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Ernst Karel – Mycological

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There is something eerie about this recording. It’s an NSA-style glimpse into the forays of a modern day Mushroom Cult. Events begin normally enough. Then the mechanical humming and ringing starts; sounds of birds in the distance, crackling leaves, cars passing, going in and out of phase accompanied by electrical purring.

The recording replicates environments in an interesting way. It’s obvious the editor is a prankster. Mushrooms – unless they are hallucinogenic, used as ingredients to be consumed, or if you are a hobbit – are not often associated with excitement. There is an alien quality to the experience. Like listening to your own autopsy. At first, anyway. From the liner notes:

“This sound piece is thus multi-sited and composed in three parts. It begins in a lab at Harvard with DNA analysis, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a method invented in California in 1983 which has revolutionized the study of mycology and of evolution more generally, of “amplifying” a particular region of DNA, in order to compare it to others in a databank and thereby determine species. A cart is trundled down a corridor leading to the sterilizing autoclave machine; a researcher dissolves pellets in liquid using a vortex stirring machine.”

Ernst will be performing in a duo with Bhob Rainey inside Boston City Hall Friday, September 30th. Caroline Park will also be performing. “Concrete Sounds: Multichannel Experimental Electronics in Boston City Hall”. It’s free, check the link to RSVP. Space is limited. Doors open at 6:30 PM, the magic starts at 7.

 

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