**150 copies** The last year has brought about an unprecedented period of challenge and change, particularly for those communities that gather around the arts. Unable to gather, commune, and experience as we once did, artists and fans connected with experimental music and sound practice - via releases, online concerts, publications, virtual events, and other means for engagement and support - have proven to be particularly adept at adapting to the demands of our new context. Among the most exciting and ambitious of these projects has been an intuitive launched by the Swiss visual artist, Veronika Spierenburg in collaboration with Shadow Brand. Gathering field recordings made during various lockdowns by artists across the globe, Mass Files, stretching across an incredibly beautiful box set of 5 LPs, offers 10 of the most striking of these commissioned, long-form works. Honest, direct, and incredible prescient, it’s one of the most mesmerizing and inspiring releases we’ve encountered over the last year, acting as a balm for these difficult times, that has given us a great deal of hope and shouldn’t be missed.
For nearly a century, field recording - a practice varied in its applications, from documenting music in-situ, to capturing the many ambiences and sounds of the world - has occupied a close alignment with experimental music. Whether deployed as a building block for musique concrète, electroacoustic music, or presented in its own free-standing materiality, artists as diverse as John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Christina Kubisch, and countless others have continuously directed us toward the auditory wonders transpiring in the world around us. With them come remarkable new ways of understanding the musicality and multiple meanings of our own contexts and environments, as well as those of others.
Mass Files comprises 10 long form field recordings, each given an entire side of the box set’s 5 LPs, by Andres Carrasco, Amir Boverman, Anthony Ghazel, Maria Conterno, Juha Puuperä & Alberto Iannuzzi, Joaquin Rivera, Thomas Kurian, Alessandro Boscolo, Jose Maria Casas, and Blas Kisic, following the initiative’s directive for the recordings to capture the sounds transpiring in their environments between 10 and 11 am local time, which are presented across the collection chronologically.
Through the ears of its artists, Mass Files captures an unprecedented moment in history - our environments changing and emptying of life as lockdowns and curfews rippled across the globe - unveiling the sonic wonders that blossomed from the invisible, the unheard, and transient, as mobility and industry ground to halt. Perhaps even more remarkable, across 10 glorious sides, the collection offers a new notion of collectivism, glimpsed through sound, where absence and silence can be regarded as a shared experience and emerge as a deeply topical series of abstract narratives, as well as the fruitful ground from which a hopeful future might spring.
Truly wonderful on every count, we can’t thank enough Veronika Spierenburg for making this wonderful project real and delivering it to our ears. In addition to 5 LPs, Mass Files box set includes two publications, one with the photo of each location taken by the recordist and an introduction by Magaly Tornay, and another with excerpts of correspondence from recordists to the project's instigator and curator Veronika Spierenburg. Hugely historically important and impossible to recommend enough. Issued in a very limited edition of 150 copies, so it’s not going to sit around for long.
(for more details, see : https://massfiles.net)