Sound Artist (fragment)


Antoine d'Agata3

Night and day are alike. He wakes, sponges down and changes his paper undergarments; tweaks the custom app some more. Then to vomiting and dreams of wounded, undead animals. Sax, his oncologist, said NuCas proteins are blind to the fast mutants. An algorithm more sophisticated than any official treatment is coming back at them from who knows where.


The Thing has become too real, a public health issue even.


Image cap: soiled clothing for the fans.


In a headspin, he pushes the window open. He settles onto the ground, breathing enough; too long expert in the art of falling. He is his own dedicated pornographer. Something hoping to be heard; fearing it is too late not to be. He sinks into a dream of red silk.


In FM synthesis the “modulator” wave displaces the frequency of the “carrier” by a value proportionate to its amplitude over a period determined by its frequency. Typically, modulator and carrier are simple sines, pure tones. The modulator “tickles” the frequency of the carrier, skewing complex harmonics and inharmonics.


Here the raw carrier is from a bell called Obertura, recorded in the lost country ….  This means opening in the forgotten language of her people. As you can hear the sample is deprived of its onset and time-stretched for eternity.


Increment the modulation. The source, Rosa, former inhabitant.


She lives/lived in whatever came to replace it. We are trying to come to terms with it. You have seen the videos. Alone in an ugly room, with only a chair, a chamber pot and a few modest devices. The occasional peeled dancer pirouettes there, sleek and wet as when he shudders in her. She talks to the fourth wall people, but is she answered or rebuffed? We see here an effect perhaps of our excessive “control freakery” as you like to put it.


Daddy Bear, a black box head, corpse-white as his contrast to the chamber accentuates and flickers like decaying film stock. Her world is nuanced. Unlike the dancers. She has skin: ruddy and marbled with ferrous contusions. She screams through the bell – a soul in unending ice.

She wants Daddy to make her ring purer. Rustle through the layers of distortion. Remove the mid-range filters. The voice is abstract, second order. Patterns all the way down.


But it has often been stated – sometimes in the most ringing terms – that we are nothings. But what can that mean? The negation is asinine.


The keening has the requisite insistence and familiarity of a particular thing, like an antique mirror fracturing in a darkened room at midday. You hear her long painslut roar again; granulated silence, final heat-duct memory.


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