Hidden Sounds

13 Jan

Hidden Sounds Review

Sometimes when people are trying to create music using a physical medium such as circuit bending it can be hard to get inspiration, not only with what sounds to create but with what hardware to create them with. With that in mind, a show like Basic FM’s Hidden Sounds is a veritable goldmine of ideas and inspiration.

Broadcasting twice a month, every second Thursday at 7.00pm as well as repeats every Sunday at 4.00pm, Hidden Sounds features ambient/experimental circuit bending music from a variety of artists; from known exponents of the genre to new artists looking for a platform to showcase their work to a wider audience.

The show is relatively new and as such it would be best to keep in mind that as each episode goes by the host of Hidden Sounds grows into the role, with his occasional interjections and artist introductions becoming more and more polished and natural as time goes by.

So whether you’re looking for inspiration, a new platform to showcase some of your circuit bending electronica or just want something off the beaten track to listen to of a Thursday evening, Hidden Sounds really is an invaluable tool for artists and a truly enjoyable hour of music for casual listeners to boot.

Old episodes of Hidden Sounds are located at http://www.mixcloud.com/TheHiddenSounds and Basic FM have a free app available for download in both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store should you wish to check the show out for yourselves.

Happy listening!


Nicolas Collins Interview

11 Jan

A while back we at Maker.ie sat down with Nicolas Collins the man who quite literally wrote the book on sound manipulation with regards to electronic music. Collins’ 2006 book Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking has proved to be extremely popular with hobbyists, electronica music enthusiasts and sound artists themselves alike. As well as this, Mr Collins has proven through this book that not only is he very knowledgeable in his field (and with good reason given his list of accomplishments, which include a myriad of contemporary compositions and the fact that in many ways he is a pioneer of this particular music genre) but also that he can convey his ideas and designs in such a manner as not to be daunting or confusing to those who may have a more base level of understanding of electronic circuitry or indeed music theory/sound manipulation in general.

In this interview we discuss with Mr Collins the pros and cons of software vs. hardware, how and why he started to tinker and toy with circuitry, who influenced him throughout his career and what he thinks lies ahead with the hacker scene in the future.
We hope you enjoy watching this interview as much as we enjoyed sitting down and talking to the man in person.

Shangaan Electro Review

22 Oct

Last Thursday I had an opportunity that is rarely found these days; to see a gig in a genre of music I had never before experienced. For those of you who aren’t aware Shangaan Electro are a South African dance group who have taken elements from local traditional music and mixed it with various elements of contemporary dance music, with frankly marvellous results.

The first thing I noticed after the group took the stage was the genuine party atmosphere present in the Sugar Club (which is so often the go to venue for fringe or bizarre evenings such as the one which had just gotten underway) and  it was clear the sizeable crowd were all here to dance the night away. As for the group itself Shangaan Electro were comprised of DJ Nozinja Mthethwa aka “Dog” and a two female, two male vocal/dance ensemble.

As the music began it became evident that South African dance music was a very different proposition to what we are used to in Europe, various drumbeats and different percussion instruments took the place of the more instrumental hook based offerings that we are familiar with, and while these were still present to varying degrees they were much more understated and definitely took a back seat to the booming sound of constant drums. This music is frantic and charged and it is almost impossible not to be swept away by its sheer energy; this is hardly surprising when you consider that the concert started with a song containing roughly 180 beats per minute!  Considering that most dance typically contains between 120-140bpm it’s not hard to see why the urge to move is so infectious.

Dog tells us regularly throughout the show that we will finish at 189bpm and gradually cranks up the speed, with the crowd alternately chanting “189” and “Shangaan Electro” when prompted to by the charismatic DJ. As for the rest of the group they are in an almost constant state of movement; alternating between singing, freestyle dancing, synchronized dancing and whistle-blowing. All members have whistles and while I’m sure on some level it has something to do with helping them keep track of what dance moves to do next it added to the overall sound immensely.

We are hitting around the 185bpm mark when the group asks for three ladies to join them onstage to “see if they can shake it” and it doesn’t take long for the three volunteers to step forward. Each is paired with one of the group and they are taken through a quick crash course on how to move like a member of Shangaan. The results are almost instantaneous, unfortunately the same cannot be said for the male participants when the experiment was repeated a few minutes later but again such was the festival/party feeling present in the air that it made no difference; the crowd and group were feeding off each other and having a fantastic time while doing so.

