MA, BA (hons, First Class)

The Machine Was Already Singing

The Machine Was Already Singing from Erstlaub on Vimeo.



‘It just is’
(Jhonn Balance, Going Up, 2005)

‘There are a thousand ways of obtaining this surrender. Feasting or fasting, tobacco, grass, fariente, overwork. But it always requires something that is TOO... (if only too little). In order to have a feel for landscape you have to lose your feeling of place.’
(Lyotard, The Inhuman, p. 187)

‘The rhythm of the text, the melody and meaning of the separate words may be captured, but would we ever grasp what is behind them? The inner tension, the secret meaning of the different melodious motives and innermost, hidden significance of certain expressions might remain an eternal mystery.’
(Shamans Through Time [eds. Jeremy Narby and Francis Huxley], Singing Multifaceted Songs, Vilmos Dioszegi,1958, p.130)

Using Oulipean considerations of limitation or obstruction as a creative device, I set out to write, patch, perform, record and release an album in one continuous sitting as a response to frustrations and dissatisfactions with personal and practice based circumstances.

Within the constraints of time and focus, a shamanic discourse arises, the summoning, dialogue with and subsequent dispelling of ‘the Other’. Cause and effect become concurrent. Textures, mood and tone form and pass, each component influences, informs and has its content affected by those around it in a rhizomatic structure.


Under normal circumstances, over the passage of months (or sometimes weeks), I allow space and time for grand conceptual and narrative strands to present themselves, unfold and manifest with regard to larger sculptural soundworks. The Machine Was Already Singing sets itself as an exercise in reactive expressionism, a focussed drawing of emotional weight, of thought under pressure, resulting in a sudden release of energy, dragged from emotional space into a collective corporeal space.

The piece was written, patched, performed and recorded over a period of 5 hours on 19/10/12 and immediately uploaded and distributed for free online via my website, twitter and my blog as a dispersal and dissemination of energies.

The Machine Was Already Singing was reviewed in WIRE Issue 346, December 2012.

A graphical score has also been produced for this work, you can view it as a .pdf here (warning, it's physically 5m long/filesize 8mb and may cause your pdf viewer to have a little wobble).