Music Works For Industry


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Music Works for Industry is a layered assertion, a phrase to turn over in the mind like so many loops on these recordings. Made with performance artists, musicians, and an instrument maker, Marc Barreca has spliced multiple labors into a collective whole. Barreca’s album offers succinct electronic compositions with social subtexts.

Friend and fellow musician K. Leimer names Cluster, Steve Reich, and Iannis Xenakis as Barreca’s contemporaries. Using synthesizers and altered, modified, and looped instruments and voices, Barreca manipulates sound into minimal arrangements. Ranging from under two minutes to just over four, each song is a fragment of modern life.

On the second track, “Shopping”, ominous, whooshing, mechanical sounds are layered over with light, playful tones, perhaps representative of the clash of  production versus exchange values. On “Hotcake” we hear men’s voices, chains and hissing steam in a methodical but urgent progression that could be a soundtrack to the silent film, Metropolis. “Georgetown” assembles a dark, warm, video game ambiance slowed down to a walking pace. A woman’s voice coos seductively “Nerve Roots are Uncontrollable,” on the track of the same name. And on “Organized Labor” the music wobbles along quite appropriately as a voice speaks the acronym I.W.W. and you realize he is speaking of the International Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies.

On the cover is a black and white photo of a figure in silhouette, backlit at a window, softened with curtains and plants. Maybe this is the room where the music was made: a private space, a refuge from industrial work. In a way, listening to the music is entering a space without work. One can imagine photographer Chauncey Hare listening to Music Works for Industry while documenting American office interiors. Soon after, Hare was driven to leave photography and become a therapist, publishing the self-help book, Work Abuse, in 1997.

Perhaps peering into industry led to Barreca’s own career move. While exploring the original cassette, we found a business card was found tucked inside: Marc Barreca―bankruptcy judge in Seattle. Material traces of the cassette are evident in the record’s packaging. The album is a new form for the reissue. But even in post-industrial times, Barreca’s music offers listeners easily consumable musings on current work conditions.  

This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 26 February, 2017.

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