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Sculpture, "Rotary Signal Emitter"

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cover image This record was one of the more impressive artifacts to emerge in 2010. Combining music and moving images in a novel way, its uniqueness ensures it will be a talked about collectors item for years to come. Discerning listeners will favor the discombobulated collage aesthetic while visual arts aficionados will be keen to witness the zoetropic animations encoded on the vinyl first hand.


Rotary Signal Emitter - Sculpture

A zoetrope is generally any device that produces the illusion of movement and action from the rapid succession of images, this beautiful picture disc being a case in point. The images on each side are presented in complex concentric rings roughly corresponding to the groove bands of each song. Reuben Sutherland, one half of the duo, is the animator responsible for the bewildering admixture of images. To view the record as a self contained film it is necessary to shine a bright lamp down on the record while watching it on a digital video camera shooting at twenty-five progressive frames per second. The pictures are a melange of abstract kaleidoscopic blurs, TV screens, comics and photographs. Phrases like "is this going to be a presentation of self indulgent paranoia" are also to be seen. The viewer is encouraged to zoom in and out on the LP while moving the camera around which makes the experience all the more wobbly.

The beats emitted from this album have been pickled in salty hallucinatory brine. Swirls of renegade sound are prepared ala carte with generous dashes of malt vinegar, causing my sound system to pucker. This is the kind of electronic music I hadn't known I'd been craving until after the first listen. Hacked 8-bit frequencies are diced and spliced alongside plastic Atari modulated loops progressively modulated with alien reverb. Cheap jungle rhythms are made refreshing when placed alongside damaged kids toys, static hiss, and the lo-fi whirrings so generously distributed across the creatively named songs.

The album opens with a looped flutter and the strained pull of tape across magnetic heads, paused and played, paused and played, fluctuating as the speed starts and slows. Then aleatoric tones, like a child punching greasy digits on a phone for a random prank call, step in as a kind of solo. A big band jazz track makes a quick appearance before disappearing into the grab bag of recycled audio. A good measure of silt and dribbling liquid sounds follow before being thrown in the wash for a quick rumbling spin cycle. Bellowing horn loops are modulated by crisp pitch shifts up and down and the steady staccato of breaks forged on Casio. Every thing is high energy here, moving from one passage to the next easily. Dan Hayhurst, the person responsible for all the noise, has a keen intuition for constructing abstract songs.

The inventiveness of the music is potentially in danger of being overshadowed by the visual aspect of this ambitious piece of work. But like a good music video, the two elements work together synergistically to amplify an effect that would have been good, but not nearly as impressive as single efforts. With the plethora of so many CDs flooding my mailbox at the radio station, press release with download links filling my inbox, more is required of musicians and artists to capture and keep my attention. Sculpture has raised the bar higher not only for themselves but for others who seek the skillful blending of mediums. The creation of Rotary Signal Emitter was an act of vinyl alchemy not easily surpassed.


Sculpture's vimeo page available here.

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 January 2011 22:02  


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