An Audiovisual Meditation on Torn by Omni Trio
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It is the delay that delays the rough, punchy but frail snare. Shuffling, the beat melts to one collective of sound, drifting through a phase of time. The complex arrangement of single drum sounds, which seem to fit so well together, creates a listener’s perception of fullness and depth, that carries you along through that phase of time the song sounds. That is why the drum-breaks are so heavy notable. Slow hits on toms, the sound delays through a middle big but empty room but encased with wood, the mellow synthie finds space to clink. Supported by a filtered synth pad, the harmonic melody, which develops itself as a theme of the song, flies over the heavily rough drum pattern giving the space of time an ambiguous feeling. It is like a rough and impulsive period but at the same time sweet and dreamy. All those moods are getting intensified by a harmonic but screamy vocal sound, supporting the surface of the almost kitschy collaboration of melody and synth-pad. Just before every particle of the sound is becoming one collective oscillation, by thickened up the tiny parts of silence and by overflowing the yelling sound of the cymbals, another break intends new intensity.
The rhythm compiles itself out of numerous entities and intensities, so within all its complexity it consists of numerous simple patterns. This seems to be true for all the structural levels of the song. As the patterns consist of drums, samples and melodies, the whole song is made up of these patterns. You can easily imagine a junglist soundboy creating a mix of different songs which are of even bigger structures. A mix contains songs, that contain patterns, that contain samples. But what about the sample? What makes a sound? The sheer entity of a single sound? What about it? Isn’t it divisible?
As far as I know, it can be cut off. This means limited in its time. But what about the space?
What is the space of sound – of a particular sound? I don’t mean spatially in the sense of spatial appearance, I mean something more physical in its ontological status. If I cut a sample, there will be two smaller, unequal samples, one of which I will probably dismiss for I’ll discard the part of the sample that I don’t use. I cut off time, but because this time is not lost, but put aside, it seems I have also cut through space, made two entities out of one. If there ever was or ever will be time independent of space and vice versa.
Two synapses that have never felt each other’s electrifying touch, they are touching through the perception of that unheard sound, that paradigm shifting caesura of a sound so vibrant, so ethereal. Time and space become one single wave – punctual like a sting, but still soothing like a beloved phenomenon, spherical as a desert, but still sharp like a razor.
So what is the sample, if not an audible point in something we would refer to as space time? If so, then the pattern is a line of audible points, namely samples, in space time? And the song is a complex geometric form consistent of lines, in space time?
No, this is not sufficient!
For as has been argued, the sample cannot be a point, for it is divisible.
If it is a wave, as I have heard, than it is a wave, consisted of waves, that are consisted of waves, and so on ad infinitum. Every oscillation, every timbre, every abstractable part of the sample has to be envisioned as a wave in the sea of a simple sound, a sample. So how is it that people are so shure about what makes a song?
I am torn back and forth on this issue!
You could have said, this unbearable complexity creates nervousness and you would have been right. You could have said, this is noise pollution and you would have been right. You could have said this is not how music is supposed to sound and you would have been right. You could have said, this is an elaborate jungle song and you would have been right. You cannot say, that the artist did not want it to be like this, for associating a piece of music with a notion of like this (or that) depends as much on his persona as on your own twisted vision of what makes music, of what makes time and of what makes space.
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This reflection on culture became a cultural artifact itself.
In an experimental workshop at the Goethe University Frankfurt Luca Killer and Simon Lunkenheimer had to choose a piece of sound or music to write (resp. meditate) on.
Torn was released in 1995 as b-side to Nu Birth of Cool on Moving Shadow’s Volume 6. Omni Trio, also known as Robert Haigh, by then already was an sophisticated musician experimenting in the fields of industrial, ambient and neo-classic. With influences like Steve Reich, Harold Budd, John Cage and others, one can sense how his understanding of Drum & Bass and Jungle Techno exceeds the jump up di bass line cliché often associated with the genres.
Their seminar started with group talks on rather unorthodox ideas and concepts from deleuzian musicologist Christoph Cox and others. Inspired by Prof. Bernd Herzogenrath (Sonic Thinking, 2017) and Budhaditya Chattopadhyay (The Nomadic Listener, 2020) and their uncommon approaches to Musicology, Luca and Simon held their session with a scripted lecture performed by a robotic voice . Later on they introduced videographer Thomas Nees’ to translate their argument into a visual experience . In numerous sessions they first turned the initial lecture performed by a robotic voice into a bleak installation where the words come from the theatrical off of a non-existent blacked-out room. Then, to conclude the arguments of this lecture, they cut a visual with sampled and distorted footage to the initial song mixed with vocal bits coming from the voice installation.
What that suggests is a multimedial tryptich structure that itself is consistent of:
— O riginal Track
—  Reflection
—  Videographic Transposition
A whole lot of things used in this artistic piece are borrowed, it has to be considered an homage as well as an appropriation: sometimes blatantly, sometimes subtly. It comes with an unaccountable amount of references, even one that got big just a couple of days ago. The U.F.O. footage used is Pentagon verified and stems from Blink182 singer Tom DeLonge’s To The Stars Academy of Arts. An academy dedicated to prove the existence of aliens.
In January 2020 Robert Haigh released the Album Black Sarabande. A bandcamp fan wrote: „Just what my ears need right now. Beautiful stillness and calm emanates from these ambient and piano soundwaves.“