At The Mouth Of Metal

Evaporated Music2 : Part (a) - My Song Growls Wasted Air - 2' 52", stereo mix © 2015


In the first installment, Evaporated Music, big-budget hi-gloss video clips by male icons Elton John, Billy Joel & Phil Collins; and female divas Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion & Mariah Carey are taken whole and uninterrupted. In Evaporated Music 3, uploaded videos of performances by a selection of amateur and professional string quartets are the focus. In Evaporated Music 2, a range of appearances of 'fake' bands on TV shows are rescored with metal music. Their unedited songs are heard, but each is a completely new metal song composed to perfectly match the performers' movements and vocalization. This second installment of the project is subtitled "At The Mouth Of Metal".


Parts a+b were produced in 2006. The remaining parts c-f were produced in 2008
All music is composed, performed & mixed by Philip Brophy.
All vocals performed by Philip Brophy & engineered by Que Huong This Nguyen.
Thanks: Scott Goodings, Jojo Petrina, Sam Page, Lewis Gittus, Artspace (Blair French & Reuben Keenan), CCP (Kara Rees), Performance Space (Bec Dean), Shihoko Iida, Paul Schutze.


Neon Parc Gallery, Melbourne (Part 2 a-f) (5.1 version)
ART PARTY, (Part 2 a-f) Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (5.1 version)


UNCO, (Part 2 a-f) Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Darwin (stereo version)


SOUNDINGS: A CONTEMPORARY SCORE, (Part 2 a-f) Museum of Modern Art, New York (5.1 version)
UNCO, (Part 2 a-f) Torrance Art, Los Angeles (stereo version)


TERRAINS, Stampa Gallery, Basel (Part 2 a-f) (stereo version)


TRACE ELEMENTS, Performance Space, Sydney (Part 2 a-f) (5.1 version)


ONE OF US CANNOT BE WRONG, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (Part 2 a+b) (5.1 version)


Artspace, Sydney (Part 2 a) (5.1 version)

Evaporated Music 2 - Part (b) © 2006


Continuing Evaporated Music's aural surgery performed on the audiovisual skin of 6 mainstream iconic videos, Evaporated Music 2 directs its sonic scalpel to 6 prime examples of late-80s/early-90s family-oriented TV series depicting band scenes in comforting settings. The selected series highlight the forced means by which television ineptly attempts to incorporate rock into its hermetic domain. Most of the 6 parts feature actors pretending to be band musicians, and all are the result of lipsynching focused more on character acting than musical performance. The settings of the selected 6 parts cover the major 'fantasized spaces' in which rock music is thought to be born: the small club (California Dreams), the television studio (Pugwall), the basement rehearsal studio (Full House), the disused warehouse (The Heights), the 'local teen hangout malt shop' (Kids Incorporated), the home garage and the concert hall (both in Saved By The Bell). Television's low-budget 'dream machinery' is the perfect medium for cheaply mythologising how that 'hit song' was first formulated, and all the selected episodes play slippery lip service to such phantasmal occurrences.

While Evaporated Music 2 retains these near-repulsive images of wholesomeness with eyes-wide-open, the rescored music tracks welcome the most Other of music - Metal - and amplifies its guttural expulsions through the healthy bodies of television's dream of contented pop music. As indicated by its subtitle "At the Mouth of Metal", Evaporated Music 2 opens up the dead zone of the family televisual fare and inhales its hidden dissonance. Like Satan summoned in the midst of the high school prom, Evaporated Music 2 rescores these vapid TV studio-floor moments with the sound of Metal. Think Disney riddled with cancer. Or The Wiggles sweating with Hep B.

Evaporated Music 2 - Part (c) © 2008


Music Production

Distinct from Evaporated Music 1's employment of sound design to surface invisible layers of sono-cellular activity in video clip imagery, Evaporated Music 2 employs musical compositions to invert the visual terrain and uncover a netherworld of 'other-song' residing in the gleaming nothingness of televisual pop.

A performed song from a TV show is overlaid with a click-track to match the tempo and structure of the existing song. (Thanks to Jojo Petrina for pre-production work here.) A new song in the general prog-metal idiom (complex time signatures, atonal riffs, faux-symphonic climaxes, etc.) is then 'over-composed', leaving space around the vocal parts but framing them with dense rhythmic/atonal passages and incidents. This process is done without watching the visuals, and involves compositional techniques in order to complete a viable song which can then be 're-imported' into the visual domain of the TV show's screen performance. Once the composition is basically complete. the music is the checked against the visuals for any glaring inconsistencies. For example, the video might feature a close-up of the drummer doing a fill or the bass player running up the fretboard. At such moments, the composition is altered to accommodate such moments, in order to fuse the new composition with the existing visual performance. Ironically - as most of the performers are badly miming at playing their instruments - a double duplicity is performed: the new composition fakes the music that the screen performers are faking in the first place.

The mix of the song hysterically exploits the surround-sound space, jettisoning drum elements widely across the space, and splaying shredded guitars and slabs of fuzz into front and rear spatial spectra. The sensations sought by Evaporated Music 2's compositions and mixes are the heady, oppressive omnipotence unleashed in the controlled chaos of the growing hybrids of Death/Nu-Metal plus some of the more rock-granular exponents of metal. Each track is based around sampled textures and micro-fragments of a single band, so as to imbue each track with a 'band identity'. Additionally, extra drums, guitars and bass are overlaid to flesh out the final composition. The bands referenced are (in order of the pieces) Decapitated, Korn, Opeth, Sepultura, Tool, Meshuggah. The concept with the mix is to extend the Scandinavian and Eastern European sonic deconstruction of Metal that has developed in the last decade into the assaultive possibilities of the Dolby Digital 5.1 spatial matrix.

