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    • CommentAuthorLiamH
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008
    This has proven very interesting so far. I think that mark has spread pretty wide at points so far so I'm not too worried about hitting it but it's amusing to me that the Konstantin Raudive album was mentioned. This had already been making me think about Ghost World: A Story in Sound by DJ Spooky for some reason. You can read a little about it and download from here

    @frenchbloke thanks for the atc feeds link, inspired some random thoughts.
    • CommentAuthoracacia
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008 edited
    Ha, nice, DJ Spooky and Africa. Let's use Derrida's hauntology-oriented line: "Like those of the blood, nationalisms of native soil not only sow hatred, not only commit crimes, they have no future, they promise nothing even if, like stupidity or the unconscious, they hold fast to life." + Frantz Fanon: "National consciousness, instead of being the all-embracing crystallization of the innermost hopes of the whole people, instead of being the immediate and most obvious result of the mobilization of the people, will be in any case only an empty shell, a crude and fragile travesty of what it might have been... " (via: the pitfalls of national consciousness)
  1.  (2375.3)
    There's Jacob Kierkegaard's 4 Rooms, and I'm just going to bang in here the Allmusic text from emusic, because what can you add?:

    The back story to 4 Rooms isn't needed for an appreciation of the cold drone meditation of the album, but it does provide some unnerving context -- the rooms in question, indicated by the track titles, are locations in the radiation zone still in place around the destroyed reactor at Chernobyl in Ukraine. The technical notes indicate that Jacob Kirkegaard's approach, openly citing Alvin Lucier's own work with tape overdubs, consisted of literally recording silence in each particular room -- all chosen due to being popular meeting places before the accident -- and broadcasting the results back into the room, many times over. Those familiar with the work of such sound artists like Thomas Köner will find immediate sonic affinities with 4 Rooms -- the opening "Church" in particular sounds like a piece from Köner's mid-'90s works, with an air of metallic chill. It's not a tone maintained throughout 4 Rooms, but all have the same general air -- if "Auditorium" feels a bit warmer in comparison, it's no less darkly meditative. Though not spelled out, presumably Kirkegaard further treated the recordings with understated arrangements, as the pieces shift to include undulating rhythms (without percussion) and shifts in volume, as well as fading out in some cases. "Swimming Pool," of the four pieces all told, might be the most gripping -- while possessing similarities to "Church," there's an almost stuttering, nervous edge to the main drones, allowing one to not entirely relax. In contrast, the concluding "Gymnasium" is the most hollow-sounding and eerie, with a higher pitch lending to the distanced feeling throughout. In the end, the larger background of the album is somehow present in a wordless fashion throughout 4 Rooms, suggestive of sudden abandonment and a still-looming, potent threat.
    • CommentAuthoracacia
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2008
    I have that 4 Rooms work, it's quite affecting on a visceral level, more so once the 'concept' is absorbed.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2008
    Okay, well, I gave some Burial a go, as I'm interested in what I'm reading here, but I'm just not enjoying the music all that much. I understand all the stuff about it 'coming from the past', but it seems a tad more like 'being played too loud next door'.

    I don't think that's a very useful thing to say about it, but I really wanted to like it a lot more than I did. 'Raver' is really the only track that I can get into, and that does seem a lot like the B side of KLF's White Room.

    If I had the skills to do it, I'd like to make some tracks using EVP and stuff like the Stonehenge and Pyramid archaeo-acoustics, just to go really over the top with the weird paranormal noise stuff. I have a feeling that would freak out the right kind of people.
  2.  (2375.6)
    Listen to Burial at low volume. It's remarkably different.
  3.  (2375.7)
    Okay, well, I gave some Burial a go, as I'm interested in what I'm reading here, but I'm just not enjoying the music all that much. I understand all the stuff about it 'coming from the past', but it seems a tad more like 'being played too loud next door'.

    Shouldn't you be yelling at some kids to get off your lawn or something?

    That said, I do think GHOST HARDWARE was a better EP than UNTRUE was an album.

    You might find Philip Jeck more interesting. Headphones essential, mind you.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2008 edited
    Shouldn't you be yelling at some kids to get off your lawn or something?

    I would, but they have knives and are rapidly killing each other, so I just need to wait a while.

    You might find Philip Jeck more interesting. Headphones essential, mind you.

    Any recommendations for a good place to start?
    • CommentAuthor___________
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2008 edited
    the moon wiring clubs' an audience with art deco eyes is rather good - see here for more details - the graphics are rather good.
  4.  (2375.10)
    What little I've heard by the Moon Wiring Club, I've liked quite a bit.
    • CommentAuthorjzellis
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2008
    So this thread got me thinking, and that thinking has morphed into a previously-unconsidered title track for my forthcoming album. (Meaning I had a title, but hadn't considered a title track.) It's a long-ass dubby thing, with field samples from Freesound mixed in -- sounds of a cab ride in Cape Town, a worker's demonstration, and a recording of a West African singing in some train station in Amsterdam.

