John Mallia

TRANSCRIPTIONS

[mp3]

3:15

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Sounds of writing vividly evoke the tactile satisfaction derived from the associated mechanical means of putting words on paper. Hearing a manual typewriter stamp impressions forcefully across a surface means feeling the resistance of keys as they are depressed and the recoil of levers and wires as they are set into motion and back again. The amplification of the incessant scratchings of a busy pencil heightens one’s awareness of the friction that flows from point of contact through the hand as the writing instrument moves against the paper. Similarly, the warm hum of an electric typewriter is felt resonating beneath the fingers.

In TRANSCRIPTIONS, recordings of sounds such as those described above are collaged and layered in a dense chorus of purposeful patterings. Each instrument makes its contribution to a collective pool of audible thoughts and, through association and memory, is experienced tactically as well as aurally. Patterns of articulation emerge resulting in an "abstracted" semantic sphere detached from the language being "transcribed." The language, in this work, is taken from the introduction of The Raw and the Cooked by Claude Levi-Strauss:

Musique Concrète may be intoxicated with the illusion that it is saying something; in fact, it is floundering in non-significance.

For me, the statement’s meaning is negated by its own anatomy as one experiences the sound and "feel" of its repeated transcription.