Issues Index

UP04 Musical Machinery

Things that sounds are made from Mechanical rites The creative musician has a complex, passionate relationship with machines, the small intelligent devices that have become the tools of the trade. But however elegant the computers and digital tape recorders that empower composers, they must still function within the clanking Jean Tinguely-like contraption that is the music industry. The most exquisite, independent music finds it difficult to avoid completely the oil and grease of this powerful apparatus that functions within the bigger machine marked ‘leisure’. After a slow start, like the rusty subject of Su Lyn’s anti-machine song, we have finally cranked up our own machinery to programme Nicolas Collins’ hot-wired CD player, This Heat’s reinvention of a 24-track studio and the extrovert samplers, computers and effects of Fendrich, Kefala-Kerr and Heaton. Machine processes and timbres pervade the electronic pieces by Parsons and Hind, Benjamin’s sketch and White’s wittily crafted Nintentions, but all of them create wildly differing sound worlds. And though many composers were excited by the challenge of making a one-minute opera for the scratchpad, only five tapes beat the deadline. As always, these audio miniatures are sequenced in the order in which they arrived at our office. Here at Unknown Public – precariously fastened to the big music machine – it is time to wipe the grime from our hands, change our overalls and buckle down to the next four issues. Thanks for rattling along with us. © 1994 JLW