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DUNCAN, JOHN - The Nazca Transmissions

Format: LP
Label & Cat.Number: Alga Marghen PLANAZCA
Release Year: 2009
Note: sounds based on mysterious recordings from the "Nazca Lines" (famous geoglyphs) in Peru, made by an archeologist; lim. 380 with embossed black sleeve, full colour inlay and extra data-inlay about the source recordings
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €20.00

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"On Christmas Eve, 2004, John Duncan received a mysterious email from an archaeologist working at the site of the Nazca Lines in Peru. He claimed to have discovered, and over time recorded, a variety of sounds actually generated by the enigmatic lines themselves. Familiar with Duncan's 'Infrasound-Tidal', composed from source recordings taken from tides, seismic activity and barometric data from the Australian coastline, he suggested to Duncan the composition of a piece with these sources. All of the sources were modified in the studio of John Duncan, some radically, to bring out an unsettling, haunting quality. In mid-June 2005, the glorious 5-track piece was finally ready. John Duncan sent several messages to the archaeologist, none of them ever answered or returned. A hard disk crash effectively destroyed all of the email correspondence between them. What remains are the notes he sent that ostensibly describe the details of sites and times for the source recordings. Those notes have been reproduced on the insert included in this edition, also presenting John Duncan liner notes. First pressing limited to 380 copies, with embossed total-black cover, insert and full-color inner sleeve with wonderful space images of the Nazca Lines." [label info / credits]

"The sound constructs of John Duncan almost exist as a residue of his own personal research into esoteric realms of knowledge, existential bouts of continuous questioning, and transgressive acts against himself and society at large. Here was a man who claimed to have sex with a corpse as a performance piece entitled Blind Date, whereby he planted his last seed in a dead body before undergoing a
vasectomy. That event presumably took place nearly 30 years ago, when Duncan was emerging as an artist in Los Angeles alongside Paul
McCarthy, Jim Shaw, and Mike Kelley. Blind Date has become a piece of infamy that blossomed beyond his already highly transgressive context, but he's always been an artist who is very deft at framing particular works through the process and through the context of said piece. The Nazca Transmissions is one such piece.
A few years back, Duncan received an email from a German archaeologist working at the site of the Nazca Lines in Peru. These
are the massive drawings carved into an arid plateau some 2000 years ago by the ancient Nazca people. Some of these figures are
representation, some are not, and some get as large of 200 yards in size, all posing the question: who was supposed to be seeing these
figures, and to what end? Now, this archaeologist claimed to have been able to record sounds from those line drawings; and he presented the raw material to Duncan, having been familiar with his transmutational pieces of digital data and shortwave. Duncan was suitably perplexed and intrigued by the sounds that were presented to him, proceeding to
work on a series of compositions through that material. Unfortunately, this archaeologist ceased all communications, leading Duncan to wonder if it was all a big hoax.
Eerie ringings pocked with scrabbled textures almost like clipped VLF recordings open the album set against a gaping chasm of
quietness. While Duncan's penchant for abrasive noise and jarring juxtaposition is well documented, you won't find that here. By the end of the side, the textures take on an unsettled rhythm that almost resembles human speech garbled through the process. Very compelling, very unsettled. The second side begins with an interlocking series of modulated and muffled Shepherd Tones, these are the audio equivalent of a barber's pole with the tones giving the appearance of being in constant ascension or descension. It's a common artifact found throughout the shortwave bands, harkening back to one of his preferred sound sources; and Duncan puts them to excellent use amidst a sea of low end rumblings. Soon after, pierced tones push to the foreground as those low end rumblings mutate into grotesquely deformed growlings only to fade against a hushed coda of grey noise. This is limited to less than 300 copies, and it remains to be seen if we'll be able to get more than the handful we have now. Recommended no matter how you look at it." [Aquarius Records]