Brandon LaBelle

Music on a Short Thin Wire

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Like in Alvin Lucier's Music on a Long Thin Wire, Brandon LaBelle's album has at its heart a piece of copper. If the great minimalist's experiment triggered the process, the results are very different. Asked for a CD by the label Ground Fault, LaBelle decided to direct his attention on the first eight productions released by the record company. He attached a copper wire over a speaker and to a contact microphone, repeated this preparation to have two units, and then played two Ground Fault CDs, one in each speaker. What we hear is not a mesh of the two albums' music, but the "sympathetic vibrations" triggered by the music of LaBelle's colleagues. The delicate metallic textures tend to be linear -- not that there aren't any variations, but this kind of installation has a limited range of possibilities. As a concept, Music on a Short Thin Wire is fascinating: the composer's process renders the label's production homogenous, but at the same time each album is given an identity, a signature. As music, this sound installation offers little reward. LaBelle could have varied the textures by putting objects inside the paper cones of the speakers, an idea pioneered by Xavier Charles, but it would have pushed the project outside its rules.

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