After an absolute silence of five years, Adi Newton (founder of Clock DVA) has returned with his seemingly dormant project, TAGC. With a new album "Iso-Erotic Calibrations on Musica Maxima Magnetica, through Audioglobe, this is "real scientific experimental music" to quote the words of MMM's Luciano Dari.
During this period Newton has also established a vehicle for the rereease of the old TAGC catalogue, Anterior Research Recordings (ARR), has relocated to Italy and gotten married! I wondered if this move was a response to the climate for true experimental music, (and I don't mean Techno), in the United Kingdom. It is impossible to ignore the Clock DVA/ TAGC influence when discussing alternative electronic music, but are they really appreciated as they should be? An example is the fact that Clock DVA has been touring extensively throughout Europe, while in the UK we've had no more than one concert in London, and a video presentation in Northampton in the last four years. Perhaps TAGC will show its incomparable face soon? Newton answers diplomatically:
"TAGC are at present researching the possibilities of live presentations in Europe and America. At the moment I cannot confirm anything. TAGC are concerned more with the conceptual possibilities presented by locations than in the rigamarole of live tours, etc. That is why the live TAGC performances have been limited to special events, these have included galleries, installations, cinemas, symposiums, caves and museums etc. If the possibility to do something in the UK arises we would consider it as we would consider any other.
"My decision to move to Italy came from a desire to change. If we remain in one place our experiences are in some senses limited, also environments can either enhance or destroy. Whatever the case, I'm a citizen of The world and I have a desire to see and experience that world in which we live".
TAGC's "Iso-Erotic Calibrations seems to the writer, to be heading in a slightly less discernable direction than their previous releases. I say this for a couple of reasons. The music is, according to the Audioglobe press release, TAGC's most "accessible" release to date. I agree, even to the extent that some of the tracks could, given a little exposure, become accepted into the ambient musical styles that are so popular as I write. The music varies from track to track, not appearing as focused as on, tor example, "Teste Tones". This is no bad thing, and does seem to reflect Newton's new life and surroundings. "Iso-Erotic Calibrations" is less harsh; it is fluid experimentation shifting on its axis. The diversity of the release is also shown by the sleeve notes and the topics covered.
As always these are extensive and esoteric respectively, but rather than burying the reader under paragraphs of jargon, much is left for us to decipher - the notes are only indicators and pointers, no longer essays. We must make an effort as well. And that's just how it should be.
"I was unaware that 'Iso-Erotic Calibrations' was accessible it was conceived as I had planned. No intentions were utilized to make it accessible. If it is, then that's how it is. The point of TAGC and Clock DVA is to conceive and produce an ideogram, whether you can find a recognizable form or not is not the point The message is multiplex and the means to render that idea can take whatever form is necessary. My music is about ideas - these ideas come before the music and accordingly the sound is constructed to enhance these concepts.
"A central theme exists which is less discernable and more submerged, but like psychology, is present. Eroticism, fetishism etc. are not always concerned with what society regards as stimulus. Therefore it is not bound by rational consciousness. Maybe from this point you can begin to calibrate in a more lateral way".
Adi Newton has, under the Anterior/TAGC/Clock DVA distinctions, contributed to several publications and participated in virtual reality seminars around the world for several years now. TAGC's most recent performances were held at the Electro-Acoustic Music Academy in Stockholm on August 23rd 1990, and at the ARS Electronica Symposium on VR held in Linz, Austria on September 8th 1990.
Close contacts have been established with professionals in various disciplines as Newton seeks to enhance his, and our, understandings, and just as importantly, to widen our perceptions and open our minds. Now TAGC are collaborating with R.E.S.T., Space Time Tanks and the Relaxation Center in Chicago. The results will be released as "Meontological Research Recordings 4".
"TAGC's next release will be the meontological recording 3 which is a culmination of research and empirical tests concerning the use and uses of audiopsychophonology, which is a controversial science concerned with the application and therapeutical use of sound and frequency in medical conditions. In order to put this project together it has been necessary to be in touch with doctors and experts in this field, without whose help it would have been impossible. This project has been conducted and developed over six Years. TAGC by its very nature, can operate within any given area it may deem to be of importance. TAGC is a continual R&D project which was with individuals and collectives.
"The R.E.S.T., space time tanks and relaxation center in Chicago is a collective organization working primarily with floatation tanks and mind-machines and other relative areas of expanded consciousness. They were Interested in TAGC's work and we had the chance to experience these techniques first hand. It was through this that we commenced on the idea of developing other possibilities to enhance consciousness through the use of psychophysical possibilities. The research and development of such a project is not determinable due to the nature of the experimentation, TAGC is not concerned with what is fashionable or "the latest thing. Our works are not concerned with time but with the results or findings".
But how valuable, how important are these findings? Is it just music? TAGC appears and presents itself as being so much more than that, as having so much more to offer. This contact with experts and professionals in these areas of research must lead to TAGC's output gaining an importance that goes beyond it being a pleasurable (or unpleasant) listening experience.
"TAGC's contributions are through the medium in which it is realized. A recording or visual document like 'Burning Water' or 'Teste Tones' is of a therapeutic and generic value. We have in our possession testaments from various individuals regarding the effects or insights which they have gained, so these are tangible effects. Often they coincide with our intentions, often they uncover new areas which we were not fully aware of, but wither way this is a measurable result. I consider TAGC as a very young organization, in time I feel much more can be accomplished and realized, in time techniques developed that can be utilized by society in a beneficial and enhancing way".
