Inspired by the supposition that the modern human attention span has been shrunk to sound bites/bytes and bumper stickers, the Instant Classics are an exploration on what is precisely lost and gained in this process. By distilling famous literature to a 90-second concentrate of summation set to (often experimental) A/V, we’re exploring a concept that seems absurdly doomed, while trying to create the rarest of rare birds: audio/video art that stands up to repeated viewings. What we (my brother/part-time collaborator and I) tried to do with the Instant Classics is to create an A/V experience that is engaging yet palatable, just as at-home in your DVD player as in a gallery. We at “Roughly Enforcing Nostalgia” want to jump off the cliff, but first want to be certain we can all get to the other side. We’d like to expand the possibilities by staying in touch with John Cage without completely losing touch with John Q.

When first being conceived, much of our musical aesthetic took its cue from Canadian John Oswald’s Plunderphonics. While the Johns of avant-garde Classical (Cage & Zorn) emphasized chaotic improvisation, Oswald was planning and splicing copyrighted microseconds into new, sonically-dizzying compositions. We embraced some of Oswald’s collage techniques, but instead of a multitude of consecutive, unrecognizable snippets, we added layers stolen from previous recordings (e.g., films, CDs, toys, instructional videos, found sounds, et al) nestled together to create succinct songs with (hopefully) hummable melodies. This aesthetic, deliberately pre-planned and leaving almost no space for improv, is in direct counterpoint to Fluxus and much modern video art. Conversely, this chosen style bears much more artistic similarity to pianist-turned-composer Glenn Gould, whose abandonment of performance in favor of large-scale sound collage ushered in a new era in music creation. Gould believed the artist should create, perform, and perfect music in recording studios rather than on the concert stage. His epic Solitude Trilogy was contracted together over a decade like a symphony of field recordings. We heartily adopted this modus operandi of using existing recordings, spearheaded by people like Gould, Oswald, and (later) The Beastie Boys and Pop Will Eat Itself. We’ve surrounded ourselves with instruments we can’t really play and CDs we love to play, producing music we wouldn’t recognize on staff paper.


The Classics:

Breakfast Of Champions
Naked Lunch
Moby-Dick (or) The White Whale
Wise Blood
Lord Of The Flies
The Maltese Falcon
Through The Looking Glass

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