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WHETHAM, SIMON - Mall Muzak

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Unfathomless U07
Release Year: 2011
Note: seventh release in this strong series by MYSTERY SEA, dealing with "spirits of specific places"; MALL MUZAK is a drone-work for a "half-derelict" shopping-centre in Bristol, using original sounds from this now rather desolated place of consumerism; lim. 200, numbered, full-colour cover
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €14.00


More Info

"In 2009, as part of the All Around You season of sonic events co-ordinated by Alastair Cameron at Arnolfini, Matt Davies for The Cube and myself, I was invited to produce a site-specific work for a half-derelict shopping centre called The Mall in Bristol. I proposed exploring the space with various microphones and techniques to uncover sounds not normally heard by the shopping public.
Memories of family visits from my childhood portrayed the shopping centre as a crammed and noisy place, every shop a brightly lit shrine, drawing in its worshippers, enticing them to empty their pockets of coins and notes
On returning to The Mall, it was apparent that the current recession had hit hard, with almost half the units with their shutters down, possibly never to open again. The seemingly empty drones of the various processes that keep a structure like this alive could be heard over the scattering of shoppers who had entered, wandering some distance from one active unit to another.
These lifesigns of the building became more apparent behind the scenes, in the corridors that link the units, hidden from view, in the units that were closed, in the storage areas and delivery bays. The drones become more musical and tonal, singing a lament to the financial situation and to better times. The chattering of air conditioning and escalators echoing that of now absent consumers. Coins drop in an empty space, money thrown away.(Simon Whetham)" [label info]

www.unfathomless.net



"These days it seems if Simon Whetham is everywhere, now with a release on Unfathomless. For this one he made field recordings in The Mall, Broadmead, Bristol. We see a picture of him on the insert, holding up his microphone, near the escalator. Shopping is not an activity I enjoy very much, nor shopping centers, perhaps for that reason that they always buzz with activity. People, ventilators, escalators, and above muzak. I am not sure if Whetham feels the same about malls, and calls his release 'Mall Muzak', with a sarcastic undercurrent, or perhaps even considers this to be alternative muzak for shopping malls, but somehow I think this is all not the case. His piece (lasting almost fifty minutes) is a musical survey of activity going on in malls. Exactly the ventilators, escalators, the eternal buzz. He captured the whole lot and put this into a great musical piece of buzzing and humming tones, occasionally with the obscure sounds of objects falling, pushed to the faraway background. Although I didn't hear Whetham do much beyond what he usually does, I think this was a pretty good CD, perhaps even one of the best I heard from him so far. Minimal yet always changes in smaller details and throughout making an excellent form of new muzak - now, if malls would play this I'd be around them more. Perhaps." [FdW/Vital Weekly]