Extremity Cassette at the AGYU

image by Bette Burgoyne

Peter Coutemanche (Absolute Value of Noise) and I made a little generative piece for Art’s Birthday back in 2009. We’ve redone the mix to play during Art’s Birthday 2011 and beyond as part of the Art Gallery of York University‘s ongoing “Audio Out” exhibition: which basically means infiltrating the hallway near the gallery with sounds to soothe (or aurally poke) the passing student.

Here’s the project description:

Extremity Cassette is a generative audio piece that imagines samples on a near-endless stretch of audio tape. Wound through a complex, multi-head cassette machine, the samples overlap with themselves, repeat, vanish and reappear. The magnetic nature of the machine itself picks up noises from the ether and mixes them with free reed and heterodyne sounds.

Inspired by the short story The White Death by Stanislaw Lem, where a planet made entirely of inorganic material is the crystalline host to fabulous machines, Extremity Cassette imagines a prehistoric mechanism that loops and churns out a never ending, ever changing musical score. Until one day the organic world is introduced … then rust interferes with the workings of the cassette … the sounds become progressively more erratic, and eventually stop.

Originally composed for Art’s Birthday, 17 January 2009, Extremity Cassette will play at the AGYU for Art’s Birthday 2011 from 5 January – 20 March 2011.

Peter Courtemanche (Absolute Value of Noise): VLF Antenna and Receiver
Anna Friz: Theremin, Harmonica, Kazoo, Melodica