An example can be seen in TAGC's use of the Calrec Ambisonic recording method an the "Digitaria" album from 1987. The method recreates "the original ambience of the environment you record in, a complete 360 degree psycho-acoustic picture". It requires four speakers to work properly unfortunately so perhaps its impetus has been lost over the years?
"Ambisonics is still very much an applied Technology in numerous recording areas. I believe the CD label 'Incus' exclusively uses this method to record all their output. We checked into the possibilities a number of years ago to use ambisonics in a live performance situation, and this possibility is still of interest as well as developing further techniques for recorded media. There are a lot of possibilities within this technique but economics often limit the use of such techniques, which is an unfortunate state, but one which prevails in all areas of art.
As Newton mentions earlier, the next TAGC release will be the third meontological recording, exploring the central ideas expressed in the "Goutier Noire"; Newton attempts to explain these themes to me as, at times, I find it difficult to follow and understand TAGC motivations. TAGC are fascinated by esoteric subjects and this is of course why the TAGC sleeve notes and explanations are problematic: That's also their beauty.
"Actually it is 'Culture Noire' and it is the central idea which inspired the Meontological Research Recordings series. We developed Meontology from ideas expressed and implied in Michael Batrieux writings. Ontology being the study of being, Meontology being the study of non-being. What is implied by non-being is what could be more conventionally described as para-normal, or what is now classified as PSI, parapsychology.
"Meontology however is more concerned with the arcane and cosmogenic aspects, a form of esoteric engineering, a study of epiphenomenon. The above description however is really quite inadequate as there are so many aspects to it. It really deserves an entire volume, and even then we wouldn't be able to encompass it, as its very nature is that which is outside of rational consciousness, beyond the thraldom of mortality.
'Brainwashing is happening to all of us all of the time. Knowledge of brain
function is our only protection against it. The solutions to our predicament
are neurological. We must assume responsibility for our nervous systems. Our
robothood can remain s(a tie if we endlessly repeat the imprints of infancy to
adolescence, or it can be drastically altered by brainwashers without our
consent, or we can take control of our nervous systems. If we don't assume this
personal responsibility, somebody else will, if we do take over the control
board, we can each be any person we want to be.
["Neurological Engineering" Sleevenotes.]
The above track from "Iso-Erotic Calibrations" appears to be an extension of topics covered on "Meontological Research Recordings 2 - Teste Tones". Conversely, although the former could be said to be an altogether lighter, more open release than its relatives, this track does concentrate on the darker aspects of these practices. On "Teste Tones" TAGC explored the ver positive applications of N.E.T.
"There is a very distinct difference in N.E.T., which is Neural Electric Therapy. This technique is primarily used for the reduction in addiction to dogs such as Heroin. N.E.T.is non-addictive and only enhances the process of andrenochrome release.
"Neurological Engineering comes in many forms from psychological re-conditioning applied by various techniques to psychosurgery -the direct application of surgery to the brain in order to alter it. Other methods are at work in society, in everyday life. Long has it been known by commercial agencies the power of the media to generate hidden persuasion. TAGC's concern in this particular track was with the comment by Timothy Leary regarding the bio-computer programs that most of us are in same ways locked into. Through the use of mind-expansion techniques it is possible to rewrite these programs that lead us in control behavior loops. Importantly it is to be aware of These conditioning and brainwashing methods, with this knowledge we can begin the process of deconditioning, because the farce that is at work is extremely strong and manipulative in its control of the human psyche".
So how can we control our nervous systems to avoid this threat? Is the simple fact that some of us may be aware of these practices enough for those individuals? Awareness is the key fundamental faculty at the heart of TAGC. Knowledge is Power.
"Firstly the feeling, the intuitive precognitive notion that leads to the awareness, the awareness of the generic states of control. With knowledge an individual can develop techniques to combat the conditioning that prevails. Desire + Knowledge and Understanding = Results. TAGC feel it is of utmost importance to keep an open mind, anything closed will automatically limit possibilities, and to limit is to restrict the development of consciousness. Consciousness by its nature is limitless".
Newton has set up his own label, Anterior Research Recordings, the audio and visual outlet for projects undertaken by the Anterior Research Station. As well as the old TAGC releases, Newton has other projects and collaborations in progress, not to mention the Clock DVA double CD "Collective 1+2" compiling all single tracks from 'The Hacker' to 'Voice Recognition Test', with a few limited tracks to boot. Also in preparation is another Clock DVA compilation for release in South America only, entitled "Horology".
"New Clock DVA releases will be "Digital Soundtracks II" with a new studio-album released in 1995. New TAGC releases are the "Meontological Research Recordings 3 and 4" CDs, the "Audiopsychophonological Programs" CD, the "Burning Water CD/Video, the "Delivery" CD, and the "Psychophysicist" project CD, which is in my estimation a unique and original project concerned with the direct possibilities of psychophysics. don't really want to give too much away at present regarding the above as this document must be experienced before it is analyzed.
"Regarding Clock DVA again: I have commenced tentative works on the new projects and will be collaborating with Brian Williams/ Lustmord who is now resident in Los Angeles, working as sound designer for Graeme Revell. All ARR releases have been licensed to Side Effects for US release. I don't want to say anything more about the Clock DVA project at present. except that it will push the envelope a lot further than all my previous works -at least, that is my intention.
"ARR and TAGC are in the process of preparing a number of printed documents - these will not be released until much later as there are a number of other projects at hand that will go before. These publications will take the form of books that will cover areas as diverse as the audio releases have touched upon, and further expand the ideas that are expressed and implied in all the recordings I've been involved in".