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Cornford, Stephen – “Electrocardiographs of a Cathode Ray Tube” – [A Wave Press]

Naysayer   7/1/2018   7-inch, A Library

I think the reason I like writing reviews is that it allows me to really let out a part of the real me that I don’t show because few folks would get it. Also, no one reads them anyway so I can say whatever. Such is the case for reviewing this glorious little 45, this HOT little piece of vinyl. First, the title. Just say it slowly and let it roll off your tongue: “Electrocardiographs of a Cathode Ray Tube”. Oh. My. God. What a turn on. Electrocardiographs of a cathode ray tube: what the hell is that and YES PLEASE!!!! Stephen Cornford created this piece. Stephen is an… wait, let me sit down… Stephen is an “installation artist and experimental musician who works by reconfiguring consumer electronics.” Wait, there’s more: by “repurposing Walkmans, TVs and other scrap heap finds, Stephen Cornford’s work erase the boundaries between music and sculpture.” This is THE SHIT, Stephen and you’re my man. I love this stuff so much. So what is it, really? In a performance of this piece in Firenze, Cornford described it as two cathode ray tube TVs amplified with brain wave sensors. The ECG pick-ups are attached to the TVs to amplify them. An amplifier, or oscillator, is fed into the TVs video input where he then picks up the TV screens electromagnetic emissions. He’s recording the energy of the tubes and seeing if they have a brainwave, so to speak. Fascinating, really and truly. The two sides of the 45 are gentle, repeating electronic heartbeats of static and fuzz. Variations occur with every pulse even though the pattern may at times seem similar. As each piece progresses, the differences in sound are more apparent. Everything is alive. Cornford also runs Consumer Waste Records which puts out electronic and electroacoustic recordings. Bravo.

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