After this experiment in audience participation we are finally ready to reach the 189bpm mark, the group are moving even faster and more energetically than ever before despite the length of time onstage. The crowds’ chants become even more frequent and practically everyone in the building is dancing right in front of the stage. The finale of the show involves Dog, who had been hidden away behind his turntables moving to front and centre of the stage to show off his moves which produces a fantastic reaction from the crowd.

Shangaan Electro are a bit of a difficult proposition if truth be told; I simply cannot imagine that there would be too many instances where I would choose to stick on one of their records in my free time. In that way they are a bit like The Flaming Lips, meaning that their live show is simply so entertaining that it more than makes up for any shortcomings that the group may have present or reservations you yourself may have on the genre of music they play. For that reason I would strongly suggest that if the opportunity ever arises again that you get yourself to a show, the athleticism, feel good factor and music on display when combined will make it more than worth your while.

Hard Working Class Heroes Weekend Review

19 Oct

This month saw the Hard Working Class Heroes annual celebration of Irish music return all across the city and as usual it did not disappoint. Taking place in a variety of venues, some well versed in housing independent artists, HWCH once again proved that this country is home to a large number of talented and diverse musicians.

The weekend kicked off for us at The Workman’s Club where, despite the horrific weather outside, a good crowd had gathered to witness the various bands ply their trade. Stand outs of the night included Princess a four-piece band with, among others, progressive rock and indie sensibilities, but these guys are anything but a simple rehash of old ideas. This band is loud, but in the best possible way, with catchy multi-layered songs all held together by the constant and varying beats being laid down by the immensely talented drummer. Be sure to keep an eye out for their new single which should be released in the near future as well as the already available EP Black Cat.

Next up was Cave Ghosts, another four piece band but this time one with a more vocally led sound. Singer Jen Connell has a hauntingly beautiful voice and uses it to great effect; juxtaposing it against lively and instantly likeable 1960’s pop influenced efforts. Honestly HWCH was already a success in our eyes for having included this band in the line up, they really are an act that everyone should catch if given the chance, and considering the fact that the song No one loves you like I do which the group debuted during the show has been rattling through our brains ever since we heard it, it’s safe to say this group has the potential to go from strength to strength.

Next up was Meeting House Square to see the much vaunted Ana Gog; a band making some serious waves at the moment and it doesn’t take long to see why. The vocals possess warmth and sincerity rarely heard nowadays where overly produced music abounds, not to mention that the musicianship on display when they take the stage is top class. Ana Gog list influences such as Radiohead and Bjork and they could broadly be described as an alternative offering; to do so however would be a great disservice, as they cannot be pigeonholed into one specific genre or category. Ana Gog regularly play all around Dublin and indeed the country and have recently announced a two week tour of India so be sure to try and see them before they set off.

Saturday was a tricky proposition as we had to cover several venues for the purposes of this review; first up was Bad Bob’s, a venue that has had more name changes than Prince but one which still serves up a decent atmosphere for a live show to see Let’s Set Sail. This group originally started out as a three piece but over time have expanded to five members and feature a male/female vocal partnership that works beautifully. Unfortunately technical issues cut the set short but what we did manage to see was suitably impressive to make us want to catch another show in the near future.

Afterwards we hotfooted over to Meeting House Square yet again, a thankfully short journey considering the typically Irish mid-October weather, to catch Sweet Jane a band that has been around for quite a while now and one we’ve seen many times in various locations over the years, this however did in no way dampen our enthusiasm as these lads can seriously play. Made up of four brothers from clan Paxton and an “adopted brother” Sweet Jane or Buffalo Sunn as they are now known are a big, old school guitar band and it comes as no surprise that they have been a regular on the Irish festival scene or that their music has been featured on home grown TV shows such as RTE’s Raw. We hope that the name change does not hinder this band and hopefully their November single release of Seven Seas continues the success that the group have enjoyed in recent times.

Last up on our tour of HWCH was Spies a five-piece indie offering that have been riding high since their single Distant Shoreline’s hit earlier in the year. Spies have a sound reminiscent of The National due to the singer Michael Broderick’s almost baritone voice, but yet again this comparison is only for the sake of giving you a rough idea of what to expect and in no way a full representation of what this group brings to the stage. Be sure to look out for latest single November Sun which has just been released.

