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Artist: BARRECA, MARC
Title: Music Works For Industry
Format: LP
Label: Freedom To Spend
Country: USA
Price: $18.00
"Marc Barrecas Music Works for Industry is a layered assertion. An economic mantra for the mind to spin, like the many loops on this recording, or churn, as gears of some godhead machine. From the pool of playful compositions, a social subtext appears - a somewhat sardonic riposte to the commercial and cynical abuse of music and musicians. The work profits the listener over industry.  Said another way, its motivations are more generative than lucrative.

No longer than four minutes, no shorter than two, each piece on MWFI is a fragment of modern life. Propaganda transmitted between the click of the remote or the turn of the dial. Friend and collaborator K. Leimer checks Cluster, Steve Reich, IannisXenakis, and Morton Subotnick as esoteric influences on MWFI in the albums liner notes, while one might imagine UptonSinclair, Studs Terkel, or Chris Anderson as egalitarian influences.

Made with musicians, performance artists, and a bespoke instrument maker, Barreca combines multiple disciplines into a collective, industrious whole. An experiment fabricated in the synth and tape studio at the artist-run alternative space and/or (Seattles version of NYCs The Kitchen), Barreca manipulates dynamic sound sources into tidy, minimal arrangements using synthesizers, modified instruments, tape looped voices, and melodic, metallic phrases.

To start, “Community Life” strews these elements across the assembly line to meet their maker. The album continues with “Shopping,” countering ominous, mechanical sounds with light, playful tones, perhaps representative of the clash of production versus exchange values. On “Hotcake” we hear mens voices, chains, and hissing steam in a methodical but urgent progression that could soundtrack Fritz Langs silent film, Metropolis. A woman seductively intones “Nerve Roots Are Uncontrollable” on the track of the same name.  “Organized Labor” also incorporates a voice, speaking the  acronym I.W.W. - International Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies - as the music falls in line and wobbles along.

The cover of MWFI features a black and white photo of a figure in silhouette, backlit at a window, softened with curtains and plants. Maybe this is the room where the music was made: a private space, a refuge from some industrial work or at least the dubious fruits of this labor. In a way, listening to the music is entering a space without work, an apple to pluck and eat without wage or taxation.

One can imagine photographer Chauncey Hare listening to Music Works for Industryas he moved from documenting domestic interiors to the bleek efficiency of American offices. His black and white portraits of workers, isolated and obscured by cubicles and files, and published in This Was Corporate America, led to Hares disillusionment with the art market. Not wanting to sell images, he left photography, and become a therapist: publishing the self-help book, Work Abuse.

Perhaps peering into the music industry led to Barrecas eventual career, and a similar impulse to more directly touch those at the effects of economic systems. While exploring the cassette version of Music Works For Industry, we found a business card tucked inside: Marc Barreca—bankruptcy judge in Seattle. Material traces of the cassette are evident in the records packaging, the album format a newly manufactured form for Barrecas work.



Even in post-industrial times, Barrecas music offers listeners easily consumable musings on current work conditions. Freedom To Spend accepts your hard-earned and fortuitously won money in exchange for these morsels, but also believes that you need not invest unless pressed." - Freedom To Spend.

Artist: MERCURE, MICHELE
Title: Eye Chant
Format: LP
Label: Freedom To Spend
Country: USA
Price: $18.00
"You can see the sounds her voice makes. The literal depiction of this, a photograph of Michele Mercure with an eyeball in her mouth, is removed in the updated album art. The original graphic elements are left to suspend, speak, and sing across time. In the absence of the decade-specific portraits, the redesigned edition is dislocated from a particular or linear history. Our initial point of encounter is artifactual; a trace in place of a scar.

Accordingly, Micheles true image and body is sound. Eye Chant, as a whole, offers meditations of sound as material. Her instruments are voice and synthesizer, the former following the machines lead and language of patterns. Machine sounds become abstract words. The human voice is pulled apart, dislodged from context; a tactile, textured quality appears to reconfigure the body and machine presently or permanently.

The natural and the mechanical elements of Eye Chant commingle with the ease of a musician well-versed in the social-material entanglements of life. Like the lacework referenced in one track, Mercures record alludes to interconnections and their unraveling. Her married name formerly attached to Eye Chant has been shed for this iteration. As her electronic kin, Eliane Rodigue and Suzanne Ciani would attest, its all raw material for the musician to give form. Donna Haraway and Lucy Suchman may have been listening.

Michele offers a tender mechanics to attune to. Atmospheres expand and contract within a song, sometimes reappearing in the album - the economy of means appreciated from another vantage. Loops and undulating rhythms build up a particular kind of surface, one that places the listener in the present moment, to notice and extend that time of being here.

To get a sense of the space Mercures work occupies: compositions on this album were part of a PBS special and a performance artists production. The most narrative moments of Eye Chant, these commissioned pieces, “Proteus and the Marlin” and “100% Bridal Illusion,” are hyper feminine tracks made up of choirs of birds, breath, baby cries, waves, and poetry read just above a whisper.

The title track, “Eye Chant,” is a single vocal sample thats sequenced and melodically layered upon itself. A perfect minimal composition, where theres no excess blurring how it was made and its final crystalline form. “Too Much” closes the album with some danceability. We have traveled far from the start — “Tour de France,” where the synthesizer resembles a faucet drip and we reset — to the pace of our heart and breath.

When focused on the moment the mind wanders as it likes. It feels as though theres a collective and urgent need to decelerate. Rather than chasing the new sound or accelerating discovery, deceleration allows us to pay heed to whats less heard. Finding our time in continuum with others might be one of many impulses for reissues.

One way to interpret the name, Freedom to Spend, is an abundance of freedom that needs to be shared. In that spirit, the free thinking / art of Michele Mercure is recirculated." - Freedom To Spend.

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