Scanner – Mass Observation (Expanded)

scannerSunday’s edition of The Moderns will feature Scanner’s latest, a 53-plus-minute re-release of his 1994 classic Mass Observation. Except that it’s not really a re-release.

“I can remember this day so well, even though it was some 24 years ago,” writes Robin Rimbaud in this new release’s notes. “Standing up before a mixing desk in a dark room in an apartment in South London, Jim O’Rourke, Robert Hampson and myself, literally all hands-on deck as we each took responsibility for the faders on the desk.

“Two mixes were captured directly onto DAT tape. One of which would be officially released as Ash 1.7 Mass Observation, an EP that featured a 25-min version of one of these sessions, but until today the second longer expansive mix has never been heard.”

This work, like much of Scanner’s catalogue, has been profoundly influential over the years. He and I are roughly the same age. And so for as long as I’ve paid attention to the avant-garde scene, Rimbaud has been a mainstay.

This expanded version is a powerful recording that illustrates just how fast-forward looking Rimbaud’s work is. The Moderns airs on radioregent.com Sundays 9 am to 12 noon (ET). Mass Observation will be featured in the program’s second half.

While you’re tuned in, check out Rimbaud’s blog post on an invitation he received recently to perform – and deliver a workshop no less – without proper compensation. Exposure is not payment tells a story too familiar to too many artists. He makes his case passionately and eloquently.

Kevin Press

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