'On/Off LP' Transparent single sided eccentrically cut LP
Play samples: 'On-centre tone' and 'Off-centre tone' [with Real Audio] Buy Here!
This record marks the debut commercially available release on my audiOhRecordings
label which was set up to document my own music/sound projects. Following on
from the Wow 7" on Diskono in 1999, this record develops my invented 'eccentric'
[off-centre] cutting technique into a more purely sonic/scientific based project,
leaving 'music' to one side.
The one sided LP has just two 'tracks' or cuts [each ending in locked grooves] which both contain the same continuous full frequency drone/tone sourced from a test tone 45 played at 8 rpm. In this instance the inner track is cut symmetrically, and on the same side the outer track is cut off centre which turns the identical 'monotonous' stereo tone/drone into a pronounced sine wave sound as the arm sways from side to side. It was originally produced for playing on my especially built 'Twin' turntable for an exhibition at the Royal Society of British Sculptors called 'The Rumble' on the theme of spirals and sine waves. [For the exhibition I produced a series of 10 black no label copies of this disc, then titled 'Eccentric/Concentric LP' and archived as AudiOh 08]
The release comes in a numbered edition of 280, in see through faintly sepia toned vinyl with full colour labels, packaged in minimal white spined, hand scalpel cut sleeves. 100 copies will include an edition of the 'The Rumble' exhibition catalogue. The disc was cut by Lawrie at www.curvepusher.co.uk in Hackney London as he was the only person I could find in England over a 15 month period who would risk his cutting lathe. The outer track uses the full cutting area of the disc for maximum effect but this does mean that not all record players will play from the very start of the cut. This doesn't matter that much as the sound is identical all the way through! Due to the nature of the sound I encourage you to play it at all possible speeds and to experiment with dynamic EQ settings to gain as much as you can from the disc. It's meant to be an exploratory hands on product as much as it is a conceptual project on my behalf. If you get bored then experiment with it and don't be too precious!
Display at The Royal Society of British Sculptors, feb 2001
"Nothing bears testament to the efficiency and importance of the spiral
as a framework for encoding information more than its importance in the architecture
of DNA, but spiral formations can be distributed horizontally (across flat planes)
as well as vertically too. Examples include traditional vinyl records, revolving
magnetic storage media, and the various forms of laser-disc such as CD, CD-R,
DVD and Minidisc formats etc.
Architect Janek Schaefer's 'Wow' 7" takes an amalgam of sinusoidal sweep signals (audible as developing undulating tones) and uses innovative 'eccentric' cutting techniques to magnify a technical error produced by asymmetries in records when played on a turntable. The result of Janek's experimentation here is a record whose off-centre tracking causes the tone arm of the record player to move from side to side creating fluctuation in the playing speed as it revolves, distortions onomatopoeically referred to as 'wow'. This results in a unique hybrid artefact, part record, part sculpture, part self-activating physical remix and also part musical instrument. Writing in The Wire magazine (November 2000) Paul Sullivan described Janek's 7" as magnifying the 'wobbling sound that so many turntable manufacturers have spent years trying to eliminate', and in the same magazine Chris Sharp described this work as a 'playful reminder that music, for all its ineffability, is at base just a specialised branch of physics'.
Janek's ‘On/Off LP’ (AudiOh 09) takes this same process one stage further. The vinyl disc is cut with two identical tracks each containing an identical continuous tone which both end in locked-grooves [infinitely repeating circular loops]. In this case the inner groove is cut and plays normally while the outer is cut asymmetrically on the same surface. These are played back simultaneously on his purpose built 'Twin’ Turntable. "During the cutting stage of each record I made a second hole in the lacquer and cut the eccentric tracks around these new centres. This meant that when it came to press the discs using the initial / original centre holes the actual sound is positioned off-centre on the discs, which as described, forces the music to physically fluctuate and deviate from the original recording".
The exhibition was curated by Joe Banks [Disinformation] and other exhibitors included: Aardman animation, Georgina Brett, Adam Lowe & Bob Shannon, Ravi Deepres, ECM232, Michael Green, Rob Mullender and james Spiring.