Evaporated Music 2 - Part (d) © 2008

Vocal Charting

Many of the shows selected feature backing vocalists, so vocal lines and harmony parts are composed to match the on-screen performances. This is a major factor in allowing the resulting compositions to veer toward the prog end of metal. Various vocal techniques are employed by Philip who sings all the parts, Extensive post-production is employed to transform the vocal textures, correct pitch, and tightly synchronize the overdubs. Recording engineering for the vocals was handled by Que Huong Thi Nguyen. The main vocal line is mixed into the centre speaker of the 5.1 matrix, with the vocal harmonies routed to various spatial configurations throughout the surround sound space.

The lyrics for each song are derived from matching labials to the existing song's words. This involves composing words that visually match, and then testing them for 'labial confluence'. This involves a bizarre process of playing the original TV song, then silently mouthing the new lyrics in-synch while watching one's mouth in a mirror. Modifications are required at this stage to fine-tune the precision of the vocal match, and can take as long as it takes to compose the new song. Once the phono-labial charts are complete, melodic lines are written for the parts. Careful attention is paid to the range of singers visible on screen. As the screen performances of these fake bands are highly pop in their arrangement and hence heavily weighted to harmonized lines with back-up singers, the new labials are broken down into corresponding harmonized parts. Here lies the core clash of the resulting music: atonal multi-part harmonies accompanying guttural growling and complex-time atonal riffs.

Evaporated Music 2 - Part (e) © 2008

Part (a) - My Song Growls Wasted Air (California Dreams)

Original lyrics / Transformed Lyrics
There are places to go I haven't been yet. / Terror's baseless. The Gods lie. Every being's dead.
And faces they tell I still haven't met. / All fucking details. Articulate men?
And times in my life I’ll never forget. / And times immortal? Fuck it and forget.
I’ll always remember you as the very best. / Allowance remits you in its vomit bags.
And when I think about you now and all we shared. / I wanna thing aboundless now – all our wishes.
I smile and know I’m just glad I was there. / A spiral hole. Humongous lower death.
I’m so-o glad I was there. / My song growls wasted air.
There can never be another time or place. / Dead in heaven. Peel nothing down or blessed.
That will ever be quite the same. / That is every being’s quaking state.
If I could I’d take you with me everywhere I go. / Every cooking taste you wish; every way a whore.
This dream is the one thing I will always know. / History is no wondering – just a gaping hole.

Part (b) - Lap Dance Choking Whore (Pugwall)

Original lyrics / Transformed Lyrics
We know where we want to go. / When God worries what to show.
Uptown Tokyo. / Lap dance choking whore.
That’s where we want to go. / They swear we wont withhold -
Uptown Tokyo. / A lap dance choking whore.
By boat or airplane. / Bible-torn era of pain.
To us it’s all the same. / You ask this whore, Satan.
We’d swim but it’s too slow. / Weird wins - bastards duo.
To Uptown Tokyo. / The lap-dance choking whore.
Anywhere with you is allright with me. / Head in where his Jewish doll race will be.
(All right). / All rise!
Hand in hand we’ll see all the sights. / Hating Hell will seal older sighs.
(All right). / All rise!
In a rickshaw built for two. / Inner resourced – peer-fucked too.
I’d imagine me and you. / Hide a magic piano and
Together in Uptown Tokyo. / You get her his lap-dance choking whore.
So sorry if you please. / Though shattered if you pee.
Must learn some Japanese. / Bust her dumb jar pennies.
We’ll need it when we go. / Windy dear wind, we’re cold.
To Uptown Tokyo. / The lap-dance choking whore.

Part (c) - Heave Until Balled-Up (Full House)

Original lyrics / Transformed Lyrics
Sometimes you lose your place. / Surprise your loser bait.
And all you’re searching after is right before your face. / Hang all your hurting avarice: I’ll befall your fate.
Riding on your high horse - / Rating all your hard whores -
Believing your own lies – don’t you know that / Police of fuel oxide – jokers know that
Everyone is leaning / Hairy ones are leering
All the same size. / Hold the saints’ eyes.
Just a little more love is all we’re hoping for. / Drunk until my dove leads on – we’re up all fours.
Just a little more peace is all we need. / Drunk until my beast hears all we did.
Take away the colours – don’t you understand it. / Hack away to gut us - down-under dancing.
All breaks down to the heart of the man. / (In) hombre town to the heart of the bad.
Oh wow – think how strong we’d be. / (-) thick and strung whipped heel.
If you and me – give a little more love. / A view of me – heave until balled-up.
(-) Break it down! / (-) Be in hell!
Take away the colours – don’t you understand it. / Hack away to gut us - down-under dancing.
All breaks down (spoken) It all breaks down to the heart child! / Tall bass sound (spoken) And I’ll rip your heart out and eat it.
oooh (pause) heart of the child oh-oh >>>> / oooh (pause) Rip it and eat it - oh >>>>
Ooh! Ow-wow – think how strong we’d be. / (-) thick and strung whipped heel.
If you and me – give a little more love. / A view of me – heave until balled-up.
It ain’t that tough to give a little more love. / A view of me – heave until balled-up.
Take away the colours – don’t you understand how. / Hack away to gut us - down-under dancing.