Dan Warburton / Reynols

I AM NOT SITTING IN A ROOM WITH REYNOLS

Alvin Lucier's I Am Sitting In A Room (1970) is a well-known classic of experimental music - it also qualifies as prime rib minimalism, being a flawless example of what Steve Reich called "music as a gradual process" - in which Lucier recorded the sound of his speaking voice, played the recording back into the same room, recording the results, and so on, repeating the procedure, until the resonant frequencies of the room eventually gained the upper hand.

On March 12th 2003 I interviewed Reynols — Alan Courtis and Roberto Conlazo — in my apartment, recording the proceedings on a decidedly dodgy portable cassette player. During the interview, we discussed what might be done with the recording. Alan suggested I put the cassette inside my washing machine and record the result, but I had another idea. When they left, I stuck the tape in my normal stereo system, took another blank cassette and, on the portable machine, recorded not only the recording of the interview, but everything else that was going on at the time (including pings announcing incoming email, phone calls, along with other general comings and goings inside and outside the apartment (I deliberately left the windows open).

Amused by the result, I swapped the tapes over and re-recorded another layer on the original cassette, during which time I went to collect my son Max from school, stopping along the way to leave a message on my own answering machine ("I am NOT sitting in a room with Reynols"). I didn't inform Max that I was recording, so that the sounds of his bath (and other sundry ablutions) are also captured on tape, as well as his eventual reaction to the sound of his own speaking voice. ("Ca va recommencer, l'histoire?") So it went on, until, after twelve superimposed recordings, I ended up with eighty minutes of sonic sludge, Alvin Lucier's bastard son, which I took to my bemused friend Jean-Luc Guionnet to transfer from cassette to two CDRs. These were then duly loaded into SoundForge and edited down to the final 43'04" duration.

Quite by chance, a CDR arrived the following day from Yanik Miossec, artistic director of C.R.I.M.E. in Lille, which contained Patrice Thery's superb recording of Reynols' concert at La Malterie in Lille on February 27th 2003. To my delight, I realised that if I edited out the applause at the end of the recording, the Lille concert lasted nearly 43 minutes too. I decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up, and grafted the Malterie concert onto my own SoundForge experiments and mixed the two together. The concert is totally unedited - only the applause was removed. The album "I Am Not Sitting In A Room With Reynols" is the result.

Thanks to Franq de Quengo (Bimbo Tower) for setting up the meeting with Reynols, Dan Dahan for the photo shoot, Jean-Luc Guionnet for the CD transfer, and Nicolas Malevitsis for releasing the album. If anyone has Alvin Lucier's address let me know so I can send him a copy. —DW

 


Read Press Reviews of this and other albums featuring Dan Warburton

The Strange History of the Doctor's Violin

The Strange History of Dan Warburton

The Strange History of CHO

Interview with Philippe Robert, Revue & Corrigée, June 2000 (French)


Interview with Jon Mueller, Crouton Music, 2002

Interview with Noël Akchoté, Skug, June 2004

Interview with Noël Akchoté, Skug, June 2004 (German)

Invisible Emergencies RA Clip

Metro Pre St. Gervais RA Clip