Discontinuity and noise, practiced before live audiences in 1983 and 1985, The Art of Memory is perhaps more significant as a document of events than as the now remastered and endlessly repeatable artifact of some possibly unrepeatable events. Work such as this prompts the need for a more important discussion to be had concerning the role of recording and the transformation that occurs in making essentially in-the-moment experiential efforts such as these subject to the time-collapsing scrutiny of repeated listening, but not here or now. Instead, the simpler argument, even 33 years on, that sees a still large portion of the listening public that will not admit the access of pure sound, or unpitched noises, into the definition of music. A definition which, as settled on during the 20th century, clearly and enthusiastically embraces any and every vibration occurring in air or in the chassis of some electronic or mechanical device.
The extrapolations documented here are largely aggressive and abrasive, stunningly divergent in their range of sounds and clearly inspiring to waves of sound artists pressing the need for open ears. Whether or not one acquires the taste for such apparently astructural and pitchless work is hardly the point – there is an already un-confessed predilection for sound over music and it is an appallingly narrow one: Think Electric Guitar and then think no more.
So for those who feel, somewhere in the back of their minds, that there is an urgent need to hear beyond the instrument and the tyranny of four, John Zorn and Fred Frith will assist as your guide. The Art of Memory is as good a place as many to start taking a stick to your dogma.
01) The Heaven
02) The Wood
03) The Standard
04) The Wheel
05) The Painter