SUTURED SOUNDS IN SPACE & TIME

The following is a review of a show that Tim Hilton produced for BlauGrau Gallery (inner Sydney) in 2001. At the time that the review was written, Tim emailed it to me. I am not sure if it has been published elsewhere, and hope that it's ok I post it here. If not, please get in touch! Cheers, Lucas.

 

SUTURED SOUNDS IN SPACE & TIME

by bunny star

31 may 2001

"Artists and creative thinkers will lead the way into
space because they are already writing, painting and
filming space. They are providing us with the only
maps for space travel. We are not setting out to
explore static pre-existing data. We are setting out
to create new worlds, new beings, new modes of
consciousness. … What you experience in dreams and
out of the body trips, what you glimpse in the work of
writers and painters, is the promised land of space."

– Burroughs

Travelling through a world of experimental art, the
explorer discovers a field of music branching inward,
and outward, in a spiralling, centripetal fashion,
revealing the industrial insect sounds of Tim Hilton.
Shadow Matter – his second CD – is a collection that
plays with the combined forces of technology and human
chance. Dinosaur bleating, liger growling,
extraterrestrial humming and hearts beating leaves
listening open to individual interpretation. The idea
is to access pathways through ‘coincidence’ by
locating form in surface using the random functions of
a computer. Hilton describes his process as a way of
‘revealing the hand of god at work’ – artist becomes
conduit to facilitate an interaction between universal
energy, human perception & earthly technology. An
aural mapping, if you will – a stitching together of
space and time in the 21st century.

Through music and art, Hilton investigates what lurks
beneath the surface of sound and sight. He is
interested in the response-ability of himself,
technology, an audience and the space in which we
locate ourselves.

‘I see the process of making these sound pieces as an
unknowing collaboration between person and machine
with the outcome due to guided chance – a personal and
impersonal documentation of existence.’

An alchemical resonance is fused by choosing computer
samples and filters, leaving the technology to shape
shift the selection. Soundscapes form and like ‘making
pictures in clouds’ or ‘throwing grains of rice and
seeing where they land,’ the end result reflects a
surrender of absolute control. Unsolicited imagination
meets multi-media modes of statement. Laptop geek
music comes alive.

Like an apparition of the spiral entrance into a
galaxy seen from afar, Hilton’s music embraces
non-linear consciousness. The journey takes precedence
over arrival. As such, we are offered process-based
productions of anti-narrative, fantastical aural
visions sprayed out in the circularity of musical
loops. Finding form in spurts of crackle, beats &
rhythms looped at different speeds, a mutation takes
place. Bridging the microcosm with the macro- he
points to ways of bringing awareness to inner states
of realisation and magical energy through the
technology of this time.

‘I see the melding as a way of creating phantom-like
sound pieces that I could not have otherwise imagined
– like hypnagogic imagery. Although I produce these
images, I don’t conjure them, they appear in my
consciousness with other forces at play.’

Consider this – a space pulsates with the blueprint
energy of Hilton’s work. Three hand clap samples are
arranged randomly through the use of the software’s
random function pattern. Set to the beats per minute
(bpm) of his heart rate at the time (63bpm), the
composition is humanised, or mortalised, through an
interactive process. When installed, the piece
emanates from two red funnels which are suggestive of
big ears, or maybe eyes, that become a productive
organ, rather than a receptive one. The space is
anthromorphosised as the unit is attached to the body
of the room, endowing it with human qualities.

At the launch of his debut video clip at Squatfest
2001, critic
Heath O’Brien comments on the effect such
sutured sounds had on the audience.

‘Everyone is silent, basking in the hypnotic rhythm
and pulsating response’orial psalm. Now everyone is
intensely aware and there is an electric sense of
expectation and a palpable curiosity in the air
mingled with an uncanny familiarity as if we are
immersed in a primreview collective memory.’

Hilton’s work delves further and invites the audience
to step outside of the subjective experience of human
ego, just for a moment, to stand on a stage of
unidentified experience, if only to broaden the scope
of inner vision or activate latent perception. Barbara
Freedman writes in Staging the Gaze, ‘The
objectification of the self by an alien viewpoint
enables, as it undermines, self-consciousness by
calling into play an unconscious look.’2 With a
Lacanian bent, Hilton encourages a destabilisation of
conditioned response by challenging the limitations of
conscious thought and, in doing so, allows space for
the collective unconscious to mingle with music and
mortal beings.

Is this by chance or specific intent of the composer?
Both – the essence of blueprint energy lies beneath
the surface of Hilton’s sounds, conceived in the
mind’s eye and ear, according to the subjective
experience of the collective unconscious. Working with
an interest in responding critically to the concept of
‘Mektoub’ – the idea that everything is written by the
hand of fate – he points to the significance of human
interaction in an age of art and technology, blazing a
trail of unique talent.

– bhs 2001

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