Timothy Shortell – Windows

A collection of photography and music by Timothy Shortell, a Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College who is conventionally referred to as controversial. The image above links to Scott Foust’s site, where the 40 page book of full-colour photography and CDr are still available.

The music uses synthetic elements, industrial sounds and instruments alongside field recordings. The latter are never gratuitous, nor are they merely a window-dressing (if one will pardon the pun), but function as structural elements to the music. ‘Tropical Storm Irene’ is a good example of this, whereby the sounds of rain are manipulated to take on the same glissando as the synthesized elements, lending the whole affair a rather maudlin tone.

Shortell himself writes in the (brief) liner notes that windows serve “as a boundary and a portal between public and private in social life”. While he quickly goes on to state that this project addresses the aesthetic potential of windows, rather than the sociological functions (latent or otherwise), the last track,  ‘Parque Hotel’, sounds rather analogous to just that boundary. Murky and incomprehensible vocals are augmented by washing synth lines, as though reflecting the listener’s moments of eye contact with diners while peering into a busy restaurant. Surely the album’s flagship, and somewhat reminiscent of Idea Fire Company’s work (it is released on the Anti-Naturals’ imprint Überkatze Studio, and mixed by Graham Lambkin after all).

As an aside, there are a few cases of glitches and pops in the audio which were present on my copy of the CD, if not all of them. Still, as it is not bitrot (the most nauseating of all fidelity problems), it is still an excellent listen.

Get it here.

Old link.