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Avant-turntablism

Seth Watter, Meshes of the Afternoon, May 28, 2007

Since this is the first post on a currently-unknown blog that most future readers most likely won’t return to, I’ll keep introductions to a minimum before getting onto the music. This blog is an extension of my radio show on WHRW 90.5 FM, also called Meshes of the Afternoon. Because I have no access to college radio during summers and breaks, and because I can blather on about music a lot more online than I can on the air, I’ve given in to the tidal wave of music blogs to help me pass the time.

To celebrate the beginning of something new, here’s a selection off turntablist Martin Tétreault’s new release, Snipettes! The cd, released this year by Canada’s greatest avant-garde record label, Ambiances Magnétiques, collects tracks recorded between 1984 and 1990. The two suites here, Snipettes! and Morceaux Choisis, were first released together in 1992 as a limited edition cassette in a run of 250 copies. While not completely unheard by audiences until this year, Snipettes! is, for all intents and purposes, a lost recording that has languished in the AM archives until now.

Tétreault made his name a few years prior with 1990’s Des pas et des mois, recorded with René Lussier and Michel F Côté. Though Tétreault has moved onto a vinyl-less style of playing the turntable, working only with the noises produced by the mechanism itself, these early recordings expand on the work of Christian Marclay in their reckless experimentation and sometimes outrageous sense of humor. Gagarine, USS Enterprise and a Cosmic Peddler is a piece “scored” for turntable, featuring samples from a kitschy organ and bongos record, a Hammond instructional lp, early electronic music, and the voices of William Shatner, Eddie Paskey, and Leonard Nimoy for narration (who reappear regularly throughout the album).

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