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    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2008 edited
    Ariana, I know exactly what you mean. Route 15 around Gettysburg one night produced a perfect mashup between some kind of industrial techno beat and a religious choir. I couldn't reproduce that kind of spontaneous coolness with an entire roomful of DJ equipment.

    walking around Fukuoka City a couple of Saturday nights, I ran into this band called Tsuji Techno playing on the street in front of a donut shop. they take old Nintendo Game Boys and turn the little blip-bleep music into a different creature. sometimes it goes off-course, but when it works, it works. I didn't know the word "hauntology" at that point, but I did have a strong sense of the past haunting and infuencing the present.

    [edit: crap, thought I had a YouTube clip of them, but I posted the wrong one and the one I wanted isn't working.]
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2008
    @ Ariana:

    Taking a car and driving up to Lapland on either the coast road from Oulu to Kemi or the inland routes from Oulu to Kuusamo and Posio produced the same effect. I remember trips where me and my father stumbled upon a mix of two stations that resulted in David Bowie singing Starman alongside an old Finnish schlager. It sounded wonderfully strange and otherworldly. Another mix that I remember well is listening to a hockey game that had echoes of nature radio - birds chirping while the sports commentator spewed nonsense.

    I think Disparition has some great pieces that can be described as hauntologic. Jon Bernstein, the man behind the project, has some wonderful pieces, like Rijeka and Baikonur for example, that evoke moods from the past. Baikonur sounds like something from Germany in 1920s, and Rijeka is like a distant tribe drumming alongside a kaleidoscope soundtrack. The best thing about Disparition is that you can either download the albums for free, or buy them from, or do both.
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008 edited
    I'm just thinking that limiting 'hauntology' to 'the past haunting the present' deprives this clever little concept of its nuance and overarching 'spectrality' as applied to culture/history/et cetera.

    It just hit quiet here, and there are a few foghorns outside (there will be more in the morning), and shuffle just spun up Tom Waits -- Tom, who has always been able to summon somewhere with effortless ease. His somewhere is often a yellow-lit place, with horns or railroads nearby, the wrong side of several tracks, a little rough and tumble, but they melt the snow with the salt of the earth. But that's not hauntology -- those places are still very much alive, still there, no dustier than they were 20 or fifty years ago, no risk of being forgotten just yet. Escaped, maybe, but not killed.

    But places can die, of course. When I was a girl the west coast was a wonderland of nearly abandoned beach towns and used-to-be amusement parks, shards of boardwalks and dark circles where carousels used to sit being sandswept to grey as rust-rigor set in. Broken horses in closed shop windows with glass eyes glazing over as the magic shriveled in the cold sun. Places that were supposed to be Hope-On-The-Sea -- where money was pumped in earnest because everyone would flock to them forever. And before Disney bought a few of them and the rest were lost, you could drive a few hours anywhere and hit ghost-towns -- bleached, long-abandoned gold-dreams hardening to black iron and bone. Where pyrite and witch-loads tricked settlers into blood and starvation. There was a soundtrack to both desert and shore, the wind calling the beat of horses real or fantastic, the crying of metal against metal, the water or sand roaring a bass-line so loud you couldn't hear it anymore.

    That informs my feelings for hauntology -- even though much of what's out there now summons city streets, rain, and dying music scenes I never met -- because I grew up in a country-state that's kept alive only by the water we imagine to be real, and as soon as place is neglected it shakes off all sign that humans ever touched it, leaving bleached alien artifacts, maybe a cowskull, maybe a seashell, or maybe nothing at all if you blink or look away. The world has always been full of ghosts, and just a moment off the beaten track would find them.

    If I'd grown up somewhere else (and sometimes I did) I'd have swamp haints and weeping vines, alien abductions and crop circles, or crack houses and urban blight to recall (and sometimes I do). Sometimes places were supposed to be, but didn't. The world is full of ghosts.

    What's beautiful about the sounds of else-maybe-dead-but-forget-me-not is, to me, that sometimes it is only three rooms away, even in the middle of the day, even in the middle of the city, even with the crush of people around to swear they hear it too. It's a mass-hallucination, a shared memory of something that never could have happened, a misheard lyric that always comes out the same, a paranormal event caught on tape, for once and forever. The world has always been full of ghosts, but now everyone sees them, always knew they were there, and rewrite old logs to lie the fact that they weren't there yesterday and we weren't expecting them tomorrow.

