Published Aug 05, 2014In 2011, conceptual artist James Hoff released How Wheeling Feels When the Ground Walks Away, a single-sided picture disc containing audio of riots from throughout history. On a slightly different path of destruction is Blaster, which finds him exploring computer viruses as an analog to the viral nature of sound (earworms, for example). The similarity between how malicious software spreads via telecommunications networks and how music is spread via social networks is also explored.
Hoff chose to focus specifically on the self-replicating Blaster worm, whose decompiled source code can be found on the cover of this challenging yet ultimately engaging LP. The artist "infected" a series of 808 beats with the virus, using the mutant sonic material to assemble seven short micro-compositions. Each piece is a noise-strewn pathway through a virtual war zone; shredded sound has been injected into these barely-recognizable beats nearly randomly, producing a disorienting effect akin to being caught in a broken video game. It's crazy, but cool at the same time.
The second side of the record is devoted to laying out the infected sound in one 15-minute blast, ultimately providing a tool for others to sample from, scratch, or otherwise pass on the virus to additional unsuspecting hosts. (Pan)