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MIKE KITCHER - Processed Snippets: Congo Traditional 1952 & 1957 LP

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“Processed Snippets” falls firmly into the category of new exotica, a music created from a specific location that becomes placeless through abstraction. Mike Kitcher reworks moments recorded from the SWP re-mastered release of Congo Traditional 1952 & 1957, a collection of recordings by Hugh Tracey. Tracey, a pioneering documenter of traditional music across the continent of Africa was notable for the extent of his travels and the breadth of his work, as well as his technique of live mixing multi-instrumental tracks with a hand-held microphone. This method produces tracks that focus on specific instruments with a shifting of foreground and background. In his work he aimed to reflect the listening experience in the field. Kitcher’s album reflects on Tracey’s process by focusing each track on a limited sample and using basic EQing alongside only one software processor: IRCAM’s “the scrub.” He foreshortens the landscape, by zooming in onto moments of breath, the moment of the release of contact from the instrument, bursts of silence or processed modifications that transform vocals into the echo of ivory horns. Within this magnified view, the richness of the original material is turned over and seen from an array of angles. Kitcher notes that “inflections, harmony, expression and pulsing modulations all grab my attention, frequently expressed through voice, conical drums, luma pipes or lamellaphones, among other instruments….”.