Stelarc ‎– Stelarc

Label:
Anckarström ‎– R6
Format:
CD
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Tracklist Hide Credits

1 Obsolete: Ampified Body & Third Hand
Engineer – Phillip McKellarProducer – Steven SnellermanSound Designer – Rainer Linz
27:00
2 Remote: Automatic Arm, Sound-Responsive Eyes & Third Hand
Sound Designer – Rainer Linz
30:18
3 Laser Eyes, Eternal Ears
Sound Designer – Kazutaka Tazaki
8:23
4 Elapsed Horizon, Enhanced Assumption
Sound Designer – Rainer Linz
8:09

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Notes

"Obsolete..." recorded at ABC Waverly Studio 345, Melbourne, 1990.
"Remote..." recorded live at La Mama, Melbourne, 1990.
"Laser eyes, eternal ears" recorded live at The Ice House, Toronto, 1987 (New music concerts).
"Elapsed horizon, enhanced assumption" recorded at Extensions, Melbourne, 1990 (Image '90).

Packaged in a 5"x8" heavy brown paper folder
Comes with 16-page booklet in English, with illustrated essay "Enhanced gesture/remote desire: post-evolutionary strategies" by Stelarc.

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June 4, 2012
Miracle of miracles, this disc is split into four separate pieces, rather than being just one long track. The music itself is live and improvised, created through complex (and painful-looking) hook-ups controlled by the bodies’ physicai parameters via EEG, EMG, ECG, Plethysmogram, Doppler Flow Meter. Add to these the so-called “Kinetoangle Transducer & Telemetry Unit" and you have the controllers for the various sound / noise generators used. The first piece, entitled “Obsolete: Amplified Body & Third Hand” is a little like ambient noise or some alien, and to us hostile, planet. Insects. create a constant fuzz in the air, birds with dying songs cry in the distance feeding from pools of highly radioactive water, while Wild Ground Electricity play predatory games in the oily black undergrowth. The sound of functioning machinery, presumably the cyberkinetic arm, joins the changing-yet-changeless sound. The sound grows almost rhythmic at one point, mechanical noise and bassy 'whoosh' coming close to forming music. “Remote: Automatic Arm, Sound Responsive Eyes & Third Hand" follows, clocking itself up as longest track on the album at 30’18”. This one starts with a continuous (although slightly faltering) beat over which electronic noises that sound as if they could kill if let loose. This dies away, then picks up again. The lack of strict drumming has a (intentional) biological feel to it, as of a heart faltering now and then, say after exertion. It is joined by stark, ear scarring noises which keep on, intending to inflict pain. After the next stop, the sound over the top is a watery-electro bass sound which quickly establishes itself as a thick, heavy noise, while it’s kin climbs and falls over the sounds it makes. It stops again, only to return, ever more deadly, a much more dense sound with alarm-like noises going off here and there. This part sounds a lot like the latter half of the first track, if a little more dense. The sound tends to be active, varying a lot without actually changing. And in it’s many varying shapes, it does tend towards rhythmic form, despite the creator’s obvious attempts to avoid it. Of course random sound can tend towards rhythm by ‘accident’ (read LYALL WATSON’s “Lifetide’ for more on that) but you are given the distinct impression that it is a struggle just to keep this sound so random. “Laser Eyes, Eternal Ears” fades in on a boiling cloud of matted noise while the mechanical limbs add extra tones to it, giving it a didgeridoo-li ke sound. It is the most approachable track on the album, but is in no way compromising. Its continual density gives it an attraction the two longer pieces seem to lack. “Elapsed Horizon, Enhanced Assumption” is another more commercial piece, with noises like gunfire & Sci-Fi laser beams combine with machine screams & electronic growls to create a rather fascinating piece of music full of variety and leaning towards rhythm (of sorts).
With it, in the uniform folder comes a slim booklet explaining their thoeries of a sort of “technological evolution for survival” - modifying our bodies for existance in alternative environments. To quote them “What is significant is no longer male-female intercourse, but human-machine interface". The latter half contains pictures of STELARC in performance, and a written explanation of how the music is formed. It’s very interesting to read, and when this music is good, it is VERY good.

Originally reviewed for Soft Watch.