    My co-conspirator Thom suggested that, once the song is done, we dub it to a cassette tape, put it in the bathtub, mike the bathroom, and release the resulting as the final version.

    My music is way too traditional, structure-wise, to really fit into this category. But the ideas are going in there.
  5.  (2375.12)
    I'm not sure how closely related this will be to the main focus of the thread, but the discussion here has reminded me of an album I ran across a few years ago by a relatively obscure melodic indie band called The Foundry Field Recordings. Their album "Prompts/Miscues" is pretty straightforward for the most part, but the first and last songs are different and have their basis in ambient room sounds and such. I'm assuming they chose to do this because it fits with the conceit of their band name, but even still, there's some interesting stuff at work there. I still like the rest of the album--sounds a bit like early Death Cab For Cutie mixed with Grandaddy or something--but I'm most fascinated by the tracks that integrate the ambient soundscapes. This is one of them, the final track on the album:

    The Foundry Field Recordings - Untitled

    As I said, it's a bit different than the other stuff discussed in here, but I think it has some similarities, and may interest some of you at least somewhat. Figured I'd put it out there, if nothing else.
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2008
    Having spent an efternoon listening to the Hauntology channel on, I'm hard-pressed to say where ambient (or dark ambient) ends and hauntology begins. I get what they're saying, and it strikes me as the aural equivalent of Photoshopped montages of Victorian and Edwardian ephemera and filters that make the whole mess look like scratchy old film. It sounds like I'm panning it, but I'm not. I can't get enough of this stuff. If it had a taste, it would be savory snacks. I have stuff on my shelf that could be hauntology before the fact, or at least close enough.

    If Konstantin Raudive is a grandfather of hauntology, then DJ Spooky could be another.

    Songs Of A Dead Dreamer (1996) was the first album of his I'd heard of, and I fell in love with the interpretations of radio noise from outer space mixed with banjo music, urban sounds and so on. It's meant to be (more or less) Afro-futurism with bits of William Burroughs and Phillip K. Dick thrown in. The album's title comes from a great book of horror stories by Thomas Ligotti. It's one of my favorites.

    The Sabres of Paradise (Andrew Weatherall) - Haunted Dancehall (1994). I found this recently in a cut-out bin. Slow-tempo, spare dance music with a hollow sound as if, say, playing in a deserted dance hall. Planet D from that album was used by Anima Sound System and (I believe) Talvin Singh. Songs Of A Dead Dreamer has echoes of this album too. No sound samples, so may not strictly qualify as hauntology (if that's a requirement), but give it a spin.

    Nostalgia - The House On The Borderland (2007?) - soundtrack to the novel of the same name, by William Hope Hodgson (d. 1918), whose stories are influenced by Swedish mystic Immanuel Swedenborg and who in turn influenced H. P. Lovecraft, especially his "Dream" stories. Might be closer to dark ambient; see what you think.

    The first two, if they can be considered hauntology at all, sound haunted by history rather than ghosts or nature, if that makes any sense.

    Speaking of field recordings, you might like this short video I shot of an installlation at a design school on Nantucket Island. It's in a converted farmhouse whose door was open though nobody was in (probably at lunch), and had that sort of deserted, Myst feel.
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2008
    @paulmcenery: I'll have to find that. I had Alvin Lucier as a professor when I went to Wesleyan. The man's a bit insane, but the class was wonderful (infer a connection if you like). We listened to his recordings and overdubs and performed some really spooky pieces like one which involved a dark room and about 40 of us calling back and forth to each other with instruments—as quietly as we could.

    @bjacques: You just reminded me of what a lot of this evokes in the corners of my memory but which I couldn't pinpoint: the Myst series. Wandering around ruined islands, surrounded by infinite oceans and the slow creaks and groans of deteriorating machines, piecing together a mysterious world that no longer works...I loved those games. (Well, the first two. Lost my copy of 3 before I could beat it.)
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2008
    Wandering around ruined islands, surrounded by infinite oceans and the slow creaks and groans of deteriorating machines, piecing together a mysterious world that no longer works
    This. It's odd, much of the talk of stuff that isn't strictly music on this thread (my own comments included) are pretty much just describing Ambient of some fashion -- but no one's coming right out and saying ambient, not as a huge, sweeping generalization at least. A lot of the ambient out there, it's very... god, what's the word, it _moves_, at least. It's the sound of things making noise. It's the breath of the world, whatever world that is. Even the crackle-hiss layered on a lot of tracks I wouldn't necessarily call under the Hauntology umbrella, well that's a sound of life layered on, too, even when it elicits the past.

