Patrick Farmer: How I Keep Falling into Rivers [cnvr27]
Sound artist Patrick Farmer, who has often worked with field recordings, may have a troubled history with bodies of water, but this new release on cassette finds him in the company of a reel-to-reel tape recorder and, presumably, dry.
For these two ten-minute, side-long pieces Farmer performed improvisations on the tape recorder’s motor. Each piece begins rather abruptly after a minute or two of silence, develops into a dense crescendo of grinding, squealing noise, and ends just as abruptly, leaving a coda of another minute or so of silence. Here the medium is the music, in this case the abstract, sonic self-reference of the means of reproduction and playback. It’s hard not to hear this as the mechanical gnashing of teeth by old technologies that stubbornly refuse to be overtaken and forgotten.