing my playing techniques, moving away from plunderphonica, the most useful purpose of my turntable has proved to be when using multiple locked groove records in performance. I have cut my own Dub-Plates [a one off record] of locked grooves and have used several other locked groove releases which I play by bouncing the needle around the record, accessing each groove randomly and working the discoveries into the mix. It was after all an accidental instrument from birth. This can be done in both a forceful or calm manner, which is reflected in my developing musical ‘style’. For the first few years when preparing my live performances I took these accidents and noted down what was happening. I then made up annotated score sheets, which were sequences of previous accidents [image 8]. I developed these scores slightly for each performance until I felt that I had recorded an accomplished pair of ‘successful’ live ‘scored’ recordings. By ‘Successful’ I mean ones where I had realised all the planned sequences without overt obvious blunders [in my opinion]. Of course further accidents occurred while performing live, but this was the purpose - to harness that real-time sense of occasion [image 9]. The results of this period are documented on the album ‘OUT’ [see audiography]. The artwork for this design [image 10] was produced by slicing up various record covers, and gluing them back together, much in the same vein as the music.
One subsequent result of my invention and consequent performative development of the Tri-Phonic Turntable was that I was chosen by Creative Review Magazine UK as their ‘Sound Designer of the Year’ in 1999. Since then I have been performing without pre-determined ‘scores’, allowing the soundscape to develop freely and naturally in the form of an improvisation. The sound sources are largely derived from my collections of short phrases & events recorded to mini disc. These are then interwoven around other sonically and visually stimulating live processes including an ancient turntable and my new ‘Twin’ turntable. This is a two tone arm record player that I built to be much more portable yet retaining the essential characteristics of the Tri-Phonic. I have also been using software to develop more controlled and detailed compositions resulting in my first studio album, ‘Above Buildings’. This album was largely created from the studio manipulation and live re-workings of contact microphone recordings sourced from trips around England, France, Canada and the USA. The most eloquent way to describe the intentions of my current work and the results of this CD is by borrowing the words of Forced Exposure who wrote that Above.Buildings, ‘expands on the familiarity of everyday life, bringing the enormous, infinite universe down to whisper a secret in your ear’. I was awarded an ‘Honorary Mention’ at the Prix Ars Electronica Digital Musics competition in 2001 for this work.

 

ECCENTRIC & FRAGMENTED VINYL: ‘Alteration’

My focus on vinyl manipulation developed a new focus in 1999. I was invited by Diskono records [a Scottish record label collective] to take part in their ‘Physical Remix’ series. This was a collection of 7"s which vastly extended and altered the concept of the ‘remix’ in musical culture. The series invites musicians [I was the second] to make a standard 7" record. This was to be released as normal but then also distributed to a host of both musical and visual artists, [the remixers]. They were each asked to physically change the visual and sonic qualities of the disc itself. As the musician at the start of this process I had then been asked to ‘make’ a record in the usual way, but this didn’t seem to be questioning the idea far enough for my liking. I started then to think about the processes of cutting a record itself to find a new way of altering the sound by changing its relation to the way records were actually manufactured in the first place. My intention then was to explore the idea of the physical remix through the record in its initial form. How to fundamentally alter the medium?
Over the last few years, being a newcomer to the ‘Turntablist’ pigeonhole, I have been learning about its history. I enjoyed discovering the shattered vinyl collages / no packaging works of Christian Marclay, Boyd Rice’s early locked groove recordings with alternative holes in the disc and the glorious 1939 composition ‘Imaginary Landscape 1’ by John Cage for test tone record with turntables. Taking these concepts on board and thinking of ways to progress, I had been experimenting with off-axis holes and ‘test tone’ records with the Tri-Phonic, performing three part sine wave chords in development, made from these individual test tone sounds. This is where my solution was to emerge from, the complete exploration of the technical flaw known as ‘Wow’ [as in Wow and Flutter]. By positioning a record eccentrically under the tone arm, the disc rotates at varying speeds as the arm moves from side to side, which then alters the pitch of the sound. This wobbling effect [Wow] is in technical terms described in the dictionary as, ‘the slow pitch fluctuation in sound reproduction, perceptible in long notes’. If I could actually cut a track eccentrically on the ‘acetate’ [the first disc used in the process of creating a record] itself then the record would rotate normally [symmetrically] on the player itself, but make the arm wave from side to side inducing the wow sound. This was both a fundamentally different realisation and technique to the alternate holes of Boyd Rice’s Pagan Muzak I felt. It was a playful idea grounded first in the alteration of the product/process itself and also it’s historical precedent. My own physical remix concept had been conceived. [image 11]
The recording of ‘Wow’ [the composition] is then a collage of long declining and slowly rising off-axis fluctuating test tones [recorded from the Tri-Phonic], with a slowly widening [electronically generated] sine wave and concluding in a locked groove sourced from a test tone 7". This results in an organic and mesmeric hybrid, which is to the point and is also essentially derived from the concept of deviation. After months of telephoning cutting studios around the country trying to explain what I had in mind, with many puzzled responses, I finally discovered an open minded engineer in London. On the first side of the record the composition was cut [almost] conventionally on the acetate, being symmetrically positioned, but it had no run-in or run-out groove. This produced a very visually dense and isolated band of sound. In preparation for the all important eccentric cut I drilled another hole for the spindle of the lathe just next to the original central one. The same composition was then cut again around this new hole, with the acetate disc revolving off centre on the platter. This meant that when this eccentric cut was pressed using the original spindle hole, the band of sound was automatically positioned eccentrically on the surface of the 7". Although difficult to explain this is essentially a very simple process, which I have plans to expand on in due course with overlapping eccentric grooves at some stage. What proved harder in the end was getting the pressing plant to realise that the eccentric side was not a mistake. Letters passed back and forth and eventually they understood that all you had to do was press it exactly as normal to achieve the result desired. Amazingly though when I received the final copies the pressing plant had managed to press the ‘normal’ side very slightly off-axis as well, so it too wobbled in tone. The whole batch had to be re-melted and made again.
The 7" was finally released in hand transformed white LP sleeves. The sleeves were re-cut into 12" by 7" ‘folders’ with a fold over flap and contained an addressed envelope inviting the purchaser to send off to receive a free copy of the second stage physical remixes. The remixes themselves have been very wide ranging in their approach. The discussion and illustration of these is outside the scope of this article. They are being documented and archived by Diskono on their web site which can be found at http://www.findo.freeserve.co.uk
I’d like to end by discussing my next project, which should be realised at some point in the near future. It too involves another newly invented experimental cutting technique. Titled ‘Skate’, this time I am attempting to usurp the linear nature of the record. Sound, as I have said is a temporal medium, it’s always revealed through time, and on a record this is a wide flat surface, constituting space. Another of the technical functions of the modern record player is its anti-skate function. This attempts to prevent the tone arm from unduly sliding across the surface of the disc, which would consequently place uneven pressure on one side of the stereo stylus. My intention is to break down these givens and focus on achieving the opposite characteristics. I intend the needle to skate around a fragmented landscape of separated sound events. [image 12]
Firstly I intend to cut incomplete revolutions of sound on the acetate. The potential is there to create scars of sound as short as a centimeter or less, which is very short in terms of actual playing time [depending on the play back speed]. They may range from a fraction of a second up to one second at 33.3rpm. This will by its very nature be a random process, building up a texture of fragmented and scattered arcs across the ‘land’ of the record. When it is played, the needle will stumble into a groove, play the sound and then hit the blank land of the disc and skate until it discovers it’s next furrow. This land will itself have a certain sound imbued in it. This process will then carry on as the record player, the performer and the disc itself all combine to create a composition, different every time and theoretically ad infinitum. Depending on the setting of the tone-arm anti-skate balance, the needle may also lock into a continuous cycle creating rhythmic repetitive patterns in development. Different playing speeds and different turntables will determine different compositions. This is an ideal product for playing on the Tri-Phonic or Twin as all the arms play simultaneously and at the same speed. The nature of this concept will mean that all the rhythms created would each be in time with each other. Accidents I predict will abound.


