Muennich/Esposito/Jupitter-Larsen - The Wraiths of Flying A
Firework Edition Records CD.
FER1102. 300 copies.
Stumbling across a BBC Radio 4 documentary examining the work of Dr. Konstantin Raudive at around the same time this dropped through the door was a spooky coincidence. It was Raudive, an elderly Lithuanian doctor, who one day in1969 turned up at Gerrards Cross with a large amount of tape recordings which he claimed contained the voices of the dead. Over 70,000 of them amongst which were the voices of Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini and no doubt many a lesser well known human being. With Raudive EVP was born thats Electronic Voice Phenomena to you and me.
‘The Wraith of Flying A’ incorporates EVP and the work of a couple of American silent film actresses including Audrey Munson to whom this release is dedicated [thats her on the cover]. Munson’s success would be the inspiration for over fifteen statues in New York alone and whose demise led to her being incarcerated in a lunatic asylum for the last 65 years of her life until her death at the age of a 104. I’m assuming that its GX who has the silent movie actress fixation. The fact that her career ended with the rise of the talkies and we have EVP here has me thinking that there may be some kind of talking theme going on here.
Michael Esposito’s work with EVP has passed through here before. As an audio excursion I find it fascinating but as proof that the dead are communicating with us I find it about as positive as proof as that of mediums who say they can put you in touch with your recently deceased Aunt Ethel, psychics and the Loch Ness Monster. If the dead really wanted to communicate with us why would they make it so hard for us to decipher what they’re saying, why not just leave a note saying ‘I’m OK, the foods shit but the hours are great’?
Here we have thirteen tracks six of which are short half minute interludes which I’m assuming are pure examples of EVP, that is white noise through which, if you strain your ears as far as they will go, you can just about make out a feeble sound that may just be someone saying ‘put the kettle on’. Its the same as scrunching your eyes up to see pixilated pictures. Why the dead never say anything prophetic or that is of any use to us remains to be explained.
Of the remaining seven tracks only one is a collaboration between all three artists. ‘Heimsuchung’ [German for ‘afflicting’] is one of those boiler plate noise drones that sounds terrific with the headphones on and the volume whacked up as far as you can stand it. A growling linear low end pitch of a roar thats a B52 bomber warming up its engines, EVP comes through in parts, each voice a snatch of a sound that appears for a couple of seconds only to disappear as quickly again, the tinkling of light chains [the ghost of Christmas past perhaps?] and the rattling of Ernie’s ghostly gold tops in their crates make up the rest of it.
The Haunting of Mary Minter Miles [another silent film actress] comes in two parts and is a collaboration between GX and Esposito. The first is a short piece of swirling ‘voices’, the second a more expansive nine minutes worth of actual talking which sounds like it could have been the actress herself being interviewed over which various scattershot sounds flit in and out like bats trapped in a room.
‘Slithering’ is the work of Muennich alone. Here the whole piece has been dragged through the very dusty groove of a very old record above which vibrate tiny clocks.
So we have EVP, noisedrone, field recordings and probably some electro-acoustic manipulation too [I’m particularly taken with the tossed coins coming to rest on first track ‘The Green Room’]. An all round decent listen whatever your thoughts on EVP and communicating with the dead.
If you get the chance please do listen to the Jolyan BBC R4 documentary. Not only does Jolyan have the sensible skeptics eye he also touches on various other aspects of the phenomena and people working in the same area, including a chap in Seattle called Brian Jones who records everything from cats and dogs to pebbles being stood on, all of which he claims, like Raudive before him, contain the voices of the dead. Plus, theres probably the only chance you’ll ever get to hear both Gyles Brandreth AND Joe Banks [of Disinformation] on the same program.
BBC page re EVP
BBC R4 Jolyan Documentary
[not sure if the above works outside the UK?]