Last week’s post on Chris Carter noted our current love of electronic music that explores an ambivalent view of technology. Spanish-born sound artist Francisco Meirino is a striking example of someone who produces exactly that kind of work. The 46-year-old was born the same year Carter formed Throbbing Gristle with Genesis P-Orridge, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Peter Christopherson.
Meirino’s website describes his work as an exploration of “the tension between programmable material and the potential for its failure.” Since launching his career in 1994, he has been “primarily interested in the idea of recording what is not supposed to be: gear failures, the death of PA systems, magnetic fields and electro-static noises and in how he can use them and hear them radically out of context.”
Misanthropic Agenda has released a four-disc set of out-of-print Meirino titles: Anthems For Unsuccessful Winners, Recordings Of Voltage Errors, Magnetic Fields, On-Site Testimonies & Tape Tension, Notebook (techniques of self-destruction) and The Ruins. The physical release comes with a 24-page booklet and liner notes penned by Jim Haynes.
The Process Of Significance runs just shy of three hours. It is an immersive listening experience, not just because of its length. Meirino builds little worlds of audio art for us to surround ourselves with. The work is decorative, even when it’s challenging. (Which it is, more often than not.) It won’t engage you with pleasantries. But it absolutely will capture your imagination.
For all their abrasiveness, the 26 pieces in this collection come from a place we all recognize. Many of us live in that place, in fact. As carefully composed and precisely executed as they are, these works sound very much like the world around us. It bangs and clicks. It fills our heads with white noise at sometimes unpleasant frequencies. Meirino’s genius is his ability to deliver us a stylized interpretation of what urban life – sometimes rural life, too – sounds like.
To describe his work as odd or peculiar is to miss the point entirely. It is the familiarity of Meirino’s art that makes this collection so striking. Even when specific sounds are unrecognizable, their collective presentation has a deep ring of truth to it.
Like it or not, this is what we sound like.