In Life: A User’s Manual George Perec muses on handmade wooden puzzles cut and ingrained with tricks from the maker to baffle and tease with their decisive ambiguity. He writes, “The pieces are readable, take on sense, only when assembled. In isolation a puzzle piece means nothing, just an impossible question, a challenge.”
I think of the pieces clicking together and the warming pleasure of this calculated randomness. Orchestral. Crisp little sounds dampened by carpets or walls, inside, coming in from outside, blinking systematically but erratically like so many fluttering eyes. This collaborative cassette is full of these kinds of everyday instances, so surreal when unheard in this way, and chance-based events like little footnotes arranged and in communication as if amending the laws of nature.
It is a soundscape for an imaginary landscape created from the sounds of theirs/ours. I imagine a busy garden on the edge of an active farm, but an insect’s farm, where each horse and buggy could be balanced on a grain of sand and raindrops are shuttled through waterwheels no bigger than my little finger. The pieces move around like termites and bees, altogether, distinctly, busy, and epically to build the vision of this triangulated hive mind. A human cough, completely shocking, manages to raise only a tiny tornado of dust.
We took it in our words from chaos to cosmos a word that simply meant order, cosmetic. Cosmetically, The Magic City is out now on cassette from Indonesia’s delightful Hasana Editions.
The Magic City by Anne-F Jacques, Ryoko Akama,

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