Once again, I asked other artists to "visit my apartment", to remix sounds from my old place at Brannon and Chippewa. 5 other artists responded this time with "The Reduced Remix Project". In this case, it was interesting that all remixers borrowed from the first track "Internal Seas". "Internal Seas" uses water, steam and leaky pipe sounds to create a textured but strangely calm piece-- and that summarizes the experience of living this way-- gritty, dirty, textured-- but oddly calm. In my years of poverty I found a strange peace, like being at the center of a tornado. Thank you for following my "Music Of Poverty" posts, and here is "The Reduced Remix Project", in which I personally mixed together all artists remixes that were submitted:
The "Sounds For Urban Discourse" sample packs are sounds I processed from a collection that dates back to my years of living at the apartment at Brannon and Chippewa. Utensils, tools, water, metal, porcelain-- recordings were made of various sources in this place. Years later I shared the processed versions of these sounds. BERTHELOT was an artist I wanted to work with, as I enjoy his music and like his submission for the "Particular Streams Remixes 3" compilation. He has done an incredible piece using the "Discourse" samples-- it is about 40 minutes long, and, interestingly, contains many different movements-- each with its own sound set, but each neatly fitting into the whole. I would like to think that my years spent in poverty fit into my life, as a whole, as well in some strange way.
It's interesting to me about the highs and lows of art and life. I suppose most of my pieces (and most remixes) involving sounds from the period of time when I was very poor correspond to lows. The sounds are low-fi, pace is slow, moods are somber and depressed. It does not necessarily follow that all interpretations of these sounds have to be "low art".
I am really impressed with this remix EMERGE did of my urban field recordings-- with his longform track "south city discourse", I feel that the lows have been transcended and we are moving towards the highs. EMERGE creates a soundscape with its own geography, its own horizon. Listen for yourself:
"Reduced", is, in my estimation, a great album. In a way, it is the quintessential album from this period. I believe it is also the album where I first started using a better microphone to record the sounds in my apartment. The album has it all-- fractal mashups of leaky pipes, beeping microwaves, and nails in a jar. Weird song-like pastiches made using the primitive technology of my abode. Straight-ahead field recordings, including two clandestinely recorded on the back stairwell, of the other residents of my building deep in conversation.
A standout piece was "Listening To Mystified". This was, simply, a field recording of me listening to my famous piece "Constant", together with all of the environmental sounds from Brannon and Chippewa. At one point in the piece, a siren sounds, and its sound joins the song of mystified's drone.
The experience of living in poverty has definitely changed my life, and how I see things. I am glad that I took the time during this period to record sounds and make music. I don't want to forget what that was like. A collaborator, Max Kuiper, reminded me that poverty can be expressed visually, as well. Not only did Mr. Kuiper create an intense, brooding drone with some sounds I recorded a decade ago, he also treated several dozen photographs I took of my neighborhood and apartment into over 400 outtakes. This conveys a strange fascination with need, ugliness, starkness and decay. Kuiper's "Urban Discourse" is at the same time horrifying and compelling- capturing the dichotomy of living poor quite well. I made a video with around 120 of Kuiper's outtakes: