More Encores: Christian Marclay Plays With the Records Of...

Christian Marclay

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More Encores: Christian Marclay Plays With the Records Of... Review

by Thom Jurek

Christian Marclay may be the unwitting inventor of turntablism. This disc is a stellar example of why. The music here is by such unlikely compatriots as Johann Strauss, John Zorn, John Cage, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Ferrante and Teicher, Louis Armstrong, Martin Denny, Maria Callas, Jimi Hendrix, and Frederic Chopin. Basically, Marclay terrorizes the listener with his turntable manipulations of music by these artists. Each of the pieces here is dedicated to an artist whose records were used to create it. In the case of the Cage composition, Marclay cut slices from several records and pasted them back together on a single disc. On everything else the records were mixed together via several turntables simultaneously, then recorded and overdubbed in analogue. So what does it sound like? It's a mess, pure and simple. But in many cases, it's a compelling mess. The Cage piece is one example where the deep cracks in the records are audible as pieces of music from "Works for Prepared Piano," the string quartets and "Atlas Eclipticalis," among others, were used. The Chopin piece is like mad circus music, careening like an organ grinder's monkey got hold of the instrument. The Louis Armstrong track was recorded using a hand-crank gramophone and therefore its non-sampled charm is everywhere present. Also, the Gainsbourg/Birkin track in some ways tracks better than their own songs. Ultimately, though, all the speed changes become irritating throughout. Given that this was the ultimate use of a turntable back in 1988, and was a different take on sampling, it's an interesting disc. [Originally issued as a 10" vinyl record, More Encores was reissued on CD by Chris Cutler's Recommended label in 1996.]

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