Jeffrey Siedler – Logic Formations

by Freq | 2018-04-12T09:00:25+00:000000002530201804 09:00

Buried Treasure 

Jeffrey Siedler - Logic FormationsIt’s taken me a while to process this. I’m still processing it.  I’ve watched this right the way through three times and jumped around in it (you will go into it, if you bother to go at all) a few more; selecting little movements, trying to find ways to explain what it is.

There’s simplicity in this little creature’s movement, no doubt, but it’s hardly minimalism; the sounds and the vision goes deep… I should reread the booklet – and I will – but, I get the nagging feeling that understanding this work from an academic / musicological angle might be missing the point. This is deep watching music.

In the early 1990s, I lived in a broken and dissolute  student house with a mountain of semi-busted TVs in the corner, arranged in a vague and irregular approximation of David Bowie’s in The Man Who Fell To Earth. On some, we were faced with the daily horrors or Eastenders, or Casualty, while on others played occasionally laughable, mostly mystifying (dependent on the level of psychoactives in your bloodstream) “rave” videos… spiralling cosmic graphics spinning out in from of you while Autechre or Eat Static or  Joey Beltram or whoever did their trance, trippy thing. These were videos to help you unfold; they were often boring, sometimes plain daft; but they were at least acknowledging that there were huge pockets of amateur psychonauts, lying on badly stuffed sofas all across the country, needing their eyes to be bled before they went to sleep.

We put up with a lot of shit, back then. The music was often very average and very un-psychedelic. It had its moments, but you really had to burn before anything made sense. This would have been perfect; this gets it just right.  I have no real idea exactly what Jeffrey Siedler made this DVD for but there’s a creeping, synthetic horror to this DVD which would have fitted the vibe just perfectly. If we’d have had this playing on one of those part-busted TVs, I think we’d have headed down into some splendidly dark places.

I should perhaps explain what this DVD is. Here’s the bits I’m nicking from the press release: it’s over two hours of vintage 1970s-style video graphics and modular atmospherics inspired by the super-rare  EMS Spectron video synthesizer. Jeffrey Siedler is an Australian academic and the DVD comes with an illustrated booklet written by Jeffrey and EMS wunderkid Richard Monkhouse, who designed the original Spectron. The music is clearly radiophonic in nature, but as each track slides along, accompanied by the equally slippery visuals, you sense that there is more purely musical intent behind the tracks; they would work beautifully without the visuals (and would create their own, with little encouragement). The visuals don’t suggest anything as such, but there’s a kind of neural networking present which implies the thought patterns of some giant machine consciousness. The music would have worked well soundtracking Ex Machina, for instance.

They look pretty too; they fill your room with light. They work beautifully with the sound down, when you’re just wanting some romantic light. They do, they do. You can’t help but fall into it. One time my seven-year-old stared at the TV screen for ages, taking it all in. I’m not sure he’d been the same since. He’s certainly better at his times-tables and keeps saying things like: “Oh My God, it’s full of stars.” (Okay, I made that bit up, but he did stare long and hard and he did really get it, in a way kids get stuff that they’re not supposed to). When Wittgenstein left Cambridge to go and teach primary school kids, he did so because he understood that they understood, in a way adults only pretend to, or fight against.  If these visuals were from a 70s kids TV programme introducing chess or something, then they’d make perfect sense as that too, because they act as swirling Rorschachs, as abstract expressions.

You’ve been in a house like mine; then, now. You understand what this is for. You won’t be disappointed.

-Loki-

Source URL: http://freq.org.uk/reviews/jeffrey-siedler-logic-formations/