A Compressed History of Everything Ever Recorded, vol.2:
Ubiquitous Eternal Live
"Ubiquitous Eternal Live" is the second chapter of Autodigest's "A Compressed History of Everything Ever Recorded" series.
Volume 1, from 2003, proposed an aural illustration of current syndromes in digital compression which abandon fidelity, subtlety and complexity in favour of speed, efficiency and endless storage capabilities.
Volume 2, now released, approaches the History of Recorded Sound under a considerably different perspective: it brings together all the audiences ever recorded and has them share one hour of hysterical, progressively apocalyptic applause. This is presented as less of an archive and more of a critical eye loaded with a few conceptual cards as foundations, from Debord to Baudrillard, from Harvey to Adorno.
The aim of Autodigest's statements is to illustrate the collapse of music as we know it - codified, copied, digitised, burned, compressed, freely and readily available, all of this at a time when we can download music much faster than we can listen to it, all of this at a time when a soda drink offers one hundred million songs for free.
Ultimately the song remains the same, but our relationship with it has changed beyond recognition and redemption. Just try to imagine what a concert would mean to an audience before sound could be recorded... yes, we've come a long way, baby - and maybe, just maybe, deserve to end up with those one hundred million songs in our pocket. The choice, it seems, is pretty much down to the cute colour, pattern or ringtone of the week.
"Ubiquitous Eternal Live" is a joint release by Ash International (UK) and Crónica Electrónica (Portugal). The audio track was assembled and composed in Portugal in early 2004, and was mastered by Denis Blackham in April 2004. The design work is by Jon Wozencroft, over photography work by Heitor Alvelos.
Autodigest was conceived [as in 'concept'] in a hotel lobby on May 26, 2001, at approximately 9 a.m., after a night of excess and euphoria. Hotel muzak acted as the trigger for a quick rêverie on the state of music at the beginning of the 21st Century.
Through a series of unplanned events and actions, coincidences and convergences, Autodigest became the focus for an 'apocalyptic' perception of contemporary culture, dedicated to developing and sharing a critical eye within a culture that is quickly becoming synonymous with 'pure entertainment'.
Autodigest has made live appearances since 2002, establishing the world record by performing the shortest concert ever (one-second-long concert in Stockholm, May 24, 2002), and beating its own record in June 2004 (half-a-second-long gig in Porto, Portugal). A considerably longer live appearance will take place at the Spitz Café in London, on the 4th of November, as Autodigest will perform accompanied by three saxophone players.
Though not secretive, Autodigest remains anonymous. It means to walk the tightrope between the complexity of the issues addressed and a hyperconformist approach to cultural resistance, placing itself right in the middle of the syndromes it analyses and critiques. For all we know, one of these days it might surface as a reality show... In the meantime, keep on cheering!
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