References:

1. Panasonic, ‘Vakio’ CD, Blast First Records 1995
2. Chris Watson, ‘Stepping Into The Dark’ CD, Touch Records, 1996.
3. Philip Jeck, ‘Loopholes’ CD, Touch Records 1995.Figure Captions:
NOTE: I have supplied two of the images as colour in case they can be used as such. You may select either or alternatively they can be reproduced in black and white if appropriate.


Image 1:
AudiOh!
The onomatopoeic logo designed for my own record label. A word which attempts to embody the approach to my work as a sound artist and musician.
Image 2:
Acorn Self Storage Centre.
An illustration depicting the essence of the self storage facility which was to inspire the concept for my ‘Recorded Delivery’ project. The exhibition ‘Self Storage’ was produced by the Art Angel organisation and curated by Brian Eno.
Image 3
Recorded Delivery 1995. Mixed media.
The full sized cassette recorder which I sent through the post to Acorn Self Storage. By fine tuning its sound activated function I was able to capture 72 minutes worth information from a 16 hour overnight delivery.
Image 4:
Recorded Delivery 1995. Mixed media.
The Recorded Delivery parcel on display in it’s protective ‘Floating Plinth’.
Image 5:
Recorded Delivery 1995. Mixed media.
The parcel containing the sound activated tape recorder was displayed shedding its contents so as to reveal the method by which the concept had been realised.
Image 6:
Recorded Delivery 1995. Mixed media.
The audience was encouraged to explore the installation and listen to the secret sounds revealed during its journey through the post office process. The sounds were played back to them directly from the tape recorder which had enabled them to be caught and edited automatically during its delivery.
Image 7:
The Tri-Phonic Turntable. 1997.
My self constructed three tone arm, bi-directional, micro vari-speed, multiple record player.
Image 8:
Performance Score. 1999.
A typical annotated ‘Score’ which I used to sequence discoveries made previously in the studio in order to perform a live soundscape ‘composition’. The results from this process can be heard on my CD ‘OUT’ [see Audiography]
Image 9:
Scratch, Crackle and Pop.
A performance during an exhibition of ‘Vinyl Art’ at The Phoenix Gallery in Brighton, UK, 1998.
Image 10:
‘OUT’ CD art work. 1999.
A hand manipulated collage sourced from various record sleeves for the cover of my debut live CD.
Image 11:
Eccentric Vinyl. 2000.
An illustration depicting the results of my ‘Eccentric Vinyl’ cutting technique, initially developed for my Wow 7" release.
Image 12:
Fragmented Vinyl. 2001.
An illustration anticipating the potential of my ‘Fragmented Vinyl’ cutting technique. It is anticipated that the needle will skate around the surface of the record playing the separate short scars of sound randomly.
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Short Biography
Janek Schaefer was born in England to Polish and Canadian parents in 1970 and received the ‘year prize’ in architecture at the Royal College of Art in 1996. His most notable work as a sound artist and musician has been the invention of the Tri-Phonic Turntable, the development of revolutionary new vinyl cutting techniques and his Recorded Delivery project which sent a sound activated tape recorder through the post for an installation organised by Art Angel in a self storage centre. He was selected as ‘Sound Designer of the year’ in 1999 by Creative Review magazine and was awarded an ‘Honorary Mention’ for his CD ‘Above Buildings’ at the Prix Ars Electronica 2001