“A Compressed History of Everything Ever Recorded, vol.2: Ubiquitous Eternal Live” reviewed by Chain DLK

Accompanied by mysterious pictures of nearly deserted places, but with a blurred photo of a cheering crowd in a stadium or concert hall, Autodigest’s new installment is a tough one to, ahem, digest. Conceived as a “history of audience applause” (“Somewhere along the way, we seem to have forgotten what exactly we were cheering for… Until we eventually stopped cheering, as nobody was playing anyway”), the hour-long track is exactly made of that: endlessly looped samples of applauses and cheers and delirious screaming. No other sounds, except for a minimal drone which actually sounds like a kind of resonance or echo of that hyper-exposed apocalyptic mess. Quoting the press sheet, “[The piece] is presented as less of an archive and more of a critical eye loaded with a few conceptual cards as foundations, from Debord to Baudrillard, from Harvey to Adorno”. Whatever. It was fun to read a few reviews which have been published meanwhile, as they spanned from “pure genius” to “pure crap” to a more diplomatic “most bizarre record of 2004”. I recall listening to an untitled work by Francisco López and thinking it was a bad joke as it was only crickets sounds throughout, then re-listening to it some years later and losing myself in it with amazement. Save for the political/conceptual differences, this is a similar case: it starts sounding like a joke, then it finally makes your bowels churn. The screaming voices, once looped and overlapping in a droning mass, pass from pop hysteria to pure tragedy – this could be a nightmare of Altamont. But on a deeper level, what makes this cd so frightening to me is the sense of futility and loneliness oozing from this sweaty über-audience – Autodigest coldly re-creates and contemplates modern nonsense as in an in vitro test.

Eugenio Maggi

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