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Reviews
No John - Parasite
Tuesday, January 15 2008 @ 01:00 AM PST
Contributed by: S:M:J63

Parasite

Artist: No John Belgium

Title: Parasite

Label: Industrial Culture United Kingdom

Genre: Noise / Ambient
 
Tracklist:

01 Fig 1
02 Fig 2
03 Fig 3
04 Fig 4
05 Fig 5
06 Fig 6

Ordinarily, the sheets of information that accompany some of the material I get sent for review generally speaking offer a much needed insight into both the creative process and creative mindset behind a given release. This one does too in a manner of speaking, albeit in a style that’s fairly dense and abstruse. The phrase “information theory” reared its head and I was catapulted back to my days as a degree student studying computer multimedia; information theory was one of many subject areas we were expected to master. Sadly, I was more interested in the intricacies of 3D-modelling and computer-generated textures to pay the subject the necessary attention; had I known that so many years later that it would come in handy in the course of my reviewing this six-track 3” CDr then I probably would have seriously buckled down to it.

Given, then, the combination of my somewhat limited knowledge of this subject and the frailties of memory in addition to attempting to read between the lines, I am led to conjecture that the term parasite in the context of communication is something to do with disruption and disturbance, noise itself being considered a ‘physical’ parasite; this was especially true when mass communication was entirely dependent on analogue technology but nevertheless it can still be applied even today. In any example of a message, clear communication is compromised by unexpected noise, introduced somewhere along the route from transmitter to receiver and often the result of the nature of the carrier itself. A good analogy would be two people at opposite ends of a room talking to each other; as long as there are no other people in the room then communication is trouble-free. However, introduce other elements in the form of more and more people all talking simultaneously and then communication between the original two starts to become problematic. How many crucial communiqués have been rendered useless at some critical juncture by the intercession of unwanted noise?  In this sense, just like its biological counterpart, the parasite disrupts, disturbs and alters the original in some negative and detrimental way.

So how does this relate to the CD currently under scrutiny? A great deal, as these six short packets of noise contain all the elements pertinent to the concept of the ‘parasite’ in communication, coarse electronic static and machine noise, chopped up, jerked about, disturbed and disrupted, the message only partially received and understood; snatches of voices rendered unintelligible by the signal coming into contact with noise; fields of noise wavering in and out of hearing and reception, affected by unknown and accidental obstacles; radio static altering pitch and timbre and finally granulating into coarse noise. Searching up and down the bandwidth to find that one intersection on the scale where the message is unaffected and uncontaminated.

This may have an essentially highbrow academic concept underlying it; the manner of its realisation though is pretty direct and unambiguous. No John go straight to the heart of the matter quickly and without preamble; however there is a delicious double irony in the chosen carrier of this particular message - the digital medium is a pretty reliable way of getting uncontaminated messages through yet here it’s used as a way of exploring the role of noise in disruption and infection through the use of a practically incorruptible data platform and also by using noise itself. How much more ironic can it get?

     


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