Monday, September 26, 2011

Christian Marclay - Jukebox Capriccio, as heard by Phil Bain

An amalgam of different noises and melodies, patched together and spliced apart. Ripped open and stuffed with off-beat rhythms and out of key notes. Tempo's shift on a dime, punctuated by high pitched wails, punch cuts, and wobbly repetitions. A slow, loping melody gives way to an anxious beat that echoes and reverberates from a seemingly far away place. In another moment, all is swept away by a sudden, but not quite abrasive cacophony of sound elements moving rapidly backwards and away from you. A low, thumping, and rich rhythm takes over and leads the way forward again. A familiar tone beeps itself into the foreground-- for a moment, the recognizable melody of "Tainted Love" can be heard. The sounds briefly coalesce, tricking the listener into thinking a cohesive song might emerge from this mess. Then as suddenly as it appeared, it is gone; whirled back in time and replaced by a sparse, paranoid selection. The noises continue to build and layer upon one another, soaring once again to a raging crescendo of patchwork sounds, culled from any number of indeterminate sources; they are as recognizable as they are foreign. As the crescendo reaches its peak the layers of sound are once again ripped away. A more calm melody brings us to the end of the track, giving an uplifting, yet strangely unwelcome finale. As if to say, "it was all a dream; you won't remember any of this when you wake up." How can a track with limited or no melodic or structural cohesion, such as this, be as intriguing as it is, and maintain my attention beyond the simple novelty of a noise collage? 

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