by Joe Milazzo

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UTOPIAN LAPSES represents the results of my attempts to couple 2 separate and long-standing musical ambitions:

1) to craft instances of harsh / abrasive / "ugly" noise from samples of canonical New Age recordings;
2) to explore the generative possibilities of limited instrumental (in this case, audio editing software) techniques and, for lack of a better term, knowledge in a semi-improvised context.

Samples were selected from a variety of recordings and then manipulated using open-source audio tools such as Audacity and SoundHack. Once an audio effect, signal processing routine or edit was applied, the results, regardless of my own satisfaction with them, were allowed to stand. (No Ctrl+Z.) In order to achieve the desired transformation of ambiance into oppression, I trusted the progressive tendencies of these "accidents" as well as my own "forgetting" of precisely which procedures and settings had been invoked. Finally, working track by track, and once I felt that each particular track had achieved a stage of completion, I produced a final mix and immediately deleted all my work files in order to prevent myself from giving in to the temptation to attempt to recreate / reproduce any particular sound or effect.

My original intent had been to issue these recordings on cassette, and in very limited quantities. This was to be partly in tribute to the underground, semi-samizdat cassette artists of the 1980's. Ultimately digital distribution proved too attractive (and easy) an option. However, the final recordings were mastered from a cassette dump of the original computer files.

The title UTOPIAN LAPSES refers to the corruption of the still-largely Aquarian philosophies animating much New Age music. Midway through the realization of this project, as I began to mull titles, it occurred to me that I had been engaged all along with more than just principles of sonic generation and musical organization. I was deep in ideology, and also, at least in part, manipulating the Edenic, the-future-will-be-better notions articulated by many New Age composers and instrumentalists. Moreover, the work I was doing was actually taking place in the future suggested — and in some instances, believed by the original artists themselves to have been metaphysically projected — by my sources. Here, then, is the sound of a dying millennium stubbornly refusing or constitutionally unable to accept its own ending. Or so I like to imagine it.

These recordings are attributed to the fictional collective "The Vitrines" as, like any project involving found / appropriated materials, I consider this to be a collaboration.

UTOPIAN LAPSES is best experienced at high volume and / or through headphones.

UTOPIAN LAPSES was recorded April through August of 2010.


released September 1, 2010




Joe Milazzo Dallas, Texas

Joe Milazzo is a writer, editor, educator, and designer. He is the author of the novel Crepuscule W/ Nellie (Jaded Ibis Press) and The Habiliments (Apostrophe Books), a volume of poetry. He co-edits the online interdisciplinary arts journal [out of nothing], is a Contributing Editor at Entropy, and is also the proprietor of Imipolex Press. ... more

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