The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Parallel Worlds: Peter Strickland's Favourite Albums
Colm McAuliffe , June 3rd, 2014 13:03

On the occasion of the Berberian Sound Studio and Katalin Varga director releasing Wasp Boutique, a collaboration between Art-Errorist and Zsolt Sőrés, on his record label, and with a new feature film on the way, he sits down with Colm McAuliffe to talk 13 formative favourites


John Duncan - Phantom Broadcast
I thought I'd reached my darkest listening limits after Great White Death by Whitehouse, (which itself is a masterpiece of terror) but then I heard John Duncan's Blind Date, which is even more difficult to endure. Many of his films and art/installation pieces are just as searing and brutal, but this album he made a decade or so ago is a beautiful, ethereal piece constructed from shortwave static. Someone described it as sounding similar to Ligeti's Lux Aeterna and that's not far off the mark. There is this ghostly choral presence trying to break through the shield of shortwave distortion.

Because you know it's made by John Duncan, you can't help framing it within a darker context even though there is nothing transgressive this time. It's just wonderfully strange and hypnotic - the perfect album to go to sleep to. I'm quite a big fan of shortwave noise in general. I loved that five-CD Conet Project series with the Numbers Stations. It's a parallel, shadow world of data and communication that has such an evocative and otherworldly texture.