Tuesday, January 29, 2013


 Rick Lee, Sound Sculptor.

I think the first time I saw Rick play was at Collective Unconscious sometime in the early nineties, when it was a storefront in alphabet city. We both lived and worked up at the hostel up on 104th and Amsterdam.


Checking my assumptions behind the materiality of sound, I'm looking for theoretical support, and I think I've found someone who's done the work: Pierre Schaeffer and his "Traite des objets musicaux." Founder of "musique concrete," Schaeffer coined the term "sound object:" an irreducible sound unit to be taken under consideration as a thing completely separate from its source. Many if not most of his writings have not been translated, so I'm reading interpreters of his work (right now Brian Kane).



Also, Husserl, philosopher of phenomenology, keeps showing up in many of my readings... When writing of the experience of the present moment, Husserl states:

Every perceived time is perceived as a past that terminates in the present. And the present is a limit. Every apprehension, however transcendent it may be, is bound by this law. If we perceive a flight of birds or a troop of cavalry at the gallop and the like, we find in the substratum of sensation the described differences: ever new primal sensations carrying with them the characteristic that determines their temporal position and gives rise to their individuation; and, on the other side, we find the same modes in the apprehension. It is precisely in this way that something objective itself– the flight of birds– appears as primally given in the now-point but as fully given in a continuum of the past that terminates in the now and continually terminates in an ever new now, while what has continuously preceded recedes ever further into the continuum of the past. -- from A Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time, Edmund Husserl, Google books, p. 208.

I changed this a bit in a recent abstract I sent out for yet another conference: The 'Ever-New Then:' The Repeated Sound as an Artifactual Witness to the Kinetic Past. I'm interested in forming this idea of the kinetic past as it is presented to us by sound, since sound must move, even an historic or prehistoric sound-form must be in motion in order to exist, this presents a past moment to us in all of its dynamic brilliance.

Rick Lee (rancid dawgs, skeleton key, butter 08, cibo matto, enon, etc. etc....)



... and how relevant is the 'repeated sound' to industrialization? Couldn't be more pertinent, methinks, for so many reasons. The lulling, narcotic effect, the trance inducing quality of industrial sound is integral to the formation of industrial society. The power of 'the repeated sound' is undeniable.
At a recent conference it was pointed out to me that phenomenology is the study of the perception of external events, and it puts an emphasis upon the perceiver, while a materialist places more credence in the existence of things in and of themselves.

Theoretically, it boils down to one question I guess: 'If the steam stamp stamps, but no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?'
The answer is a definitive Yes! Why else would we travel so far to see rock concerts?