Ryuichi Sakamoto's 1985 album Esperanto is being reissued by Wewantsounds on November 19, 2021

The new edition marks the first time that the album has been made available outside Japan. It was originally produced as a soundtrack to a performance by American choreographer Molissa Fenley, and its eight tracks take in elements of ambient, early techno and more. You can listen to the opening track, 'A Wongga Dance Song', above.

Esperanto includes guest contributions from YAS-KAZ on percussion and Arto Lindsay on electric guitar. The audio has been remastered in Tokyo for Wewantsounds' reissue, and the vinyl release comes with an introduction to the album by writer Andy Beta.

BRUCE MCCLURE KEEPS A STUDIO at the northernmost tip of Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, in an industrial enclave a fair walk from the nearest subway. Overhead, the Pulaski Bridge, which connects the borough to Queens, throbs with a constant onrush of vehicles, generating a rhythm that transforms the ambient workday bustle of the surrounding blocks into something like rough background music. Inside, McClure’s studio is a nearly windowless, thick-walled bunker: a good situation for someone who experiments, as he does, with the intricacies of projected light and with elaborate patterns of machine noise not dissimilar to those outside his building.

Today, he has positioned two 16-mm film projectors—the portable, slot-loading variety that graced high school classrooms decades ago—and connected them via a cascade of multicolored cords to an array of hulking, coffee-can-size variable transformers and boxy guitar-effects pedals. The projectors aren’t loaded with full reels of film but with short loops of black emulsion dotted with occasional frames of clear base, and each is fitted out with a different-size lens. Facing the projectors is a smallish roll-down movie screen, about six by eight feet, flanked by a formidable pair of loudspeakers. This is the setup for Cong in Our Gregational Pom-Poms, 2009, one of McClure’s live “projector performances,” as they’ve often been called at the festivals and cinemas that have played host to his work in the past decade.

The room darkened, Pom-Poms starts with both projectors running, their luminance gradually increasing. The mostly opaque loops of celluloid allow only split-second blinks of light to emerge; one projector’s image—a white rectangle of light in the familiar 1.33:1 aspect ratio—is tight in the middle of the screen, the other’s so large that it far exceeds the projection surface and illuminates half the studio, flickering with a slow pom, pom quality reminiscent of an old flashbulb. Due to the projectors’ inherent variations, the recurring frames of light go in and out of sync in a hypnotically arrhythmic strobe, with still images of scratches and bits of dust lingering for milliseconds in the mind after they hit. Even more overwhelming is the audio accompaniment, produced by the loops’ passing over the projectors’ optical sound readers, the sharp alternations of light and dark creating regular intervals of analog noise enhanced by McClure’s effects pedals to resemble something between a chuffing train and a kerranging No Wave guitar riff. The total effect converts the room into an enormous reverberation chamber for both ear and eye, throbbing with mechanical thunder and lightning, eliciting numerous audiovisual illusions that erupt in the spaces between the pom-pom pulses.

The seemingly endless minutes spent in thrall to one of McClure’s performances become both profoundly materialist and transportively idealist: the former because the auditor-spectator cannot but be deeply mindful of the physical fact of the machines themselves as they relentlessly produce their affective oscillations, the latter because such an experience elicits trancelike states of time dilation and near-hallucinogenic euphoria. McClure reorganizes the sensorium across a latticework of mechanical rhythms, shaped on the fly through the manipulation of specific variables that define the named performance as such—for Pom-Poms, guitar pedals, loops with ratios of one clear to twenty-five black frames, a specific arrangement of the screen, 12.5-mm and 70-mm lenses, and the use of transformers to create shifts in brightness. Within these parameters, McClure improvises, extending or truncating the piece’s arc to suit the circumstances of a given venue and occasion.

McClure avoids terming himself an artist (“a word I tend to shy away from, as much as I can, out of some sort of infantile paralysis,” he demurs), preferring instead to be called a performer. Though he has done events in galleries and museums, he operates more in the context of experimental film and, recently, avant-garde music. His training, and former day job, was in architecture, and it was while studying the subject in college in the late ’70s that he made his first film, on Super 8, already gravitating toward abstraction: Eccentric Circles (1978), a silent five-minute animation portraying concentric colored circles of cutout paper growing and receding in the modest frame. During this period he painted in a Minimalist style, and while still a student, he made John Cage’s acquaintance; for a while, the two played chess together regularly.

Full article HERE 

Bruce McCLure will be performing at les ateliers claus on 23rd of September 2021 tickets 


  • Bruce McClure preparing to perform Nethergate, 2005, at the 8th International New Media Art festival, Riga, Latvia, August 26, 2006. Photo: Robin Martin.

It was a memorable evening: Louis Armstrong, his wife and a diplomat from the US embassy were out for dinner in a restaurant in what was still Léopoldville, capital of the newly independent Congo.

The trumpeter, singer and band leader, nicknamed Satchmo as a child, was in the middle of a tour of Africa that would stretch over months, organised and sponsored by the State Department in a bid to improve the image of the US in dozens of countries which had just won freedom from colonial regimes.

What Armstrong did not know was that his host that night in November 1960 was not the political attaché as described, but the head of the CIA in Congo. He was also totally unaware of how his fame had allowed the spy who was making small talk across the starters to gain crucial information that would facilitate some of the most controversial operations of the entire cold war.

“Armstrong was basically a Trojan horse for the CIA. It’s genuinely heartbreaking. He was brought in to serve an interest that was completely contrary to his own sense of what was right or wrong. He would have been horrified,” said Susan Williams, a research fellow at London University’s School of Advanced Study and author of White Malice, a new book which exposes the astonishing extent of the CIA’s activities across central and west Africa in the 1950s and early 60s.

Read the whole article HERE

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