Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cutting Vinyl

A few weeks ago, Martin went off to cut a track the old-fashioned way, on a lathe while playing live.
I wish I could have been there to see it; they made a little film.
Over there stand Martin, Jim and Frankie (who is playing double bass). In the foreground, Lorna bends over the machine, rapidly brushing the debris off the black lacquer as it revolves, with a tiny white long-haired brush. You can see the grooves being cut, and under the machine is an ever-growing pile of shredded lacquer that has tumbled off the disc.
We were talking about this at work today: about the sculpture cut into lacquer by amplified sound waves directed on to it by a microphone, from a band of musicians playing live. They have to get it right; they only have one chance, and the song has to be roughly three minutes long or it won't fit on to the disc.
Musing on the train on the way home from work, I wondered what would happen if you reconstructed the spiral of lacquer that fell to the floor and tried to play that. Would you get a negative image of the music on the disc? What would that sound like, I wonder?
How very Georges Perec! Pretentious, moi?

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