Header image: Image: Eric Fischer, Flow Map, 2013 (New York City)
The performance is published on Bandcamp and SoundCloud:
The piece was performed and recorded live at Sound Topographies Festival at Škuc Gallery, by an invitation of Nina Dragičević. It is based on various field recordings, in their raw form often sounding quite piercing for the ear. Field recordings are the most interesting for the person who finds them, in simultaneity with the sound event, in direct contact with the sound-field source. Such encounters are marked by an element of surprise in a discrete event, a non-reproducible moment in time. With repetition, this moment becomes an object in the archive of memory, of something known and transmittable. In making the piece, the element of the unexpected plays a significant role in the tension between repetition and surprise.
I play with various frequencies in audio or electromagnetic spectrums, which are outside the range of human hearing. Often, such frequencies come in extremely high and sharp forms, when they are transposed to the human hearing range. These are exactly the frequencies that attract me most. I am producing such sound in an attempt to shift the flow of conscious thinking. In this way, the production of such persistent sounds is political, because they nullify the capacity to be productive and efficient; the two imperatives imposed by the capitalist mode of reproduction. At the same time, these sounds are not particularly entertaining, and they offer relaxation only to the people who refuse to be relaxed in an anaesthetic way. The piece ideally works as a jammer for thought pollution.
A few words about field recording. In the immediacy of listening when recording, I am using amplifiers, detectors of frequencies, different antennas, coils, and transducers. I record outside of the hearing range, either in the electromagnetic fields or on the radio frequencies outside of the advertisement-polluted FM (AM or VHF). To walk through space with headphones and an amplifier of sorts is like floating in some virtual inter-space, which is not connected to online or digital virtuality, but a virtual space on the level of electromagnetic waves. In my utopian thinking, I imagine that computers and the web are not optimal carriers of virtuality. If we are ever to develop interfaces, which are more comfortable for our human bodies, we would have to invent new ways of virtualisation. I am not interested only in producing sound compositions but propose sounds, which would say something about the future. As a member of the contemporary cognitariat I feel flattened in two dimensions of a computer screen. And sometimes I am in awe of the 3D world with its forms and possibilities. An ordinary view of the world is a virtual reality to me. My listening to electromagnetic waves is a way of opening virtual spaces in expanded spatial and temporal dimensions.
The piece consists of modified fragments recorded with a radio receiver on AM waves. Mostly they are without narration, and sometimes a word or a melody creeps in. I listen to these tracks like they would be arias of some sort. The tracks also consist of sound layers recorded with an inductor coil for sound detection of electromagnetic waves. These recordings were mostly taken in 2013 during an AiR programme and in 2014 during the Sound Happens project in New York City, where the EM smog is omnipresent. These field recordings are also an inspiration to call this piece Underground Acceleration. What interests me in these sound layers is the tension of constant acceleration with few releases. The constant electromagnetic tension works like an illustration of capitalist depletion and accelerationism. The following raw EMF field recording of the NYC JZ train is a psychogeographical portrait of the never releasing tension of capitalist accelerationism.
To this day, my most beautiful melodic electromagnetic citation is that of light installation by Kurt Laurenz Theinert: Gespinst, recorded by EM coil detector. The installation exhibited a few years ago at the Lighting Guerrilla Festival in Ljubljana consists of blinking ultra thin neon lights that emit electromagnetic pulses. In addition to these field recordings, there are also several sound levels produced live with analogue synthesisers.
Last, perhaps a short geeky explanation of the title AMonFM. Not only are some AM transmissions channeled on radia-FM, the FM in the case of modular synthesis is also the Shape of a dozen of analogue patches made for this track.