Post-classical ambient minimalism for crepuscular airports

Junto Project 0325: Fake Book

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

Suss Müsik likes the sound of dust on a vinyl record. A compact disk with dust on it simply won’t play. That’s a design flaw, in our opinion.

The Edison Spring Motor Phonograph was invented in 1895. The sound was emitted by a machine that rotated a ceresin wax cylinder across an incising needle at around 120 RPM. A standard-size cylinder tended to yield between two and four minutes of audio, roughly the length of a church hymn or short monologue.

Due to the high cost of replication, there was initially no method for mass-producing multiple quantities of the same recording. By 1901, however, several innovations cheapened production costs while improving sound permanence: more durable wax mouldings, spring-generated motors, and less penetrative needles. There’s no science for removing dust.

The subtle beauty of ambient detritus has been explored by a number of artists over the years. Junto participants might be familiar with Stephen Vitiello’s electronic compositions accompanied by visuals, or perhaps Stegan Betke’s grimy dub tracks performed under the name Pole. Nina Katchadourian went so far as to create an audio tour of the dust buildup at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Suss Müsik can only imagine how thrilled the janitors must have been.

For this short piece, Suss Müsik sampled the “dusty” pieces of the recordings along with a couple of shorter bits. The sounds were looped through a ring modulation process at various speeds, with the occasional burst of brass or vocals. The lovely, swooping brass bit at the end was left unaltered. The effect is something like what might have happened if the Mille Plateaux label had existed sometime between 1890 and 1915.

The piece is titled Ozokerite, named after the naturally occurring substance from which wax is made. The image is a magnification of household dust from Suss Müsik’s headquarters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *