Label: Blank Forms
Genre: Sound Art
Preorder: Release date: May 19, 2023
2xLP pressed at RTI inside a tip-on jacket printed at Stoughton. Lacquer cut directly from reel-to-reel by Paul Gold. Recorded in Lary 7’s legendary apartment studio Plastikville over nearly a decade, Larynx is the first full-length retrospective of the East Village icon’s hybrid music and engineering practice. The record mobilizes 7’s array of homemade instruments, which he ‘frankensteins’ together from offcast and outmoded bits of technology. An ode to the long-lost Canal Street junk shops he frequented in the 1970s and ’80s, Larynx brings together numerous thrift finds and sonic inventions used in his theatrical performances and installations.
To play “le concretotron,” a board covered with twenty years worth of unspooled magnetic tape, 7 runs a tape head topographically over the flattened strips, picking up snippets of their recorded contents. The spring tree, another of his contraptions, is simply turned on and left to its own devices; feedback loops cause the amplified coils to resound in space and slowly increase in volume. The track “Mechano-Bleep” features a pattern generator constructed from a telephone sequence switch, 150 oscillators from an electric accordion, a sewing machine motor, and an early computing system called a “select-a-board.” Meanwhile, antiquated electronic instruments abound—7 employs the Ondioline, a precursor to the synthesizer; a Philicorda organ; and a homemade Trautonium, among other gadgets.
Following Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and Raymond Scott of Manhattan Research, 7 adopts a painstaking editing process that is entirely analogue. With lacquer cut directly from reel-to-reel and mastered by Paul Gold, Larynx is, in 7’s words, “the sound of the twentieth century going haywire.”
Multimedia art alchemist LARY 7 was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1956, and encouraged by his mother to mine junkyards for treasure from a young age. A former media studies student of Tony Conrad, Paul Sharits, and Hollis Frampton at the city’s public university, 7 was also educated in engineering, architecture, and filmmaking. He moved to Manhattan permanently in the late 1970s, where he used his technical know-how to launch a career as a commercial art photographer, working for major galleries and downtown friends alike, and has been a fixture of New York’s experimental underground ever since. Rejecting digital technologies because of their premeditated nature, 7 uses esoteric, often precarious analog equipment and instruments for his absurd, unpredictable presentations. In addition to his solo work, 7 has collaborated with the likes of Conrad, Tom Verlaine, Swans, Jarboe, Jutta Koether, and Foetus. In 2015, Anthology Film Archives celebrated the release of Danielle de Picciotto’s documentary Not Junk Yet: The Art Of Lary 7 with a three-day retrospective of his films. He retired from commercial photography after Hurricane Sandy and remains a tenant in the same East Village building he has lived in since the mid-’80s.