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William Selman

The Life Of Lines

Label: Critique of Everyday Life

Format: CD

Genre: Electronic

In stock


In process of stocking **Edition of 100** Recorded and assembled 2015-2020 by William Selman and mastered by Stephan Mathieu. There are lines. Lines move, expand, contract, intersect, diverge. Lines have clear trajectories and unexpected turns. As listeners bound by linear time on a spatial plane of lines, our perception and experience as listeners is lines.  William Selman’s inaugural release on his new label Critique of Everyday Life cofounded with Chris Miller (aka Gunnar Haslam) draws on the embodied, environmental anthropology of Tim Ingold.

Originally commissioned and broadcast for the Mysteries of the Deep livestream takeover of ASIP’s 9128.live online radio, The Life of Lines is intended to be an embodied experience of listening through multiple lines of sound production.  Constructed from fragments of music and field recordings made over the course of five years, Selman lets these documents unfold together as independent but interconnected lines. Sounds from vibraphone, Japanese vending machines, windy forests, organ, chemical reactions, melting lakes, insects attracted to meat-covered microphones, and Serge synthesizer all interact, intersect, and diverge from one another over the course of a single one-hour piece. 

Exploring embodied experience deeper, Ingold writes:  "This commonality lies in the operation I have called ‘inversion’, of turning the world in on itself so that its lines and movements of growth become boundaries of containment...Historical geographer Kenneth Olwig traces this inversion to the theatrical conceits of the early seventeenth century, when the world began to be recreated on stage and viewed through a proscenium arch. This was actually a world brought indoors, and its meteorological effects had to be simulated by means of props and pyrotechnics.”  Consciousness always mediates embodied perception as an unavoidable layer to listen through; technological playback brings the world indoors. Acknowledging that any mediated document invokes the logic of inversion, Selman integrates his lines of fragments with two strategies: cybernetic feedback systems and foley recordings. Feedback systems add an additional, artificial layer to the existing sounds glueing together their timbres. Foley recordings of artificial events and constructed sounds interact with “natural” field recordings to enliven them but also question the authenticity implicit in field recording as a practice. 

Expanding beyond Selman’s recent, well-regarded work on Mysteries of the Deep, here is a long-form work closer to his ideas about how sound is composed. Eschewing the idea of collage for a stream of spaces simultaneously natural and artificial, The Life of Lines reflects on the process of its own composition from the past to the present.

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