Monday, 2 November 2009

Christof Migone : Crackers

The only joint Christof Migone is able to crack at will is his right ankle. (Experimenting, I discover that I can do my right elbow.) Eight other joint-crackers join him for this CD, dated 2001, which I guess was Chicago label Locust Music's inaugural release (Locust no. 1), which came to my attention via an ReR Megacorp mailout.
The reverse of this package reproduces a small ad run in a weekly paper : "Do you crack your fingers? Your neck? Your back? Your knees? Your elbows? Your ankles? Your hips? And your...? If so, please phone 230-2749 to make an appointment for a recording session."
Said sessions took place during a residency at Ottawa's Gallery 101 back in October '97 : the gallery's membership and the radio were the other two channels used for the recruitment of volunteers. Editing was performed the following January, and mixing in July 2000.
Here are fifty-two minutes-plus of knuckles, knees, wrists, jaws, toes, ankles, backs, necks, elbows and hips, all pressed into service to create Migone's compositions. It's enjoyable to hear enjoy the shards of fascinating dialogue from interviews preceding the cracking sessions.
Track one is quiet, necessitating the raising of hi-fi volume, or listening church mouse-like, but it's insistent with it : sharp pops and sizzles, plus what's possibly the high-pitched whistle of mic feedback. Another piece comes closer to replicating the sound of something ablaze; whilst a further one has plenty of off-kilter rhythm to it, as though a mysterious sport or dance is being participated in out of view : one can only guess, picturing a bizarre combination of, say, ping pong and tap. Close to the CD's end is a piece during which the individual cracks seem less apparent : there's something of a dense cloud effect.
A very engaging collection of works, and interesting to contemplate how the viewpoint of an uninitiated listener might alter upon their learning of the sound sources - would they be quite as receptive or would the ick factor prejudice them ? If they'd no notion that joints were being cracked, the pieces might not sound a million miles away from Jana Winderen's cassette of sea crustaceas, perhaps...

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