Despite our best efforts we were unable to see but a fraction of the music on display, something we hope to rectify next time around, but if the acts we caught were any indication standards were extremely high all throughout the weekend. As usual Hard Working Class Heroes showcased some of the very best young, independent artists that this country has to offer and helps prove once again that Ireland has a thriving and exciting music scene hidden all around us, and we should all remember to try and encourage Irish music year round rather than just big annual events such as HWCH as unless these bands have a livelihood year round these events will eventually disappear from our calendars.

Robert Curgenven Gig Review

9 Oct

Upon first arriving at The Joinery to interview Robert Curgenven and see him perform along with Anthony Kelly and David Stalling, what immediately struck both Thom and I was the magnificent combination of these three artists’ set-up. On either side of Curgenven’s central desk you had Kelly and Stalling’s set-up, a vast array of equipment including a variety of homemade instruments, bug boards and a luminist garden; a dream for anyone interested in DIY-instruments and electronics, and which made Thom in particular giddy with excitement.

In the centre you then had Curgenven’s set-up, two turntables and a mixer; simple, not in any way out of the ordinary, yet positioned in between and in contrast to the two tables of glorious ragbag instruments, there was truly something imposing about it; both a focal and a control point. Listening to Curgenven’s music prior to this evening I was prepared and hoping for something both open-ended and precise; something governed by both utter chance and strict purpose. The glorious set-up of these three artists seemed to suggest just that, and I was not to be disappointed.

First up was an improvisational performance between Anthony Kelly and David Stalling, founders of the Dublin-based sound art label Farpoint Recordings. That these two artists have known each other for many years and have performed together on multiple occasions came as no surprise after witnessing them play, for although the performance was completely improvised, the various layers of sounds that emerged were pulsating, tribal, tactile and at times jarring, yet always managed to seamlessly coalesce into each other. They created a soundscape that to me was most affective in the way that it allowed associations to form and dissolve, for me to find myself singling out a particular sound, to try and ‘work it out’ just as it had escaped me. As they themselves confessed at the end, their sound on this day was significantly dark, resulting in something that was both challenging and brooding, whilst retaining soothing qualities.

Next up was Robert Curgenven. Before starting his performance, he tried to lay out the context of his works with a short spoken introduction. Not something you see often before a show, it felt particularly relevant to Curgenven’s approach to and intention for making the music that he does. As he told me in the interview, there is a distinct dramaturgy involved in making and performing his work, further demonstrated by the very inclusion of an introduction. What stuck out in particular was the overarching question that he raised in relation to the particular compositions he was going to perform for us that evening; how to “encounter the ‘other’ in the desert”. For this, Curgenven recorded some of the most remote parts of the Australian desert, desolate places with nothing for more than 100km in each direction. He then performs these separate resulting field recordings by mixing them together in what he himself referred to as a more “cinematic” way, and through the employment and heavy reliance of bass turns these recordings into something that not only documents vast areas of space, but that also manages to create a shallow space within the listener’s perception. The heavy bass tinges you viscerally, pushing you into your seat, or as Thom put it rather nicely, creates the impression of being “dragged along the floor”, while you still remain free to roam the vast terrain of sound that is being offered to the audience. Curgenven seems to have a true mastery over that difficult process of taking something so wholly contingent and governed by chance as recordings of a desert, and controlling them with such precision as to invest them with something that emerges as a determinable physical sensation.

The heightened smell of overheating dust that stopped the performance short was disappointing, although at the same time strangely rather fitting, in particular because it was not clear at first where the smell came from: was it the amp overheating, as was our first guess; was it the PA dying; or was it just the dust on the walls? The room was ripe with a sense of something almost visceral, but it was difficult to discern which component it was that was achieving this effect.

As a final performance Curgenven, Stalling and Kelly, improvised together; never having collaborated before. Disparate sounds managed to form a crackling harmony full of feedback and bass, with all three artists assuredly adapting to the unforeseeable trajectories of the emerging sounds. It was an impressive ending to an enthralling evening, which on a whole was as defiant as it was consoling; an experience that made one think whilst at the same time warming our chilled hearts cold from the dreary, rainy Dublin outside.

Geniale Dilletanten

19 Aug

I was recently watching one of the DVD-Features “slices” from the German music magazine Electronic Beats on youtube, where they featured sound-artist Alva Noto, who founded the acclaimed Raster Noton label. A lot of what he said struck me as very interesting, in particular his allusion to the importance of employing things incorrectly in the process of creating music, and his nod to one of the major influences of this vision, the “Geniale Dilletanten” (the ‘Ingenious amateurs’): one of the most interesting groupings of inter-disciplinary bands in the German experimental music-field of the 80s, whose impact stretches far beyond singular artists such as Alva Noto and whose philosophy of how to make sound and music remains both as aesthetically and politically viable today as it did back then: “There was this term in the 80s which I like, ‘ingenious amateurs’ (‘Geniale Dilettanten’). That with a certain kind of dilettantism and ignorance, you are less scared to touch things and to do stuff. (…) I think it’s very important to use something in the wrong or radical way.”

