May 10, 2009

Like New Years Day to the sound of Autechre

My recent drunken dabbles into the world of art included We Were Spending Precious Time, when some slightly stalky art types followed me around Manchester and documented my journey in an exhibition.

Part of the deal was me writing text for the exhibition, which was cut up and displayed amid a woven route on the wall of Manchester's Green Room.

Here, for the first time is that text. This is exclusive. You may want to write the word 'exclusive' inside a ten pointed star in red marker pen on your computer screen. That's how exclusive this is.

My journey traced recollections of profound silences in music events...

Three music events with three silences: one terrifying, one reflective, and one with its own strange beauty.

We started in the cold desolation of Jersey Street, where I recalled a terrifying clubbing experience at Sankey's Soap. Some, um, medication sent my body temperature into a dangerous downward spiral: the sweaty electro faded to silence as my vision tunnelled and I faced my own mortality. I recovered with the help of a friend and I was dancing again by the end of the night, but it scared me; silence has never felt so lonely, especially in the crowded vitality of Sankey's.

Track this journey: Why not play Modeselektor's 2000007 with the volume turned down?

Our next stop was Nexus Art Cafe on Dale Street. The Christian community Sanctus 1 meets here, and I am their resident DJ. I bed their services with ambient electronica, so whatever is happening -- people chatting, people taking communion, candles being lit -- there is a constant soundtrack of Boards Of Canada, Global Communication and the like. Silence in churches can be filled with fidgety echoes, but when I fade the music in Sanctus 1, the silence seems pronounced and, I hope, more reflective.

Track this journey: Why not play Susumu Yokota's Grass, Tree And Stone with the volume turned down?

We finished our journey on the balcony of Dukes 92 in Castlefield, where I remembered the days after the IRA bomb. The council threw a huge party here, with 808 State, fireworks and 20,000 party people. Other areas of town were windowless and wasted. The empty streets had a strange silence filled with unattended shop alarms -- like New Years Day to the sound of Autechre. The sparkles of glass strewn over concrete made Piccadilly Gardens more beautiful than it will ever be again.

Track this journey: Why not play 808 State's Cubik with the volume turned down?

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