The Science of Oblivion is a strange collage of sound effects, dialogue snippets, out-of-context movie soundtracks and songs cut into little pieces with a good dosage of mysterious drones and frying electronics bordering on noise. Released as a 3” CD-R on Kimberly Dawn, Sound Pressings is an experimental project by Danford Mitchell, who creates seemingly endless, mapless territories.
The first few minutes of The Science of Oblivion can be described as “let’s see how much we can slow down the sound so it can be still audible”. Voices and sounds are reduced to the dying moans of unknown ancient creatures. This is hilariously contrasted with the looped and sped up short music piece which keeps rewinding back and forth and what appears to be a mouse squeaking. For some reason I keep thinking that the almost infrasonic moan is the slowed down sound of that mouse.
After a brief interlude, consisting of a few movie samples and a girl singing in Vietnamese, maybe? another dark and murky part comes on, which is like a strange dialog between a low-end, noisy electric guitar which moans and feedbacks, nondescript field recordings (which sound like a mix of leaves rustling and something frying, most likely the circuits of Danford’s synthesizer) and an exotic, possibly African instrument. The best thing about this EP is the fact that you can’t really tell which parts were taken from the outside sources and which were added by Mitchell himself. The slow guitar clatter gradually rises to a wall of noise which half-successfully drowns all the speech samples, which just keep blaring from the speakers, making an unity with the noise. The wall finally comes down to give way to a final short piece played on acoustic guitar with no particular melody. This seeming lack of melody and the rawness of recording gives a strangely unsettling effect – like a theme from a horror movie covered by a deranged folk singer.
Danford Mitchell made an interesting and engaging blend of found sounds and his own sounds. Demands a focused listening, sure, but the reward for the effort is great. Stimulating for the mind.