Sunday 29 December 2013

A Cassette Reliquary

Recently I unearthed a new forgotten bag of cassettes at my mother's house. It contained some very interesting and embarrassing moments of recorded music and speech, including a telephone conversation between myself and my first girlfriend when I was about 16 years old..sheesh what a dork I was! Nevertheless, there was also a wonderful ancient recording of my sister's little boy Paddy, at 4 years old (he is now all grown up aged 28) singing a song about the evils of whaling as only a 4 year old can.

I decided to take this ancient relic of childhood and present it to my sister as a little music box containing the tape and also an mp3 recording of the same that she can listen to whenever she feels the nostalgic urge. Again I employed the Pringles speaker and knock off mp3 player but housed them in a tarted up box, quite a nice box with a magnetic fastner and fancy lining paper. I attached a metal curio to the outside and faux rivets made from dome headed upholstery tacks along with some painted carboard detailing. The cushion is some wadding wrapped in fabric and serves as acoustic baffling.

My sister was touched, my nephew suitably embarrassed.

Typical family xmas.

Music Made Manifest

I wanted to give some music away. I didn't want it to be a CD, mp3 or a link to a bandcamp or soundcloud URL. I wanted it to be a sculpture. I'd been ogling the WIRE magazine's sleeves received blog for a while and thinking about the album as 'art object'. Along with the notion of artists books and limited edition runs of cassette tapes. I am making a cassette edition as it happens but this is something a bit different, unique and very limited.

After gathering my technical and economic data I arrived at a symbiosis of digital and physical namely a heavily pimped pringles tube speaker. I was able to find these speakers on ebay @ a very reasonable 2 for 4 quid price tag so I purchased a few. I found an online article concerning the enhancement of the audio quality through the addition of a ported bass tube and acoustic baffling to soak up some of the nasty mid range tubiness.

All that remained was to load up the super cheap mp3 players with sounds, apply the necessary paint job which adopted my usual trademark weathered military colour scheme - grey, red oxide and rusted metal strips. A bit of simple stencilling for added intrigue.

The tubes came out well and still managed to produce a strange twinge of the uncanny, a mortar shell producing sweet music is after all a slightly disturbing object to behold.

This notion of music and sound re-embodied in a physical medium is something that greatly attracts me as an artist and musician. Not only does it combine some of my interests but I think it lends the music a new substance and fetishistic value, I'm trying to re-connect with ritual and aura, things that have have become sadly washed away in the wi-fi stream.