doncbruital on 01/19/2010 at 02:30PM
Salut, folks, what say we get to celebrating, for the era of the Time Machine is evidently upon us. Sick, finally. History--having heretofore been little more than this pesky nightmare from which music and art proffer momentary awakening or at least distraction--might affect us in a healthier way, now we've got this time travel jam in our back pockets for the loosing.
We ought to consider, I suppose, what this development'll mean for our human archiving impulse, that primordial directive that's had us scrambling to save our Progress at every turn of civilization: you know, monks copied manuscripts, the National Film Registry inexplicably chose to retain a copy of Halloween, and oh yeah, Facebook copies all yer data. Obviously the Free Music Archive itself is a manifestation of this desire, one whose mission is, thankfully, to vouchsafe what's good and worthwhile and not just anything at all. But still, if we're gonna be rocketing up and down the slipstream at will at the controls of some sweet Time Vehickle, what'll happen to our collective desire to safeguard our great works? My best guess here is that we'll move away from the overkill, the obvious, and focus on the nuance. Another way of saying this is that in our era of unprecedented and rampant reproducibility, we won't need to take any special pains to protect some bigtime movie or seminal literary work from the maw of time, and will thus be freed up to really groove on that distant sidereal matter, the ephemera, the jumbled-textural-hisses and cassettedeck clicks, the pieces of sound that, whether by hap or design, only happened once.
Which is all to say listen to the hours of extraordinary FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND audio zine material up on the FMA. You're no doubt familiar with the eponymous label and have all of its available backcatalog archived on the shelves of your own home shrine, but if you missed some of these now sold-out compilations of found sound historical nightmare fodder, there are currently 68(!) of their component pieces at your free online perusal disposabilitron. Some have got the drone watermark of the series' curator Raphael Lyon--yea, the unstoppable MUDBOY--whose roleplay weirdness (last time I saw him perform he gave an Actor's Studio-level monologue from the perspective of a giant [itself available some fourteen minutes into this live WFMU performance]) is detectable even in the other selections, the interview snippets, advertising eczerpts, and magnetic field recordings that he chooses to include. Let it play out and get taken by those incidental flashes of genius granted by the negative space of our age's wanton technocratic apparati. Highlight the bits of plain happenstance that might otherwise slip into the ether. Go back in time and play it for the freaked-out cavepeople.