My Record of the Week.



BAchim Monhé – ‘Seite B’ (or ‘Seite A’ depending on your point of view). WHO#05


7” single and WAV file download from Tapeworm via TouchMusic.


This is one of those projects that almost needs a diagram like Christian Marclay’s ‘Footsteps’ (the rationale for which I can never quite remember) or Alvin Lucier’s ‘I am Sitting in a Room’ (which I can). The recordings are based on a live performance though it is not clear to what extent the sounds have been manipulated after the fact. As it is stated on the record’s micro-site that the beginning of ‘Seite B’ is the end of ‘Seite A’ and vice versa I think there must have been some work done in the studio later.


It is in the process of listening…or more properly it is in the process of reading the description of the work prior to listening…that the ‘record’ becomes complex. The work is sold as ‘Seite B’ – a single sided 7” 45. But before you get to listen to side B (which, by now, is in the post) you can download side A – that’s only right – who buys a record for side B anyway. ‘Seite B’ allows access to ‘Seite A’. With one you get instant gratification and with the other you get product. So theoretically the two tracks could loop endlessly…if only you had your record player in the same room as your computer…I know these things are really easy but I have to go between floors. Side A is the sound of various records sticking in the run-out groove. It is interesting to listen to in itself – there are hints of conventionally musical sound and there are certainly rhythms. Of course, it turns out, that ‘Seite B’ is a country and western song more of the same – but this time you are listening to it on your record player…a bit more effort than just playing it through your computer while you get on with some work. It is circular (that’s records for you) and that is conceptually gratifying…maybe you (I?) should listen to it all night, switching between rooms every 5 minutes.


The product (‘Seite B’) is beautiful though it invites criticism on logical grounds. Sleeve and label are screen-printed together…it says on the website that it is white on white but don’t believe it…the background of the sleeve is definitely grey and that of the label is cream. Very tasteful but not quite as nothingy as ‘they’ would have us believe. And the screen-printed text is actually on the blank side of the record and that strikes me as possibly perverse and certainly contrary. As an added bonus a small bag of swarf (the detritus of the cutting process) has been included in the package. It is not mentioned if the swarf is from the particular record you have purchased or if it represents all the waste from the production of a single 7”. (I’ve just thought – they could be passing off any old swarf!). It completes the set though; you get the digital and analogue versions as well as the  negative of the latter in the form of tiny threads of black vinyl. It all suggests something hard to get hold of – not slippery – but certainly elusive. And never quite void. But elusive is good.


A bag of swarf.

A bag of swarf.