Room40 To Release Old Scanner Work In Full

Scanner's Mass Observation, famously sampled by Björk, will be released in full for the first time by Room40

Lawrence English’s Room40 label has announced the release of Scanner’s work Mass Observation in full for the first time.

The piece was famously sampled by Björk in 1995 on her track ‘Possibly Maybe’, in the form of the pulsing electronic tone that runs through the song. Many may not know though that the sample itself wasn’t actually cleared for use.

The recording sees a young Jim O’Rourke and Robert Hampson teaming up with Robin Rimbaud, otherwise known as Scanner, and originally dates back to 1994. Like other works by Rimbaud, it reflects his concern with surveillance and the dichotomy of public and private space, issues that are still on people’s minds today.

"There were three performers and one witness," says Rimbaud of the recording the piece. "I can remember this day so well, even though it was some twenty-four years ago. Standing up before a mixing desk in a dark room in an apartment in South London, Jim O’Rourke, Robert Hampson and myself, literally all hands-on deck as we each took responsibility for the faders on the desk.

"Introducing sounds to the mix, unexpected, unpredictable, where the accident reigned supreme. Sometimes the high frequency of cellular noise would pervade the atmosphere, at other junctures it would erupt into words and melt down to radio hiss."

Room40 will release an edited four-minute version of the piece, which you can hear above, alongside the full expanded version which has never been widely heard before now.

The label will release Mass Observation on CD and digitally on October 5. You can pre-order it here.

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