Do you find yourself using your iPod more and more for news, stories, and podcasts these days and less for music? Where once we had standard "books on tape," now there is decentralized reportage from independent sources. The "Nothing is Forbidden, Everything is Permitted credo reigns. The woman on the bus across from you is as likely to be listening to the erotic stories of Italian sailors as the latest by P. Diddy.
And what better time to listen to musique concrète.
Jon Mueller's Crouton Music presents another recording/artwork in the form of a small red matte box, wrapped in mulberry paper and containing a limited edition (of 300) recording by electro-acoustic composer Lionel Marchetti. This nearly one-hour piece is divided into three 3 CDs as distinct movements.
Like previous releases from Crouton Musicthe constructed wooden box for Raccoons' Mother sessions, Keith Berry's box of leaves for his The Ear That Was Sold To A Fish, and Jon Mueller's box of fiction writing with CD and illustration by Kaveh Soofithis is an object of art. You have something more to touch, hold, and ponder, which has been missing since the demise of the LP.
Marchetti's work, produced in part by Yoko Higashi, follows a narrative pattern that tells a different story to each listener. It's not quite John Zorn's Spillane, but the French-born Marchetti borrows some very old sounds, scratchy recordings and voices, as well as some relatively new samples from the familiar (Keiji Haino and The Residents) and the unfamiliar. He is a practitioner of improvisation with microphone and loudspeaker placement that is mimicked here as sounds and samples float in, drop information and depart.
The interpretation is up to you. I hear the ghost in the machines of computer voice software, the sound experiments of the futurists and Marcel Duchamp, the discarded scratchiness of cylinder recordings and flight data recordings. The pop and flutter that the folks at Dolby labs eliminated years ago.
Sound as sculpture, as design, as "the story," all feed into this open-ended narrative with no Hollywood ending. It's all quite an impressive work of art, aurally and otherwise.