February 24th, 2012 | Published in Blog
Thought I’d share with you one of the more compelling CDs I’ve heard recently – Stephen Cornford’s Binatone Galaxy, released on the Senufo Editions label. It’s a series of microscopically detailed recordings of the inner workings of portable tape recorders, captured using ‘self-amplified cassettes,’ which have been culled down from a larger installation. Probably the finest record of its type I’ve encountered since Lee Patterson’s Egg Fry.
In Cornford’s own words, taken from his Vimeo profile: “An installation for used cassette players which looks on their obsolescence not as an ending, but as an opportunity to reconsider their functional potential. Superseded as playback devices, they become instruments in their own right. Replacing the prerecorded content of each tape with a microphone gives us the chance to listen instead to the rhythmic and resonant properties of these once ubiquitous plastic shells. Binatone Galaxy brings the framework within which a generation purchased their favourite records to the centre of attention, revealing the acoustics of the cassette and the voices of the machines themselves.”
From the Senufo Editions website: “The recordings on this disc comprise a variety of non-documentary auditory perspectives on the installation. The first seven tracks are trios and quartets assembled from studio recordings of individual machines made in Bristol, while the final track, recorded in Oxford, presents the acoustic sound of the massed machines as they are switched on and off by the built-in motion sensors which activate the work.”