Xerophonics

By - May 1st, 2003 02:52 pm
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By Jeremy Saperstein

There’s a definite warm solace to be found in the fluorescent hell of work. Once you’ve arrived for another eight-hour sentence, the rhythm of the workplace begins to nudge you like a tide, making action and reaction easy as you work through the day. Coffee at eight and ten, lunch at noon, candy bar at three. Without the routine, most of us would go insane.

Xerophonics, a new ‘genre’ assembled entirely from the sounds of office appliances by one Dr. Stefan Helmreich is simultaneously the next great idea of industrial music and its denouement. Largely built on the repetitious patterns of noise that high-speed copiers emit (and named things like “Toshiba 2060” and “Xerox 5425 (Bookmark 35)”) Copying Machine Music is that great rarity in popular culture – a catchy prank – and exactly what you might expect to find on Negativland’s Seeland imprint.

The unending rhythms of the copiers relax and capture me, taking me back to the countless copier rooms and desks I’ve occupied as a worker drone in America. From now on, I hope to hear more of the music that always plays around me.

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