SD video w/ Dolby Digital 5.1 audio - 2015
b a c k g r o u n d     O V E R V I E W      t e c h n i c a l
   s t i l l s    p o s t e r s    n e w s   r e v i e w s

Evaporated Music
General Comments

The original concept for Evaporated Music was extremely simple: take complete video clips without altering anything of the original visuals, then totally re-design the soundtrack, replacing the original songs with a cinematic sound design incorporating sound effects, atmospheres and foley. Both the logistics of carrying this idea through, plus the effects of experiencing the resultant audiovisual work have both been considerably more complex.

The strategy of emphasing the audio in so-called visual media (cinema, video, television, etc.) has been central to Philip Brophy's productions and writings. Taking an oppositional tack to the idea of 'cut-up' (from montage through to sampling) which is generally focussed on a single and disconnected medium (either just cutting up image but nor the sound, or cutting-up audio slabs of video but without any accompanying visuals) Philip is more concerned with 'becoming' the audiovisual rather than contributing further to its modernist fragmentation. 'Becoming' in the instance of Evaporated Music means creating a new audiovisual sonorum that appears to be a thorough integration of the original video clip narratives, but at the same time is a transfiguration of the original texts. The clips of Evaporated Music - wholly untampered at the visual surface where most people concentrate their reading of the electronic/televisual/digital media - effect the becoming of something beyond the original clips.

The concept of penetrating and inhabiting the audiovisual-drome that characterizes video clips is central to the processes employed for Evaporated Music's production. The slicing, dicing & chopping of optical slabs which characterize the 'MTV-effect' of McLuhan-esque accelerated montage and televisual are - via Evaporated Music's reconstructions - rendered raw and unprocessed. The musical atomization which allows the performers to bath in the aural glow of pop music studio production is now palpably absent: the performer's stage has collapsed; their costumes removed; their presence extinguished. In short, the performers are rendered in uncomfortable surroundings: their spectacular imaginary world is sonically transformed into an unwelcoming sonorum. When music evap3orates from the audio-visual flow, the sonic terrorizes all image residue; invisible noises filter through the unmodulated plane of silence which frames the image track.

Audiovisuality persistently remains the most primal and sensual compound experience - despite a long succession of mediarized 'revolutions' (the electronic, the televisual, the digital). Through each of those revolutions' faux-radicalized reinventions of limiting ocular/visual codes, the audio-visual meld is rarely priviledged, guaranteed, highlighted. Yet audiovisuality is the core realm where both image and sound - alone and combined - are at their most fluid, their most malleable, their most reconstitutable. Amidst the intense circulation that occurs there, one perceives that all sounds and images can be grafted wherever they may hold. Sounds and images then are less containers of meaning - as if they are 'modern media' versions of the arcana of words, sentences and paragraphs; sounds and images - as veins of audiovisual energy - are more tissue of matter.

For information on the first installment of this project: Evaporated Music 1

For information on the second installment of this project: Evaporated Music 2: In The Mouth Of Metal

Evaporated Music 3

Evaporated Music 3 probably best represents the trilogy's core impulse to re-sound and re-voice the faces, vocals and bodies of on-screen performers engaged in making music. In the third installment "Classical Corpus Delecti", the notion of 'evaporation' is palpable: the thinnest residue of sonic detritus remains in the 6 videos. Where there were once serious and impassioned quartets engaged in the gentile art of string quartet performance, there is now but the noise of their nasal whistling, saliva-popping glossolalia, wool rubs, nylon squeaks, carpet thumping and leather-soled stomping. In place of sounding music of the past, they sound space of the present. This is the aural equivalent of the performers' hair, clothes, make-up, face and posture, momentarily encased within the random configuration of their spaces - from college auditorium to hired function room to council hall to amateur theatre space

In contrast to the other two installments of Evaporated Music, this installment precisely sounds the image content of the videos without excessive recourse to semiotic or mythological layering of the visual meanings (notable in the bombastic pop videos of Part 1 and the fake televisual staging of Part 2). If these classical string quartets are - as some would have it - the living blood of the purest and most proper forms of musical composition and performance, then the reconstituted sound design contains nothing but the Foley recording of their visible movement. Yet in that very process, the evaporation of venerated music equally suggests the locus of such music now: an invisible ghost of its former self disallowed egress into the material world of sound and music today.

Complete contents of this page © Philip Brophy