Adrian Rew: Slow Machine Music (Ergot Records, 2013/reissued Hanson Records, 2014)

January 23, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Adrian Rew: Slow Machine Music

Adrian Rew: Slow Machine Music

Similar to Andy Hofle’s “Arcade Ambience” project (which consists of field recordings of early ’80s video game arcades), and the Golding Institute 7″s from the mid ’90s (field recordings of fast food restaurants, adult book stores and airport restrooms), this is another unusual, crazy, weird recording of American culture in action. This is what Midwestern casinos sound like. At any given point on this record, you’re hearing the sounds of dozens of slot machines, along with conversation, whistling, and whatever music is playing over the loudspeaker (there is most definitely some Def Leppard during side A of this record). It’s quite a hypnotic din, and listening to it could give you the urge to gamble your life savings away. You hear plenty of dinging and bleeping video poker and slot machines, lots of coins clinking, and even a few excited cheers of winners, but a lot of the time, conversations aren’t easily audible. It seems like everyone’s entranced by all the lights and sounds and just keeps compulsively gambling. On the first part of side B there’s a long stretch where a machine keeps dinging the same note rapidly, which makes you think that either it’s broken or someone’s winning a ton of money, but you don’t seem to hear anyone cheering about it. The final track doesn’t sound like a casino at all, but an outdoor recording of a train passing by very closely, with crickets chirping in the background. Only at the end do you hear some slot machine melodies, along with someone asking Rew what he’s doing, and him explaining that he’s recording the sounds. The liner notes explain that these casinos have strict security, and that these recordings are clandestine (usually the tape recorder is hidden in his pocket), so maybe it’s a guard questioning his act of recording. This was originally a limited CD-r release, but Hanson Records has released an amazing-looking picture disc LP of it. You can order it and listen to side A here.

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