Posts Tagged ‘What Actually Happened’

Clang records – clang049 – 4th November 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

So, what did actually happen? I’m reminded of William Burroughs’ theories around the cut-up and the construction of history, specifically a quotation from a 1974 interview:

“The past only exists in some record of it. There are no facts. We don’t know how much of history is completely fiction… There’s no record this conversation ever took place or what was said, except what is [recorded]. If the recordings were lost, or they got near a magnet and were wiped out, there would be no recordings whatever. So what are the actual facts? What was actually said here? There are no actual facts.”

So, when Lars Graugaard and Moritz Baumgärtner convened to record an album, what actually happened? Crashing cymbals and thunderous percussion in slow-mo roll through ‘Space Twist’, before uptempo jazz drumming crashes through electronic eddies on the seven-minute freeform workout that is ‘Fourth Quolandrum’. If it all sounds fairly standard in the world of avant-jazz, perhaps the arrangements in themselves are, but there’s something murky about the production: the sound has a booming density, a thickness. The sounds bounce back on one another, the bulbous bass tones bending and bow.

Some of this spatial strangeness is likely to derive from what the blub describes as the ‘unusual setting of drums and percussion’ and the ‘musical interactions and sonic scenery of real-time electronics,’ but to what extent to we believe that this is a wholly unadulterated document of the moment, as it happened?

Perhaps it is. It’s not a question of honesty. But the very process of recording introduces an element of distance between the event and the playback. An, indeed, the playback is another experience in itself. The amplifier, the speakers. The placing of the microphones, the recording device(s), the equalisation. There is no such thing as a precise master or a replica of the live event. Every stage equals a layer of distance between the happening and the review.

We may never know what actually happened, and so will have to rely on this album as a true document, until new evidence emerges.