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Baker's Dozen

Thirteen Types Of Elsewhere: Mark Fell's Favourite Albums
Wyndham Wallace , October 9th, 2014 09:14

On the eve of his appearance at Semibreve, Portugal's annual celebration of "exploratory music and digital arts", Mark Fell guides us through his most beloved releases


Terre Thaemlitz - Soulnessless
It's a bit lame to include an album by a friend, but I think with this Terre has thought about the album as a culturally understood form and attempted to cross-examine it. An album's duration used to be about 45 minutes, because that is roughly how much could fit onto two sides of vinyl. Here Terre takes that to an extreme, and fills an SD card with MP3 data of reasonable quality to fill as much space as possible. I like how Terre's project kind of asks us to consider how the album as a culturally understood form is necessarily tied into the material qualities of the thing we buy it on - vinyl, cassette, card, download or whatever. The thread I've been kind of holding onto throughout these 13 has to do with the album as a thing. Like I say, I've not included any classical works here because, first and foremost, they are not composed as album music, and instead are generally thought of as instructions to performers. The album kind of opposes that paradigm. The music industry still holds onto this notional split between the music "in essence" and music "as recorded" - i.e. as a tangible manifestation of that essence. Soulnessless is a great example of that oppositional paradigm - it makes little sense to separate the music from the recording.