the humming of wires

by chris rainier and de wet van der spuy

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about

chris rainier

dobro and e-bow

de wet van der spuy

custom electronics and live processing

credits

released November 6, 2007

recorded on the 13th and 16th of march 2006 in cape town, south africa
engineered, mixed and mastered by de wet van der spuy
all music was improvised live on the day of recording
all music by chris rainier and de wet van der spuy © 2007
this recording has no overdubs, except on tracks 4 and 8
machinery at night I, II and III are excerpts from a longer improvised track
track 6 is based on 'lord i just can't keep from crying'
by blind willie johnson
track 7 contains elements of the traditional song 'siembamba'
cover photograph by fernando lopez-victoria

'the dobro is a child of the late 1920’s, a new era of optimism and exploration after the great war, and a time for the new world to assert itself culturally and creatively against the hegemony of europe. Even though the sopyera brothers were Slovakian migrants, the dobro has always been seen as a very american invention, and their hybrid of aluminium and wood - the natural and the industrial worlds - quickly asserted its place in the musical instrumentarium as a symbol of progress and innovation. It was at an early stage in the recording process that the dobro suggested to me a musical synthesis of the electricity that runs both through our flesh, and through the machines that surround us every day. Looking back at this primitive yet futuristic era in musical history, i was reminded of an oft-ignored fact - that electronics genius leon theremin [and his eponymous instrument] and blind willie johnson [the texas slide master] were musical contemporaries, seemingly adrift and unaware of each other’s precense in the musical ether. theremin’s inventions and vision created a dense web of musical exploration in electronics that ran parallel to other significant developments in the industrial and scientific worlds, beginning with the theremin and other forgotten tools of musical mystery and alien sound like the ondes martenot and the trautonium. These were absorbed into stockhausen’s work in the 1950’s with sine tones, ring modulators and filters, moog and buchla’s parallel invention of the synthesizer and the present royal position of the computer in the world of electronic sound. this album hopes to put an ear to the ground of railroad tracks from the mississippi to the plains of uttar [radesh, to remember a past that brought us sound through the dim glow of glass tubes, the spin of a dial and the humming of wires.'

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Chris Rainier London, UK

lap steel player, improviser/composer, visual artist

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