Zbigniew Karkowski, Consciously Unconscious, Unconsciously Conscious (MKCD033)

The thirtieth and last of the Cinéma pour l’oreille cds is the most peculiar, too. Here’s how it breaks down: thirty seconds of distorted (backwards?) voices over some noise. Silence. Slowly growing rumble; slowly growing louder, slowly adding other sounds, a gritty, gravelly sound early, an unobstrusive wash about three and a half minutes in that vanishes almost before you’ve noticed it. A little over five minutes in, and the grit turns to a rhythmic, sandpapery sound, and the rumble gets more regular, like an engine. This lasts for about a minute and then it’s back to the original undifferentiated rumble but with some little furtive crackling over the top. Then the rumble plunges downward and stays there until 8:06, when it becomes a more a throb than a rumble. The sandpapery sound comes back about forty seconds later, and the throb settles into a drone. A high pitched sound that’s been very very quiet for about three minutes gets suddenly noticeably louder, and the low frequency matches the rhythm of the sandpaper until almost the ten minute mark. (The piece is 19:45.) Then there’s little else than a single low frequency tone until 11:15, when a lower tone takes over. (Yes, it’s a different tone, not just lower.) And then the sandpaper is back. Intermittently. While the tone gets throbby and a quickly pulsating higher sound pulsates until it’s all we can hear. Then there’s two of them, one of which starts breaking up almost immediately. And again. (My favorite bit.) That takes us to 14:36, and a tone. Mid range. Some electronic tweeting. Scratching. High tones. Throbbing. Higher. Even higher than that. And LOUDER.

And we’re done.

If I’ve given you the impression of someone at the controls of a noise generating program, turning knobs, changing filters and wave shape patterns, then that’s exactly what I meant. If I’ve given you the impression that its insouciant randomness is pretty damned entertaining, then I meant that, too.

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