Mark LaLiberte CD review [ThinkBox]

Music Reviews
Mark LaLiberte CD review [ThinkBox]
Jun 17, 2004, 04:47


Two caveats: It's not really music, and it's not really intended to be listened to as such; and, it came out three years ago. So why am I reviewing it here? Because it's brilliant, and because it just came to my attention. Mark LaLiberte is a Canadian artist who first came to public prominence by being banned; as a teenager, an early Xerox sine of his was busted for “obscenity” by thick, overzealous Canadian cops in a situation eerily reminiscent of the Mike Diana abortion of justice here in the US. Unlike Diana, LaLiberte successfully vindicated himself in court, and went on to start producing some of the edgiest, most unsettling audio-visual and installation art to be found anywhere. Pillow Scenes consists of twenty-some sound fragments that had been used in an installation of the same name in around 1997. In the gallery, visitors would don headphones or listen to barely-murmuring hidden speakers playing these sounds—fragments of dialogue, noir-ish instrumental passages, TV news snippets, whatever—while viewing LaLiberte's disturbing photographs of “sleeping” people; the images worked with the sound to create allusive stories rich in sex, violence, alienation, and hallucination. The results were beautiful, memorable, and devastating.

Somewhat surprisingly, the sounds work well on their own, evoking the same claustrophobic, can't-wake-up feeling even without the visual imagery. Drop this on while lying in a darkened room, readying yourself for sleep, and scar yourself for life. Magnificent. [Thinkbox]

-David B. Livingstone

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