Pali Meursault – ‘Offset’ LP [Doubtful Sounds / Universinternational]

Out of people and things that need greater recognition, Pali Meursault’s Offset LP is in my current top ten. The sound artist / theorist is a comparatively young authority in the modern world of musique concrete, known as much for his sonic offerings and collaborative video project as his installations, solo work and published written pieces.

Offset perfectly captures the sounds that ‘industrial’ producers set out to achieve, and rightly so. Recorded at two French printing factories, the rhythmic pounding of pistons and crunching sounds reflect the lightness of their work compared to say a car factory, but retain the rawness of metal machinery.The work that goes in to field-recordings isn’t just setting up a mic to record. Getting the sounds right, processing them and pulling them together in their various layers to create a single unified environment is a process attempted by many and done well by a few. 

Pali is a master of creating these sound landscapes, self-described as “organising noise within a given space.” On Offset he seems to have gone a step closer to modern composition, with the rhythmic sounds working as constant loops rather than a individual events. Next time someone gives me a funny look when I mention ‘field-recordings’ this is what I’ll play them.

The record comes in a limited quantity of 300, and is mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi, another artist who’s never lent his hand to anything sub-par. No embeddable samples up, you’re going to have to trust us on this one, but get on it, even if it’s the only home-listening wax you buy.

via Doubtful Sounds
Offset is the exploration of the soundscape of a printing workshop, a journey in the depth of the mechanical and industrial energy of rotary presses.

Composed from field recordings made in two different printing facilities (in Grenoble and Paris from november 2011 to february 2012), the work is deliberately situated in between the sound document about the over-determined environment of a work place and the electroacoustic re-composition/manipulation. A series of variations on textures, rhythms, cycles and patterns formed by the producing and reproducing machines.

Here, the soundscape is regarded as a social and cultural phenomenon as much as it is acoustic: the recorded matter is both the damaging and alienating by-product of the production process, and already holds a musical dimension, marked by a hundred years of mechanical fantasies, as cultivated by the Futurists, industrial music or techno. The issue, then, was to study how the noise of a machine becomes music as much as it was to understand how a musical culture produces an alternative listening of the environment.

The first side of offset explores the rhythmic patterns of mechanical “cycles”; the second focuses on “fluxes” and continuous phenomena.

Co-realised by universinternational and doubtful sounds. Black vinyl, limited to 300 copies. Mastering by Giuseppe Ielasi.