Christian Marclay Graffiti Composition

In 1996, American visual artist/composer Christian Marclay was commissioned by the Akademie der Künste in Berlin to create a work for the Sonambiente Festival. He plastered 5,000 posters of blank sheet music around the city, waited for graffiti to appear and photographed the results, some of which made it as parts of the score in his six-part composition, recorded live at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC. Performed by an all-star quintet, featuring Vernon Reid, Mary Halvorson and Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo on guitars, Melvin Gibbs on bass and Elliott Sharp on eight-string guitar-bass, and everyone on effects, each track is marked by acute attention to detail, dynamics and sound shaping. Tones are sustained, distorted, interrupted and hocketed; strings are picked and struck, rubbed and resonated, scraped and scratched; layers are created from noise, motifs and a cornucopia of attack techniques, forming sound paintings of striking structural diversity and compositional balance. Foreground, mid-ground and background all emerge as the empathetic musicians sensitively take on various roles within the ensemble. Importantly, the sound quality of the live recording is superb. (Forced Exposure)