Invisible PAIN Field Generator (19. Anthem) Frank Koustrup

Overview

The “Invisible Pain Field Generator produces a directional field of moderately intense pain to back of head up to 50’. Cigarette pack size enclosure is easily hidden.”
Inspired by the sheer malice of such a device, the Invisible PAIN Field Generator performed three times. First was an improvised, radio broadcast one wintry night in 1985. Last were as an intermission act at a bar on Easter weekend, 1986. Within months, the members left town.
This compilation is a 60-minute, radiophonic show. It combines and juxtaposes recordings of the performances with thematically similar material. The sources are noisy and feature debris from highways, railways, alleyways, and inside abandoned factories. Plug everything together. Use really shitty tape. Play with the buttons. These original experiments were almost instant. Editing and processing took half a decade.
Not all music has to uplift. But relax. The Invisible PAIN Field Generator is invisible; really quite safe. Just don’t point it at a dog.

The first section of “Anthem” layers an acoustic-guitar riff over heavily echoed electronic organ. The thick texture and ponderous chords sound anthemic but muddy and lost. This section ends with an electric guitar that was distorted by the dying electronics of an old, and long-abused tape recorder. Every few days, a track would distort, and then die a day or two later. Authorities acted and replaced this machine with one that didn’t offer this distortion feature.
The second section, “Star-Spangled”, is a musique concrète-like collage that starts with a recording of a water fountain. The following material comes from tapes recorded on 8-track cartridges but played on a half-track, tape recorder. Otherwise unrelated tracks play at once. The sounds include voices, electric guitar, electric organ, piano, and the melodies to “Yankee Doodle” and the “Star-Spangled Banner”.
These melodic quotations had some vague political intent during an especially dark phase of the Cold War; the prospect of surviving to next week, let alone reaching age 30, seemed absurd. But, the “Star-Spangled Banner” raised a typical paradox — resentment of America coupled with irresistible attraction. The melody is remarkably beautiful.
”Anthem” ends in mellow arpeggios played on an electric guitar.
Sources: 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
Edited: 2004-05

Engineer: Frank Koustrup, JoAnne Mouryas (first section)

Copyright 2006 Frank Koustrup

  • Year of composition: 2005
  • Duration of the submitted work: 5:08
  • Production: Fanshawe College, home

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