Hate loops

A warning:  You will hear things in this video that make you wince, and I'm sorry for that.  Heed what its creator says at the beginning.

But it's really special.  It's given me a lot to think about, and it may do the same for you.  My wife, whose tolerance for artistic self-indulgence is about two orders of magnitude smaller than my own, found it fascinating.

It's not something to rush through.  Set aside some quiet time to spend with it.

I've written about Hainbach before, the Berlin-based electronic musician and YouTuber whose work (on YouTube, anyway), is mostly about teasing musical sounds out of discarded pieces of electronic equipment.  I finally started watching his videos earlier this year because YouTube would not stop recommending them to me, and hey, YouTube was right.  We have to take those victories when we find them.

The original work that Hainbach is calling back to here is a series of pieces that William Basinski released in the early 2000's, called Disintegration Loops.  Basinski had a bunch of 20-year-old master tape loops that he'd recorded in the 80s, and when he went back to digitize them, he found that the coating of the tape was flaking off as they went through the tape machine again and again.  His attempt to preserve them was destroying them.  With each repetition, there was less and less audio information in the sound being looped.

The result was somber and sad and really hard to describe.  When Basinski paired it up with the video footage of lower Manhattan in ruins that he shot from the roof of his studio on September 12, 2001, it fit.  Most peoples' first contact with _Disintegration Loops_ was that video.  Here's "dlp 1.1," the first loop he made (sans video):

The idea of gradually-deteriorating audio recordings speaks more directly to someone who chooses to record direct to cassette than it would to most people, and Hainbach already made a video about Disintegration Loops, and took a stab at making his own, earlier this year.

But over the last few months something happened that ultimately compelled him to return to this project, and that's what this video is about.

I love this video.  

It's so frank and honest about cruelty, and emotional pain.  A guy who teases a piece of East German electrical test equipment until he can get a low bass hum out of it may seem like an eccentric nerd - which, of course, he is - but he's also a sensitive man and an artist.  He's a lot better at directly communicating what hurts him, and why, and how, than you might expect when you think "Berlin-based electronic musician."

His response to what he's experienced is transformative.  Literally so.  He's transforming abuse into art.  And there's a transformation that occurs within him as he makes it.  His description of what he ended up doing as "a game of shitty Pokemon" is really funny, but it also is a real change. A gathering of strength.  An assumption of power.

This is magical.  I mean that literally.  He created a ritual, he performed the ritual, and the ritual is effecting a change in the material world.  If that's not magic, nothing is.

Other YouTube synth musicians make an appearance in this video, including Jeremy aka Red Means Recording.  It's nice to know that Hainbach's not alone in this, and I hope they got something close to what Hainbach got out of this project.


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