Scanner Ė Mass Observation (Expanded) (CD Room 40)

I have to confess that whilst I was aware of Scanner and the work he was doing with scanned phone calls I never really delved very deep into what he was up to at the time. Going by this album thatís probably to my detriment.

Mass Observation (Expanded) takes as its starting point a piece originally released on the Touch subsidiary Ash in a 25 minute version. This version released on Lawrence Englishís Room 40 label expands that to over double its length.

The piece we are presented with was a three man mix with Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) Jim OíRourke and Robert Hampson (Loop, Main). I donít know if it was Robin who provided the source material and the other two who helped mix (many faders requires many hands) or if this is a three person version of Scanner. Whichever is probably irrelevant but what is relevant is how good this is. The ethereal sounding voices floating in and out the glitches and ambient sounds, the snippets of more melodic phrases and shortwave bursts all mixed together to create a fascinating soundscape that revels more and more with each additional listen.

Robin mentions in the press release for this his interest in the relationship between the public and private spheres and back when this was recorded the idea of sharing each and every moment of your day with hundreds and thousands of people was unthinkable, nowadays itís a formality. Itís interesting to see how much the concept of privacy has changed since the original version of this was released.

A very welcome reissue that I canít recommend highly enough. DB