Friday, 17 September 2010

Metaphysics of Crackle

Dear reader, tonight I have been mostly listening to Mark 'K-Punk' Fisher's mix for Pontone. I really cannot recommend it enough. It's stuffed with tracks from the likes of the Caretaker, Black to Comm, William Basinski and Philip Jeck, and it features a track by Asher, who I had never heard of before tonight but now am VERY interested in.

I suppose you might want to listen to this alongside the mix that Kode9 and Burial did for Mary Anne Hobbs' last show at the BBC a week ago, which, if you can find it, is excellent. Mark's mix is of course firmly within the aesthetic of hauntology, but if anybody is allowed to do hauntological mixes then it's the very man who resurrected(!) the term... Here's what he has to say:

What you hear in a recording is not there. It is a spectre. You always hear more and less than was ‘there’ at the time and place of the recording. With vinyl records, the more that you often hear is crackle, the sound of the material surface of the playback medium. When vinyl was ostensibly superseded by digital playback systems – which seem to be sonically ’invisible’ - many producers were drawn towards crackle, the material signature of that supposedly obsolete technology. Crackle disrupts presence in multiple ways: first by reminding us of the material processes of recording and playback, second by connoting a broken sense of time, and third by veiling the official ‘signal’ of the record in noise. For crackle is of course a noise in its right, a ground become a figure. Listen to it for a while and you start to hear patterns; you become susceptible to audio hallucinations.

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