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The Tape-beatles on UbuWeb
Public Works - Matter (1996)
02 Mortal mind
05 Sudden impulse
06 Follow me
11 Song of the Great Wall
Matter picks up where the Tape-beatles left off, at the same time mutating analog production techniques to digital. With a paired-down membership, Ralph Johnson's compositional voice comes to the fore with remarkable inventiveness and self-assurance. Writing in Dream Magazine, George Parsons says:
"Here it's a vaster panorama, the nature of life, matter, existence; what turns the walnut into the walnut tree? Identity, self-image or just stunningly stoney constructions that fill the center of your mind with swirling unfolding or driving eerie momentum fueled by psychic somnambulistic frenzy and an organic/synthetic flow of energy and intention, tempered by the always essential ability to make intelligent (or lucky/intuitive) choices."
Public Works constructs a soundtrack using looped samples which are subtly varied to maintain the listener's interest, while at the same time maintaining a series of arresting rhythms simultaneously chaotic and steady-state. Over this are layered various effects and spoken texts from other sources, which say what they mean, or are made to say what they are not saying, but nonetheless we think they really mean. It is by turns, heady or visceral, funny or grand, somber or danceable, grave or uplifting.
Live performance by:
CD release (1996): Staalplaat, Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Berlin, Germany
Additional material at: http://pwp.detritus.net/works/recordings