The term ‘Geniale Dilettanten’ (translated here as ‘ingenious amateurs’ – one could also say ‘Dilettante Geniuses’) stems from a now notorious music event called “Die große Untergangsshow – Festival Genialer Dilletanten” (“The great downfallshow”) that took place on the 4. September 1981 IN Berlin, and where, amongst many others, such influential and notorious bands as Einstürzende Neubauten, Die Tödliche Doris (Video), or Malaria! performed and were first exposed to a larger audience. Playing within various styles, some more post-punk, some more industrial or strictly avant-garde etc., what combined them all was their radical edge, their vast experimentation with noise and form, and their contempt for and resistance against the growing professionalism that was overtaking popular music-production, shackled by conceptions of “progress” manifested in the ever-growing refinement of production techniques and structures that attempt to set themselves up as the ‘norm’; a problem still very much prevalent today. The term “Geniale Dilletanten” was later on appropriated to refer to the bands associated with this festival, and it also became the title of a book edited by Wolfgang Müller, founder of the avant-gard of the lot, Die Tödliche Doris, which discusses and documents this historic event (at least for the field of experimental DIY music). #

I recently purchased this book, and I found Müller’s small essay in it, entitled “Die Wahren Dilletanten” (‘The True Dilettantes’) to be of such potential interest and inspiration, in particular for this blog, that I thought that instead of trying to formulate what he says in my own words, I will simply translate it (as I also did not find any existing translation). Of course I am not actually a translator, not by a long shot, and some of this text is quite convoluted and idiosyncratic. Yet I have tried my best to deliver the text with as much fidelity to the original as possible. Some of it may seem unclear and not all of it refers to instruments or recording techniques and devices, yet I hope that in particular the second half of Müller’s text will strike as much of a chord with you readers as it has done with me, and that from it we can all learn to accept and relish the failures, mistakes and hiccups that we laymen bring to the fore every time we make and perform music.

Die Wahren Dilletanten (The True Dilettantes) – Wolfgang Müller, translated by Aran Kleebaur

In the announcement of the “Great Downfall-Show”, the “festival of the ingenious dillettantes”, the cultured professional will notice the peculiar spelling of the word “dilettante”. In this the professional and confident musician encounters the confirmation of an old pre-judgement, associated with which is the first clue to his seemingly legitimate defense against this form of articulation.

The requirement for the understanding and judging of the self, necessary for the coming into being of critiques, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has assembled under the concept of “Dilettantismus” (amateurism). Thus, to this day, these reflexions are subject to a negative evaluation. In his essay on cultural-amateurs and civilisation professionals, Bazon Brock observes “who would want to see themselves referred to as an amateur, even if Goethe himself perceived himself to be such.” The situation which Goethe formulates consisted of a rejection of the extremes between academic “Stubenhockerei” (couch-potato-ism) and do-it-yourself pathos. Only now, so Brock states, can this objective be once again understood fully: the construction of personality, individuation, is the undeniable requirement for the ability of the individual to be fully integrated within a social union. These life-associations, as it is formulated today, must be taken into account in the false-spelling of the word, if we are to put Blixa Bargeld’s (frontman of Einstürzende Neubauten) new formulation, which certainly does not imply a misunderstanding of the original meaning, into the correct context. The understanding of false- playing and false-writing as a positive value, as a condition in finding new, unknown forms of expression, should be made universally apparent.

With the gradual disappearance of linguistic dialects towards a uniform language, caused by mass media, the true amateur is given a further field to plow. “False” verbal forms of expressions, such as stuttering, the swallowing of words and forgetting of lyrics, are the everyday reality for the amateur and thus also interesting research areas which, through detailed consideration, generate new forms and content.

The “ingenuity”, which describes nothing other than the intensive intensity in dealing with the material, is considered the intention of the amateur, who does not wish to halt at simple mass-art. The musical experiments of past times, that mostly isolated within the artistic framework could not elicit much interest from the masses – (the opposition/contrast between demanding experimental music and mass-music was way more crass than it is today) – come to a symbiosis within DIY-endeavours, offering precisely a new understanding of the term mass-music; a “style” as ingenious un-knowledge, i.e. knowledge.

