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Windmills of Your Mind / Tape Loops of Time

Henning Lundkvist, 2009 / pdf / mp3

Round, like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning, on an ever spinning reel,

It seemed like the tape had been in this loop forever, as if it had orbited since the beginning of time, as if it would continue to rotate around its axis until the end of days, the same slice of tape again and again passing the sound gate, the same sounds pouring out through the speakers, as if they were returning eternally. But the memorized sounds were degrading, were torn by the passing time, the sequence of information slowly deforming from a distinct shape of an event to a kind of blurry, amoebic gestalt, less and less capable to stand up to the sharp, unavoidable light of the rapidly passing history, less and less capable to sustain its own shadow. After completely shutting down his official research facility in order to isolate himself with his more unorthodox studies in the old hangar, after constantly listening to the loop for weeks and weeks, comparing the graphs of his R.E.M. sleep with the oscilloscopic representations of the pulsating sound, Norbert Kubler finally realized that the recorded memories, the content on the ancient strip of audible information, were slowly and almost imperceptibly fading away, were disappearing through the amnesiac passing time. Note: William Basinski – Disintegration Loops.

like a snowball down a mountain, or a carnival balloon, like a carousell that's turning, running rings around the moon. Like a clock whose hands are sweeping, past the minutes of it's face, and the world is like an apple whirling silently in space, like the circles that you find,

Once realizing it, he was almost ashamed that he hadn’t found it out before; right in front of his eyes, spinning on the turntable, was the perfect representation of time he had been looking for for years and years without success. Bombarding him with sound waves, the spinning record slowly pushing the needle further and further toward its centre, this was both an actual playback of history and an exact representation of the time in which he existed, of the brief path of present history in which he wandered; the grooves of the record was a perfect copy of the growth rings of the trees in the forest expanding around him, slowly taking over, re-naturalising the whole human world. Time had, he realized this in full only when he encountered the obscure record, started to go backwards, so the record was now playing back the entire history of mankind in 33.3 rpm, from the point of departure back to the dawn of man, as the vegetation simultaneously was again taking over the land it had once lost to the second nature of man. With the record spinning on the turntable, the needle moving further and further in through the vinyl growth rings in a sort of reversed centrifugality, slowly but inevitably approaching its central time of birth, he could do nothing but to wait for it to reach its final destination – the birth of a new history without mankind.

in the windmills of your mind. Like a tunnel that you follow, to a tunnel of it's own, down a hollow to a cavern where the sun has never shone, like a door that keeps revolving in a half forgotten dream, or the ripples from a pebble someone tosses in a stream. Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of it's face, and the world is like an apple whirling silently in space, like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind. Keys that jingle in your pocket, words that jangle your head, why did summer go so quickly, was it something that you said? Lovers walk along the shore and leave their footprints in the sand, is the sound of distant drumming

The noises were filling up the whole, vast space, making the derelict hangar vibrate by the echoes resonating through its huge industrial hall, accumulating through its walls of corrugated iron, moving upwards and setting the arches in the ceiling in motion as if it was their sole wish to raze the roof and let the outside world fall in. The sounds had started while he was asleep, either entering his dreams or, this was another theory of his, even originating through them (in either case, his dream-graphs showed a remarkable change around 3.33 am), eventually waking him up by the increasing roar. At first, the newly awakened Kubler seemed to have totally lost his ability to concentrate, his ears ringing, his eyes over-sensitive to any light and incapable to focus. But after letting the sounds vibrate through his mind and body for hours, his senses were again under control, although different from how they had ever been before; more selective, more precise, and to both his amazement, excitement and fear, they felt unmistakingly four-dimensional. For the sounds, resonating not only through the hangar, but also through his own body, were echoes from the past, reflections creating a dense atmosphere of voices from people long gone, resonances of forgotten crimes from the backyards of history. They were sounds from bygone, resonating through time, bombarding his present time-space with such an energy that they threatened the actual existense of the present. Note A: Alvin Lucier – Distant Drums, Note B: JG Ballard – The Sound Sweep

just the fingers of your hand. Pictures hanging in a hallway and a fragment of a song,

Norbert Kubler had been obsessed by it since his first encounter with the material – a voice of history, released in the early 21st century from its almost 250 years of captivity. The earliest known recording of the human voice at its time, de-fettered from its paper-sarcophagus by a group of Californian scientists, brought to life after its silent rest – "Au clair de la lune, Pierrot répondit...". It had spoken to him immediately; this bringing back to life of a human voice finally made possible through technical innovation was an almost ironic anecdote in his time, where whole chryonic cities of conserved corpses were still waiting for the technology to make new lives possible for them. But the fragment of the now ancient voice, replying to the present moonlight, gave little hope to the deep-sleeping bodies of yesterday, for around their illuminated coffins the dark shadow of an approaching future was spreading, covering the left-overs of the world in a deep, anechoic silence. Note: de Martinville’s 1860 phonautographic recording of ”Au Clair de la Lune”.

half remembered names and faces, but to whom do they belong? When you knew that it was over, you were suddenly aware, that the autumn leaves were turning to the color of her hair. A circle in a spiral, a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning

The record had got stuck in a locked groove, the forced movement of the needle halted by a scratch on the vinyl surface. Locked in a pocket of time, he was stuck in this chronological standstill, a present with no other history or future than the darkness lurking outside his isolated island of presentness, threatening to thrust the record out of its groove and into the entropical death lying past it. Meanwhile the record, like a mantra, repeated the same phrase over and over again – … umbrennt ihren Saal … umbrennt ihren Saal … umbrennt ihren Saal …

on an ever spinning reel, as the images unwind, like the circles that you find, in the windmills of your mind.