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Hats off to the good people at Trunk for unearthing these archive recordings from maverick avant-garde UK film-maker Jeff Keen as they really deserve to reach a wider audience.
Interest in Keens work peaked recently following a collection of films lovingly reissued by the BFI. Until now none of Keen's audio work has ever been available. He employs crude and primitive techniques with tape, concrete experiments etc. to create absurd audio collages. Indeed 'Noise Art' is a most fitting title. The recordings are comprised of sounds unearthed from cassettes following the artists death. There's an emphasis on the dynamics of the human voice as well as appearances by the classic WASP synthesiser. There's a relentless spirit of invention and experimentation to be found but rather than working from an academic perspective you get the feeling that he's really creating for the pleasure end enjoyment he gets from manipulating, layering and scrunching up sounds.
There's a whole lot to absorb with things shifting in unexpected ways with field recordings, radio twiddling and all manner of otherworldly sonic weirdness. My good mate is reminded of Ake Hodell and very early Cabaret Voltaire and I reckon he's right on the money. I've had my eye on that BFI set for a while and after listening to this I'm gonna kick myself up the arse and grab a copy. Oh and good old Jeff employs the ZX Spectrum so gets additional kudos for that. Recommended.
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- Noise Art by Jeff Keen
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