    So many are in mourning for tomorrows we were promised and never found, as many as say "do you remember when?" with a sigh, as many as say "if only". I don't think ghosts need, by their nature, to be from the past or the future, particularly -- they need only not be expected here and now to be haunting.
  1.  (2375.4)
    My first post here, so apologises in advance if I do anything wrong.

    I agree with Williac, The KLF's Chill Out, to me at least, qualifies as an early example of this.
    Also I think Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) was also very much into this. He was using a phone scanner to record mobile phone conversations and then would use them as the music. Conversations would ebb and flow through the piece, surfacing from the static (which was used as the music itself rather than employing conventional instruments).

    Would some of Holga Czulay's work with shortwave radio also be classed as early examples?
    • CommentAuthor___________
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008 edited
    @Ariana - the shortwave music blog is a great place for some cross station interference broadcasts. sadly the , and I can barely bring myself to type the words, "mash-up" scene is still very much alive, although you may wish it wasn't. someone said our albums fitted the genre, I can't agree apart from the uses of radio noise, evp recordings ('real' and generated by software), morse code, seance recordings, interviews with paranormal investigators and so on.

    I do like the library music aspect of the ghost box stuff - from it's artwork looking like some penguin book from the 70's and the almost radiophonic workshop-ness / kpm of the music.

    you may like to re-visit your youth, if you are in your almost 40's by going to see the old public information films of the 70's - lonely water anyone?
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
    I'm having this image now along the lines of "nostalgia for an age that never existed." except instead of the contempt the phrase usually implies, I imagine the past itself, not the rememberers, being the active party. the past intruding on the present, painting an unrealistic picture of itself. making itself out to be cooler than it actually was. I know I'm anthropomorphizing, but human past is made out of humans, right?
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008 edited
    Didn't mean to have a pop at fellow thirty/forty-somethings....or imply that they're the only group to "get" hauntology. Obviously not true, and it was just a slight worry that an art form that's so easily intellectualised could be co-opted and become a self-referential museum piece. I don't trust any movement that seems made to measure for The Wire and has me as its ideal target audience.

    Warren..... is Other Channels that bad ? I thought Moon Wiring Club were going to be the Altern8 of hauntology , but they turned out to be rather fun...sprightly and elegant and almost groovy.

    But its interesting to note whether the cultural signifiers in the music of Ghostbox , in particular , have more resonance for those children of the seventies and early eighties , particularly in the UK. The nostalgia is for a time and place that did exist.....Tomorrow's world themes , Open University physics lectures , terrifying safety adverts , queasy listening from a very English place. These were all very real for me...the mixture of comforting tweed with imminent nucleur holocaust.
    Would their stuff say the same for an 18-year old from Kentucky ? What does it say instead ? Or is it all just pleasant and occasionally disturbing electronic music at the end of the day ?

    Alawys thought Coil's stuff was a brand of specifically musical hauntology....old signals bleeding into new , echoes and resonances of their own materiel lingering and then bursting out. They haunted themselves.
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008 edited
    I like the discourse taking place on this subject.
    Former KLF member Jimmy Cauty has an industrial-noise sideproject under various names like Blacksmoke, Blackmoke Organisation, The Scourge of the Earth, etc.
    While mostly a remix project, he did release an EP or two there somewhere.

    Anyway, what hit me the first time I gave it a listen is how End of History it is. Like the first time you read Pattern Recognition and it hits you that we live in a very different world. I think Fukuyama argues that on the 9th of November 1989, history ended. In retrospect we can say that the 1990s (interbellum?) was a liminal period, betwixt and between, neither here nor there; and on the 11th of September 2001 the 21st century was born.
    Blacksmoke sees one of the originators of modern pop music (hell, he wrote the book about it), go back in time to industrial sonic roots and play a requiem for the 20th century, using pop hits as a backdrop to the sound of two towers falling and sirens shrieking.

    I don't know if it constitutes as hauntology (it certainly doesn't sound like Burial) but I think it speaks to the same truth. We're not in Kansas anymore.
  2.  (2375.9)
    Afternoon everyone

    (I must say I have been enamored with this site recently)

    This is my first post, and have been finding this thread fascinating, and up above I saw one mention of Mr. Derrida, and while not knowing too much about hauntology when it comes to music, I saw a few threads throughout this discussion which after reading some of Derrida's work (large parts of Spectres of Marx) I wanted to try and contribute.

    Within Derrida's conception of hauntology there are spectres which do the haunting, and it is these spectres that are the subject of investigation as they are the past 'itself', or the historical authors preferred meaning, whereas what we have in the present are interpretations and creations based upon memories and plurality of meaning, all aiming for 'the past'.

