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li_series 07

li is the random but recognisable patterning found in many aspects of nature – the grain in wood or the fibre in muscle. While it is easy to recognise, it is impossible to define. li_series elaborates on this ‘thematic overlapping’ by combining sonic works alongside new commissioned texts.

This series of 10 collaborative assemblies are released as a printed A5 text, audio download and high quality 7×5” photo print.

li_series 07

Audio: Aggregate by Graham Dunning
Text: Day 2. 20/9/14 by Ruaridh Law


Seventh in the series is Graham Dunning’s ‘Aggregate’ accompanied by a text from Ruaridh Law.

Dunning’s piece takes the form of a continuous twenty- four minute piece comprised of three sections. It was made while living in London’s Balfron Tower, an (in) famous brutalist tower block now finally being cleared, thence to be resurrected as private flats. These drone recordings were made using Alvin Lucier’s “I Am Sitting In A Room” technique of extracting sound from a particular space’s resonance.

As he puts it: “It’s the end of an era really, for a very significant building. I wanted to try to capture something of the essence of the spaces there and the weight of change pressing upon it. I recorded three rooms, with five iterations of re-recording in each.

“The traffic noise there is quite prominent as it’s only the third floor. Normally with Lucier’s techinque you’d have a fairly clinical setup, with the best results coming from the best equipment. I used a crappy 80s ghetto blaster and a cheap recorder. The low quality sound appeals to me more.”

As should be clear, this is almost entirely congruent with Broken20’s stated aesthetic of “Line noise, entropy, buzz and hum.” Dunning’s process involves working closely with sound and found objects. Visually, his work relates to aesthetic parameters associated with dirt, dust and decay, while at the same time evoking notions of memory and the compartmentalisation of ideas. In terms of the sonic, Dunning’s work remixes cultural off-cuts, often utilising the unwarranted noise inherent in vinyl and cassette playback.

Aurally, ‘Aggregate’ is built from a range of sources: simple pure tone drones, a layer of sub bass, “record crackle from an old shellac 78” and delicate use of live dubbed spatial effects on the record’s static. It evokes the inspirations Dunning mentions for the recordings, namely EVP/phantom voices in static and “the meditative act of staring into a fire, the genie looming out from the flames”.

The piece’s title, ‘Aggregate’ refers first to the base material for concrete, the main building material for Balfron Tower. But it also references the cumulative addition of sounds in the recording process. As the artist says, “I consider the grainy textures of the record crackle to be something equivalent to loose dusty rocks and dirt. So it’s about accumulation, gathering together, concrete, solidity, sedimentation, and amalgamation of materials from different strata.

Label boss Ruaridh Law, flexes his psychogeographic muscles on the featured text ‘Day 2. 20/9/14’, a glimpsed shard of the ever elusive, currently shelved Rose and Sandy project which documents a series of walks the length of the River Clyde.

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Buy the physical/digital direct here.