MYSTERY SEA 15 | Caesar Ursic| [Lithophonia]


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- "Environmental sounds and noises are more useful aesthetically than sounds produced by the world's musical cultures." John Cage, 1957

"If a building could speak, what would it say? Might the cold marble floors and stone walls retain subtle sonic traces of the events and people of its past? Would we be able to hear them?

The original Highland General Hospital in Oakland, California, now stands silent and forgotten, having cared for nearly a century of patients and survived two major earthquakes. Recently replaced by safer and more modern structure, the old Hospital building contains mostly discarded and obsolete equipment, outdated files, and thousands (if you are so inclined to believe) of ghosts.

Lithophonia is my attempt to aurally capture the faded residues of human activity that once resonated through the now-abandoned pavilions, walkways and chambers of this grand old structure.
For six months I haunted its ramparts, passageways, underground labyrinths and great halls with a stereo microphone and digital recorder.
All sound sources were 'found'; none were produced or elicited.
Reverberations, vibrations, occasional distant human voice intrusions, and the mechanized breaths of strange machines left to their automated chores in empty alcoves and dead-end corridors were collected.
The digitally-manipulated results are presented here in four movements.
I used no synthesizers or musical instruments at any point.

My sincere thanks to Daniel Crokaert for his encouragement and many, many thought-provoking e-mails."

- Caesar Ursic, Sydney, May 8 2004


Caesar Ursic is a US artist officiating professionally into the sphere of surgery... This reference is not innocent, as he used his own field recordings made by pacing up and down the haunted corridors of an old hospital to concoct his sharp confounding debut...
The result is nothing else than chilling & highly distinctive...
Extrasensory listening...
Blurred mechanical rumblings, hollow clanks, silver glowing echoes...
oozings out from traces tattooing the stones...
a sea of encapsulated memories fluttering against nocturnal walls...
eroded maps without codes, dripping interstitial life...
"Lithophonia" is about giving voice to invisible fluxes, enigmatic rustlings, secret resonances, a reinvented language built on tumbledown past...
Magnified, each mark becomes an intimate message, an architectural parable speaking to your soul...
Frozen in time, this is a visit to a whispering temple, a museum of buried lessons...
"Lithophonia" scrapes the surfaces to root out the most essential vibrations & capture the very core of lost moments...

Definitely a cathartic intramural journey...


01. Antiquarium
02. The Faint Metallic Glow
> unrar + listen !
03. Gradual Decompression > unrar + listen !
04. The Past Is Prologue




Touching Extremes |Massimo Ricci
"Gradual decompression", third track of this CD, is a dark masterpiece alone worthy of extremely high degrees of laudability. Indeed the whole "Lithophonia" - made with sounds captured in an old hospital - is a positive example in many of its aspects. Not afraid to show influences (Lustmord on top of all) Caesar Ursic's music slides through a world of forgotten ruins and sculpted sonorities, as to look for the very sources of microfossil stains. Grey perspectives accompany the listener throughout, indicating a steady path to obscurity that only seldom is interrupted by the appearance of a dim light observed through breaks in the wall. The weight of solitude is an always present heavy burden and the whole disc is an exercise in sustaining open-eyed nightmares.
touching extremes

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