SD video w/ Dolby Digital 5.1 audio - 2000 + 2004
 
        
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"Brophy's is an awesome demonstration of the power of sound and clever editing. (...) The result is a dark and mesmerising exercise in weirdness."
Tracey Clement, Sydney Morning Herald, October 24th 2008

"Infinitely more interesting than the original clip(s) (..) full of film soundscape theory experiments."
Gail Priest, Realtime No.88, Sydney 2008

"Evaporated Music seems to be underlining more than just the centrality of sound to the interpretation of the visual, its effect on the very meaning of a given image. It suggests the importance of certain modes of sensory experience to a sense of well-being in contemporary lifestyles, and how easily such an apparently solid emotional foundation might be disrupted as the rot starts to seep it."
Reuben Keehan, catalogue essay for VIDEO LOGIC, MCA Sydney, 2008

"The strength of this work depends in large part on the adolescent, anarchic glee of Brophy, and its insidious parasitism upon the readymade form of popular music videos."
Ho Tzu Nyen, Realtime No.63, Sydney, 2004

"Visceral, intense, and claustrophobic, the overall effect is pretty hilarious. That Brophy loves the stuff that annoys him is obvious, and part of the pleasure of his work is the clear delight he takes in re-appropriating the degraded sentimentality of the commercial Pop promo."
Daniel Palmer, Frieze No.56, London, 2001

 

 

"Brophy's recent surround-sound performance featured the first of two parts that make up Evaporated Music (2000), a work which comprises six sonically refashioned video clips of Pop icons. Carefully selected - with all the loathing of a discriminating fan - the first three songs are by Elton John, Phil Collins, and Billy Joel (a future plan is to feature female artists such as Mariah Carey). Projected large on the wall, the original visual component of these videos is unchanged, but their audio is completely overhauled.

The songs' melodies are removed, and the singers' voices are replaced by Brophy's own Darth Vader-like drool, thus encoding his own presence (and absence) into the work. Each has its own intimate mood, and to this extent, emanates the perverse auto-erotism of a ventriloquist - an investigation of what happens when the larynx is contorted, constricted and controlled.

Brophy has painstakingly re-synchronised the incidental sounds of the video clips. Footsteps, newspapers and ice blocks are now recast as swirling, cracking and crushingly metallic techno elements, disorienting our psycho-acoustic understanding of the video space. Visceral, intense, and claustrophobic, the overall effect is pretty hilarious. That Brophy loves the stuff that annoys him is obvious, and part of the pleasure of his work is the clear delight he takes in re-appropriating the degraded sentimentality of the commercial Pop promo. His press release enticingly describes his subjects 'drained of all excess and tawdry humanist bile, their bald and bloated bodies hollow, their music evaporated into surround-sound air'.

Beyond spleen venting, Evaporated Music explores the premise that no sound exists without its spatial, material supports. The piece revels in the active mis-recognition of sonic referents, as when an acoustic imbalance is struck by certain elements appearing far louder or softer than expected. However, Brophy's approach is not so much directed at sound's obvious artifice, or an 1980s-style deconstruction, as the possibilities of digital sampling and Techno's ungainly deconstruction of live presence.

Colonising the prison of synchronous sound so native to video, Brophy plays noise against images, exposing them to the elaborate mime scenarios which they really are. Divorced from their subordination to the soundtrack, the images return to a more polysemous state - no longer middle-aged fantasies used to advertise a song, but a sequence of rapidly cut, uncanny spectres. Above all, these are three weird and fleshy musical portraits of Elton, Phil and Billy. Removed from comfortable domestic consumption, Joel's generational nostalgia appears all the more ridiculous, and a father-daughter caress becomes disconcerting. As with so much of Brophy's work, families and their bodies become sites of repressed urges and potential trauma.

Like the more directly political strand of video art known as 'scratch video', which took popular TV forms as the basis for image piracy and semantic inversion, Brophy maps popular culture by reinscribing it. But these are very specific transactions, and each seems finally a protest against the boredom of stereotypes. Sensation is what is at stake. Thus, enjoying his captive audience after the recent eardrum-crushing performance, before the audience had regained its composure, Brophy subjected us to his ventral clamour a second time."

Daniel Palmer, Frieze No.56, London, 2001


"The music video is activated by Philip Brophy’s Evaporated Music 1(c) & (d) (2000-2004) in a very different way. Here the soundtracks of a series of pop music videos are hijacked and put through a series of punishing, and often hilarious distortions. The habitual sound-image synchronicity that characterises the bulk of commercial audio-visual mass media products is dislocated. The strength of this work depends in large part on the adolescent, anarchic glee of Brophy, and its insidious parasitism upon the readymade form of popular music videos."

Ho Tzu Nyen, Realtime No.63, Sydney, 2004


" (...) the clamouous explorations of Philip Brophy’s Evaporated Music (Part 1 A-F), in which the artist has remade the soundtracks to a series of popular music video-clips. Treating myself to the comfortable armchair I experienced the horror show that Brophy has made of Celine Dion’s ‘It’s all coming back to me now.’ The diva croaks through her lyrics, in desperate need of an exorcist, accompanied by wild foley and swirling 5.1 spatialisation. Infinitely more interesting than the original clip, full of film soundscape theory experiments, Brophy’s work provided a spikey element within the generally contemplative exhibition."

Gail Priest, Realtime No.88, Sydney 2008



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