The Story Behind The Sound Experiments

by Susan Janvrin

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Featured in the Art After Dark: Turntable Remix were 4 audio/visual pieces, each based on a pair of vintage recordings carefully selected by Matt Normand and myself. After digitizing them, we cut the two records and glued one half of each together.  Then, we picked a spot on the vinyl where two familiar songs lined up. Using Ableton Live 7, Matt precisely edited together the audio to match the visual for a complete experience.

One’s brain will always try to make sense of whatever it is perceiving at the time. It was important for us to choose songs that are sort of familiar for that reason. Even though 50% of each song is missing, listening to the audio for these creates the auditory illusion of listening to the two complete songs simultaneously. If you are not very familiar with one of the songs, the other songs seems to come in a bit stronger.

Below, Matt gives titles and brief explanation of each selection.

Apology Unacceptable (NFS)
Plato Dialogues (Record1, Side 1 and Record 4, Side5)
Apology Part 1 & 5
Click to listen or download for free.
Type Plato in Google and you will get 93,100,000 results. Apology is the account of a speech in which his mentor, Socrates, is charged with not recognizing the gods of the state. This would be followed by being charged for corrupting youth. The work, Apology, is not an apology, but a defense for charges. Since Plato is one of the most quoted people in history, and a foundation of Western thought, I thought it was interesting he was essentially plagiarizing his teacher. We took his formal introduction to Apology (part 1) and his closing arguments(part 5) to create a new dialogue that is simply the rambling of an old man.

Good Vib (NFS)
Beach Boys – Smiley Smile (Side 2)
Good Vibrations
The Koto Music of Japan (Side 2)
Haruno Kyoku (music of spring)
Click to listen or download for free.
Originally we were going to put the Beach Boys record back into our listening collection. I would only cut the record if we had a strong concept. Shortly afterward, I listened to the Koto Music album that included traditional Japanese songs. One song on this record curiously included the first six notes of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, 2nd movement. This reminded me of the influence that the East had on the West and also how Brian Wilson wanted to create music that was culturally significant to the United States. Good Vibrations is easily recognizable and lined up well with another song on the Koto album, Haruno Kyoku. Both songs translated to us as songs of Spring.

We Go Together in a Time Warp (NFS)
Grease (Record 2, Side 2)
We Go Together
Rocky Horror Picture Show (Side 1)
Time Warp
Click to listen or download for free.
These two musicals’ albums are themed around the sexual confusion of identity in the 70s. Grease, with its underlining sexual innuendoes and Rocky Horror Picture Show with its very upfront sexuality. In today’s cynical culture it is difficult to take Grease as sincere or innocent and is as equally corny and over sexualized as its (at the time) sonic/interactive counter culture competition. The song, Time Warp is the most recognizable song, and while several songs on the Grease soundtrack are equally identified in short fragments, We go Together matched up with Time Warp’s location.

Sex (NFS)
Convertion
Let’s Do It
Kool & The Gang
Jungle Boogie
Click to listen or download for free.
The 1970s tapped into the 60s and brought freelove into the mainstream in the form of songs at 110-120 beats per minute. Jungle Boogie, a metaphoric song about sex from the beginning of the disco era was mixed with Let’s do it from 1980, (around the end of disco,) which discards any deciphering of codes and pretty much dives right to the point of the dance floor participants.

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