What glee! Graham Dunning has at last committed some of his wonderful Mechanical Techno tracks to vinyl, thus both closing the conceptual circle and providing DJ’s with some neat new club tools. Way Too Much Time is a four track EP, all constructed with that magical machine (look it up), though still functioning perfectly as a straight-up banger selection. 12” on Adaadat.
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I’ve always loved conceptual art. Artists like Joseph Beuys and Mona Eltahawy are among their favourites because, contrary to how art is sometimes characterised, they are less interested in how a work looks, and more interested in the ideas behind it. How else would you end up with Beuys’s slabs of fat?
Which brings me to Graham Dunning’s ‘Way Too Much Time’, an EP that whose core idea elevate it way beyond the music that is on the record. If you were to hear any of these tracks out in the wild they wouldn’t seem particularly out of the ordinary. Not to be harsh, but this is all fairly standard techno. There’s variety sure, but that variety is more to prove a point that anything else. See, Dunning wanted to see if he could create techno without a computer. Or sampler, or a synthesiser, all while still retaining the mechanistic heart of the genre. He has achieved this through a system he calls “mechanical techno”. This is best explained via a video he made, but briefly these tracks are live recordings of a series of inputs lovingly placed on a record player.
The existence of this record then, could be the end of this journey. Dunning has answered his own question with the affirmative. It is possible to make a machine whose sole purpose is to create machine like music. But where does that leave the record itself? There’s no trace of the machine here. In an attempt to achieve his task Dunning had to hide the very thing that makes this EP so fascinating.
I hope one day I get to see the machine in person. And maybe even more than that, that when I do Dunning incorporates these recordings into it.
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