    Warren's got a line in Dok that, if I recall correctly, came out of an earlier work -- paraphrasing 'cause it's not right on me at hand -- about going to the graveyard and listening to the sticky sussurus of decomposition, and about standing up higher and listening to the world resonating with its own stark mediocrity.

    (Which probably had nothing to do with hauntology in either context. But it's two really hard and lovely lines, isn't it?)

    To point, though, if you unlayer anything by Burial, fuck if it's not just little ten second cries of every mediocre musak-wail of the past thirty years, isn't it? Without the heartbeat in the background, and the sound of bubble thin walls straining outward while the world drowns, it may as well be any little love-diddy, and little singalong pop keen, any refined-and-looped feel-sound in an Audi commercial. Just tossing the beat-layer on top really just pulls it up to an Audi-Hybrid commercial. Lookit, there's a car racing along an open road, with "Loving you" playing in the sunlight. It's the sticky sussurus -- (you know why that line stays with me? Because it _aches_. It's hummingbird wings dipped in hot wax and straining in painful death.) -- of meat falling off the bones of the world that makes Burial haunted. It's not the creepy filtered voices (or every boy-band tune would qualify), it's not the beat, it's not the words, it's not even the occasional creak of machinery -- it's that dripping, sticky sound that the music plays fast around for fear of getting caught, spreading decay. Not so much the music in the next room, but the fear that by observing (hearing) the music in the next room, we've alerted it to our presence and the decay has spread. Y'know, maybe. I'll bet there are real words for all of what I just said there.
    • CommentAuthorjzellis
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2008
    @Ariana: Marry me. (Just kidding. But that's a lovely bit of writing. And I think you nailed why Burial is interesting.)

    @paulmcenery: Apropos of nothing...are you the same Paul McEnery that used to write for Mondo 2000 and GettingIt?

    @iangil: Have you ever heard of Paul Morley's book Words And Music? It starts with Lucier's "I Am Sitting In A Room" and uses it as a starting point to talk about pop music in an avant-garde context. It's a trite precious -- the whole thing is framed as Morley invisibly riding with Kylie Minogue through the cityscape from the video for "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" -- but it's really an interesting book. Morley's idea seems to be the notion that there are different narratives describing the history of pop music -- you can choose the Robert Johnson / Bo Diddley / Rolling Stones version, or you can look at the one that starts nominally with people like John Cage and Alvin Lucier and works through Kraftwerk and Afrika Bambaataa and Stock, Aitken & Waterman.

    Listening to the music linked here, it reminds me of Joseph Cornell -- or rather, William Gibson's electronic version of Cornell, the autistic AI sitting in an empty space station from Count Zero, taking bits of refuse and detritus and making shadow boxes with them. It seems like this hauntological thingy is the same idea, but with music instead of visual art.

    Which makes me want to write an app that goes out, finds fragments of audio from the Net and collages and recontextualizes them based upon keywords...I wonder if there's any sort of command-line audio processing tools that can utilize VSTs or AudioUnits....I could use PD, I guess, and then dump the files into Flash for presentation....

    Great. Another idea to become obsessed with and try to work out at four in the morning in the dark. Sigh.
  6.  (2375.17)
    For consideration:

    The definition of ambient music, as per Brian Eno (via Satie's "furniture music"): "Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting."

    Sonic hauntology does enforce attention. It does enforce concentration. For ambient music to do the work of "useful music" that Eno intended, it must be the ultimate "easy listening."

    It amuses me on a few levels, therefore, to suggest cultural hauntology as the very definition of "uneasy listening."
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2008
    Sonic hauntology does enforce attention. It does enforce concentration.
    ... I would have had no idea, which may be why I'm so far off on a lot of my musings, here. Apartment dwelling, grown up latch-key kid, me. I grew up in empty houses with the television on in one room and the radio on in another -- a clock wrapped in a hot-water bottle, basically. My clock radio plays me to sleep, volumes up to wake me in the morning, and I've generally got a playlist going all the hours in between. I get a brief adrenaline spike when my iPod battery dies when I'm out. The only time I haven't got music at some volume is when I'm with someone else, and focussed on them. All sound, especially music, is ambient to me unless I've consciously stopped doing everything else to just listen (usually a new track, or when I need to cycle my brain). The only sound that enforces my attention is absolute silence.
    • CommentAuthorjzellis
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2008
    That's interesting. See, I've almost entirely stopped listening to music unless I'm paying total attention to it -- when I'm walking to and from the bus, for example. I no longer just put music on when I'm hanging out or working.

    Problem is, I can't not pay attention to music. If it playing, part of my brain is working on it. It's distracting.

    Side effect of writing/producing music, maybe.
    • CommentAuthorradian
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2008
    @jzellis: finds fragments of audio from the Net and collages and recontextualizes them based upon keywords... Good idea, if it wasn't so sunny I'd be firing up processing later and aiming it at freesound's tag cloud.