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OLD TAPES, A GOOD DOG AND A NEW YEAR SOUNDING

1-1-09 sunrise sonoran desert

Atop a mountain in fading night, my daughter and I settle into a cliff facing east, listening for the sound of 2010 dawning in Tucson.

Train and highway drones roll beneath the flap of passing raven wings.

With morning light the early breeze begins, setting cactus spines in motion.

A  whispered song rises as the end of a decade begins.

Life measured out in milestones and benchmarks, low points and highlights.

The evolution of self passing from this into that.

Earlier in the year I'd been rummaging though old tapes from 20 plus years ago, youthful experiments with sound and environment, ideas unfolding.

And so the overlap began with vibrations preserved in magnetic amber.

An audible "beep" translated by tape head and reels, followed by: "Please leave a message at the sound of the tone."

Beep : The tone that instructs.

Captured and stored away within a box filled to bursting with its own kind, this tone lay preserved and unheard until discovered again nearly 2,000 miles from where it first began.

Eventually these six degrees of oscillation, recorded when I was 27, were reworked into a sound installation titled in faded blue pen: 1990 - Mix 4. (LISTEN HERE)

Contained within the plastic housing, is a narrative in magnetic resonance: a tentative romance fizzling, a car crash upon a mountain, the daily grind of a job culled from words, lingering family and childhood's end.

My way of attempting to make sense of that period, was to rework the answering machine messages, mixing them with salvaged tape decks and an old Radio Shack mixer, then setting it in motion to the pulsing ribbon of a feedback drone.

A second tape recently unearthed dates further back to 1988.

At 25 I stayed up late, listening with headphones to the Jersey City night, on a block cluttered with riot ravished abandoned buildings, windowless row homes, pitbulls and crack dealers and a life-force fueled by electric guitars on overloaded. (LISTEN HERE)

The tapes had been abandoned for bits and bytes and recording technology unimagined so long ago, but lovingly tucked into closets and storage spaces to ferment and mature.

And there's the rub.

Although I embrace the digital of today, there will never be anything quite like unwrapping the cellophane possibility of a fresh Maxell XL-IIS 90.

Every tape has its day and what was leads inevitably to what is.

When I was in my 20's, I'd leave tapes in restaurants and on buses for random listeners to find.

I gave them to family and friends much to their annoyance, and mailed them along with elaborate letters and copier muddied drawings to radio stations I knew I'd never hear from again.

Twice that lifetime later, the internet has opened dissemination potentials undreamed of before. (SAMPLING OF PRESS)

Who needs Sony or Columbia when you've got free wi-fi at the local coffee shop?

For 2010 an edited version of The Anta Project has been officially transformed into a four part digital download (along with Droneland Security) and one hundred percent of the sales will go to No More Deaths ---  (GET DOWNLOADS).

The Anta Project --- unedited, one track/ 56 minutes --- can also be purchased in hard copy, with photographs, liner notes and hand printed and numbered sleeves for collectors and fetishists (GET DISCS).

Sales from the discs will keep the site going and help cover the costs of burning more discs.

Recently The Anta Project was given some very kind ink in blastitude.com, by a writer who really got it dubbing the work "sound sociology." (READ REVIEW).

In the review the work of 
Alan Lamb and Jeph Jerman is referenced in the same breath as The Anta Project.

An honor to be sure.

A month or so earlier I'd had a chance to conduct a sonic walkabout at
Solar Culture prior to Jeph's set.

I left my recorder running to capture the sound of the space once we left and the sound of our return as we encountered Jeph's performance in progress.

The sonic walkabout altered the space with our leaving. Our presence was our lack of presence. (LISTEN HERE).

Upon our return people were attuned to intentional listening, so much so that an audience member slurping a pomegranate was at times as much the sonic focus as Jeph himself, for good or ill.

The sonic walkabout was an organic outflow of what was captured in those 20 year old tapes once again stored away.

And those tapes flowed from my time as the strange kid, chastised by family for enjoying solitude, watching clouds in left field during Little League practice, crossing winter ponds in pursuit of the sounds cracking ice made beneath my feet, laying on beaches in winter to feel the vibrations of waves, wandering through fields and down empty city streets, searching for the open spaces on the outskirts of civilization where wind sang in power-lines, chain-link fences and razor-wire for anyone who would listen.

Nearly 47 years since this experiment began, I find myself happily walking down a mountain at dawn with my daughter, our arms outstretched to balance a blue moon on our left hand and a newly risen sun on our right, juggling time and space as the new year begins.

At home we improvise a song upon the piano in honor of Tia, a noble Chihuahua/ Pug (Chug) mutt who left us in 2009 to chase rabbits and the endless horizon. (LISTEN HERE).

How the old decade will end or where the new one will take us I've no idea, but from what I've heard so far, it already sounds like a good one.

Happy New Weird!

--- glenn
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