Et In Ununtrium Ego

Here’s a new release from Texan Alex Keller, who made Blackout and compiled Phonography Austin Volume 01. He also made the Kruos LP with Sean O’Neill, and they’re back as a duo on LCLX (MIMEOMEME mim013), a new set of site-specific field recording-based pieces. The title track is a reworking and reversioning of materials used when they first performed together at a festival in 2015, and it’s made from recordings of a gigantic sports complex in Austin. Talk about your “everything’s big in Texas” clichés…these fields look they can accommodate everything from football to steeplechase racing, and occupy enough space to swallow a small English village. One thing that interested Keller and O’Neill were the enormous floodlights, which apparently generate a humming sound which they can pick up with their electro-magnetic microphones…I wish I knew more about specialist mics, what they’re capable of doing. I’m still blinking my eyes from when Chris Watson first described his hydrophones (which can record sounds underwater). They say these sports field floodlights are “known to blind the neighbourhood”, an extreme form of light pollution in anyone’s book, but that gives you some idea of how much hum these big boys are capable of pumping out. ‘LCLX’ also captures ambient neighbourhood chatter and birdsong and weaves everything together into a satisfying 16 mins of ambient sound-art-noise…

Remainder of album is five unrelated / related field recording pieces all named with an ‘Unun’ prefix – staring with ‘Ununbium’ and ending with ‘Ununtrium’…making the reader feel we’ve entered some sprawling science fiction alternative universe like Dune or Discworld…if anything characterises or unites these five, it’s their mechanical bent, the sense that we’re hearing some sort of machinery or metal-based diablery doing things unknown in a landscape that becomes increasingly unfamiliar the more we listen. Stated aim is “states of stasis and change”… portraits of “a rapidly changing urban environment”. Keller and O’Neill survey Austin and its environs and report back on things which the municipality may have missed in their annual reports. It’s not all about factories and stalled trains (if indeed that’s what we’re hearing); ‘Ununpentium’ is a glimpse of the air and sky, including rainfall, aeroplanes droning overhead, and an impressionistic sense of slightly polluted clouds turning orange. ‘Ununquadium’ might be taken from various strolls around suburban streets, now calm, now agitated; might be some traffic sounds, certainly many unidentifiable events that stimulate the ear and the brain. I would guess that these pieces have benefited from a certain amount of selection and editing, and are not simply pointless horizon-scanning captures with no defined boundaries. Very good. Released in a quite elaborate package with cloth and heavy paper inserts and limited to 150 copies. From 14th November 2017.

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