Amateurism in musical (but also all other possible) fields has nothing to do with a standstill due to non-professionalism – on the contrary – by including all possible and supposedly impossible areas, development can find a universal form of expression that is never actually granted the helpless professional.

Focal or starting points, whether it’s the knitting of sweaters or making music with your family, are to be found in the endeavours of every amateur.

With the ongoing, endless chain of refining and complicating instruments and recording techniques, a process which attempts to show a “progress” where in reality only an emptiness becomes visible, amateurism can trigger a provocative shock by attacking this so-called “progress” – a highly outdated concept – with noise and racket.

Anyone can create noise and racket, you do not need digital-recording techniques or a 36-track studio with thousands of sophisticated elements. The representatives of progress see the danger that faces them, defend themselves from it by emphasizing the negative substance present in words such as noise/racket and chaos, and denouncing these as the only features of this production of sound. Wholesome noise, however, is a concentrate of various contents; being both medication and stimulation, it can inspire liberation.

More shocking for the serious musician – as he sees himself – is the fact that ingenious amateurs can often-times create, after only a short time, the same beautiful sounds that are forever supposed to be something foreign to the layman. There is no need to scorn the existence of refined techniques and their associated opportunities. Now that it is there, it can also be used if it seems necessary. Amateurism suffers no harm; the meaning present in beautiful sounds – be it a persiflage thereof – determines the value of the information.

The danger that this possibility entails is the conviction, that one is now a “proper musician”, a professional. On this misjudgement are also based the misconceptions of listeners not familiar with this subject matter and who end up fitting professional-like charismatic outlines on dilettantes such as Hendrix with his guitar-acrobatics.

Serious musicians, dogged, stubborn and involuntary humorous, cannot produce funny sounds, because in order to find the unknown, one must have fun in playing, joyful playing, which may well be coupled with violent pain. If one understands this concept of amateurism fully, you cannot become a serious musician. Sure that would be death itself.

- Aran Kleebaur

Vatican Shadow at the Twisted Pepper (29th June 2013)

22 Jul

In the 1988 cult sci-fi movie They Live, directed by John Carpenter, a handful of revolutionaries are trying to make the human race aware of the fact that their individual and collective consciousness is being manipulated, controlled and force-fed to us by alien-oppressors disguised as humans. The first instance in which we are made aware of this in the movie is through an interference in the late night television program, with a shot of a man suddenly cutting through the program, feverishly informing the viewers that “our impulses are being redirected, we live in an artificially-induced state of consciousness […] The underclass is growing, Human rights are non-existent; in their repressive society, we are their unwilling accomplices, their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness, we have been lulled into a trance, they have made us indifferent.” What is so significant about this scene, and what to me makes it all the more politically relevant today, is not so much the content of these interferences (although they too hold significant truth), but rather the form through which they are delivered to the viewers. The transmission appears amidst noise interferences, the signal continuously broken up, with the speaker battling to deliver his message against the visual glitches and aural distortion. In the scene, two of the viewers complain that it is giving them a headache. Later on in the movie, when the main protagonist finds a box of sunglasses that allow the wearer to identify the hidden propaganda messages behind all media,, as well as identify which humans are actually part of the alien invaders, he too complains that these glasses give him a headache.

vatican shadow 2

You may be wondering what relevance this all has to Vatican Shadow’s live-show in the Twisted Pepper at the end of last month. Yet in my opinion, these scenes from They Live in fact point to one of the most striking elements of Dominick Fernow’s music and performance as Vatican Shadow, at least on the night of the 29th June downstairs in the Twisted Pepper.

Dominick Fernow, who has been producing noise music under numerous alias’s and genres, most notably Prurient and Vatican Shadow, has a political agenda that is both ostensibly clear as well as significantly ambiguous. The title of Vatican Shadow songs, such as “Church Of All Images (Church Of The NSA)”; “India Has Just Tested A Nuclear Device”; “Shooter In The Same Uniform As The Soldiers”; or my favourite, “Voices Came Crackling Across A Motorola Hand-Held Radio”, all have political undertones, yet remain open-ended and merely suggestive, without making any direct claims as to stance and opinions. His distorted, at times ambient or vicious techno tracks follow up on this, delivering devastatingly honest accounts in sound that something very amiss lies seething and bubbling under the surface of our daily existence. Especially in Fernow’s conception of his live show, the content is only half the deal. What plays a big part as well are the tensions the music creates between it and the crowd; and at times it, quite literally, felt like a kick in the nuts.