    Now I see this having to do with the above discussion due to the, in some ways creation of a past, or incitement of memory by either the artist or those listening. It is not an invocation of the past as it was/is but rather that persons creation/interpretation, in which the past as 'itself' haunts the precedings, never being tangible and apprenhendable, but watching all the same.

    * I hope the above made some sense*

    • CommentAuthoracacia
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2008
    No dude, it's about the future. You wanna fight?
  3.  (2375.11)
    I hope the above made some sense*

    None at all. Loved it. Please continue, and welcome.
  4.  (2375.12)
    EDIT 2: (Somehow my manners disappeared earlier) Thank you for the welcome and I'll try to make more sense in future. Stream of consciounsness is sometimes the only way for me.

    evening acacia

    I wouldn't disagree with you in terms of Derrida's hauntology being about the future (although I would like more of an explication of what you specifically meant in terms of what I said) and really fighting isn't my thing.

    Perhaps it is simply that my reading of (injunctions of Marx, the first chapter of spectres of Marx, of which the above post is majorly based) is read in terms of reading Heidegger before, and approaching Derrida and spectres in terms of a persons fusion of horizons with said spectres, which produces a new context/horizon.

    That being said I think Heidegger and Derrida would both agree about that for something to have the ability to be accomplished then it has already been done so, all that is required is the unfolding of it. in this sense then the spectres themselves are not simply past or future, nor are they present-now, but rather a rupture, a transitioning.

    at the same time there is something in, the future ghosts fuse, transitorially with entities on their flow towards history and the past. So that the past is spread out in front of you with the fututre pushing at your heels.

    This is not something I particularly want to disagree about or carry on about. I simply thought the above might be of interest to those discussing the musical/audible connotations in which hauntology has flowed.


    EDIT: As acacia said earlier about selectively reading Derrida, I think there are always multiple strands and ideas running through Derrida not always uniform or complimenatry (largely like Derrida says of Marx?) and sometimes that is the beauty.
    • CommentAuthoracacia
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2008
    Ya read it how you will, I was merely joking. Your narratives are cool. ;p

    It's all smoke and mirrors, as Warren said. What is 'the present' in music, and how to auralize its 'haunted' nature? It's a fascinating concept.
  5.  (2375.14)
    there's the tales of musicians keeping one track free when recording anything in case of any other-worldy recording interventions. Psychic TV left track 23 open for the ghost of Brian Jones when recording 'godstar' if I remember correctly.
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2008
    Here's a nice juxtaposition to chew on while you're thinking about hauntology - the Robotic Marionette.

    I came across it while doing some work-related research today, and it's the coolest thing I've seen for a while.
  6.  (2375.16)
    As roque was saying earlier about the recording of Song of India she posted, I heard that particular version for the first time years ago on one of those AM stations that played Big Band music at nights. That recording of Song of India had an interesting story attached to it. The announcer explained that it was the signature sign-off tune for some radio station in New York back in the 1930s. It was the next to last thing you'd hear every night besides the tones of the call letters, and after that nothing but static until the 5 AM Farm Report.

    Every night that was the last message sent out into the ether. I used to wonder what all of the phantom listeners made of that song. What are the living trying to tell us? On the odd occasion that they'd play that song again on the radio I entertained the notion that it wasn't being broadcast by the radio station but relayed back to us in response. That William Peter Blatty used Song of India in that scene in Exorcist III made me appreciate his work even more. Its a shame he's only directed two movies. "Mother India is calling you."
  7.  (2375.17)
    The PostEverything shop has the rather interesting album Konstantin Raudive - the Voices of the Dead.

    you get some of the raudive recordings on their own but mostly you get them with accompaniments from the Wire's who's who circa 1997.
    It's an interesting listen
  8.  (2375.18)
    I've got the Raudive recordings on their own, somewhere in the house....
  9.  (2375.19)
    I have some evp recordings, a recording of a seance in an raf hangar and recordings of poltergheist activity somewhere. when I cleaned up the raf hangar recording, I listened to the noise I had filtered out on it's own only for me to hear things in the hiss that could be breathing / whispering - it got more bizarre on reversing. more than likely it was my brain picking up snatches of noise and hearing them as something else - a bit like how the evp generator works or the circuit for the voice of the dead recorder (see the severed heads booklet archives for more info) works.
  10.  (2375.20)
    unrelated but makes for good backround listening are the live air traffic control feeds from here