Considering the sheer volume and layers of sound, the equipment seemed quite minimal. It all fitted into a metallic suitcase, consisting, as far as I could make out, of an analogue tape deck, a mixer, maybe some effect pedals, and a couple of Ipods. This did not allow for the smoothest of mixing, made (deliberately?) evident already in the transition from the first to the second song; the more ambient first track jarringly cut short, leading with a sudden jolt into a rollicking beat that immediately made us aware that those first few minutes were deceptive, and that we were in for a world of trouble. From then on, the show was governed by an onslaught of harsh, distorted industrial techno beats, accompanied by the epileptic, frenzied movements of Fernow himself. The whole show was penetrating as well as alienating, at times maybe ecstatic yet always both mentally and physically challenging. One thing was for sure, it could not be shrugged away. Instead, the noise, the beat and Fernow’s performance forced me to engage with the situation, to try and constantly find my place and rhythm within it anew; never allowing me to fully achieve this while still making me want to continue trying. One moment in particular sticks in my mind: dancing ferociously to one of the more extremely fast-paced beat-driven extracts of his set, I saw a glimpse of Fernow, whose fervour by far exceeded all of the audience’s exertions (maybe even put together), seemingly screaming and gesticulating from the corner of the room at us to do more, to be more active, to come on and f***ing dance your f***ing legs off. Although indeed the audience remained considerably passive throughout the show, Fernow’s appeal at this moment seemed absurd to me, considering that at this particular instance we, or at least I, felt I could not have been stomping any more than I already was. I may be wrong, but I think Fernow understands these situations very well, and acts very much accordingly. There was a sense that we were never to feel fully at ease with the music and ourselves; never feel that our engagement with him and his music has reached some sort of synthesis. With this, Fernow taught me an important lesson about what noise music should be about, and in the process also managed to bridge the gap between electronic music and performance art; the show not being about the music in itself so much as the constant ‘feedback-loop’ between the music, Fernow and the audience members.

I could not help also thinking about the piece “TV-Ad- Through The Night Softly” by early performance artist Chris Burden. 

For this work, Burden bought nine-seconds of late-night ad-time on a local TV-station that was shown five-times a week for four weeks. In this ad-space, Burden showed a clip of his performance-piece Through the Night Softly, in which he crawls on broken shards of glass, with his hands tied behind his naked body. As Burden remarks in his “Documentation of selected works”, the content of the piece was not so important, but rather that “it stuck out like a sore thumb, and that I had the satisfaction of knowing that 250,000 people saw it every night, and that it was disturbing to them, that they knew something was amiss.”1 Although no elements of noise are used in Burden’s piece, it nevertheless points to the heart of what noise is, and it is in this way also that Fernow’s music, and in particular his live-show as Vatican Shadow, was and is so political. There are no political statements made as such, other than in the suggestive song-titles; also the music remains free from making any form of ethical judgements, and he allows it to show its evil as well as beautiful side. He seems to be acutely aware that to evoke or communicate the cruelty that is going on in our world, one cannot package it into a steady and stable form of content. It must be unleashed onto us, without warning, to see how we deal with it; allowing us to tap into its brutal reality through sound.



This is where the potential for noise lies in my opinion. Noise as the sudden emergence of a failed transmission. If I may appropriate the terms of philosopher Roland Barthes and his concept of the Punctum; noise, when employed properly, can feel to me like that moment during the viewing of a particular photograph, that “sting, speck, cut, little hole – and also a cast of the dice […] that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me).”2 This is what Vatican Shadow felt like, a beautifully orchestrated accident that pricked and bruised me by offering up the utter instability of modern communication. I was prepared to go through at the end of it all felt incredibly liberating.

Indeed, downstairs at the Twisted Pepper felt like a liminal, almost primal space of experience on the 29th June, and to me Vatican Shadow managed not to be submerge whilst finding moments where he could utterly break through the structures that create the “artificially-induced state of consciousness” it often does appear we are all so deeply embedded within.



- Aran Kleebaur



1 Chris Burden, in “Documentation of Selected Works”, available at http://www.ubu.com/film/burden_selected.html (accessed 4. April 2013).

2 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, (London:Vintage, 2000),p.27.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.