Hecker - Synopsis Seriation [Editions Mego - 2021]
German sound artist and multi-faceted linguist, Florian Hecker, returns to Editions Mego with the 2xCD Synopsis Seriation. Machine music at its most advanced, Synopsis Seriation sees programs and other operators extracting auditory features from a signal. Left to their own devices, these bits of code create their own album, feeding on input and producing varied sounds, tones, and textures. Using four, multichannel pieces Hecker produced in 2015 as source (along with a program designed by Vincent Lostanlen), Synopsis Seriation showcases the scientific aspect of Hecker's art and shows that the two do not have to be exclusive.
Covering 141+ minutes over two discs, Synopsis Seriation isn't for the casual listener. More of an experiment than an album, Hecker's latest is the literal version of Numan's "When the Machines Rock." Giving programs and algorithms source (his own material, too) and allowing them to create at will, Synopsis Seriation is an interesting approach to machine thinking and pushes the boundaries of art and science, artist and creator. Letting the machines do all the heavy lifting, Hecker removes himself from the equation after the parameters have been set. Equal part creator and observer, Hecker is in a unique position as both artist and listener. Some may argue that the basis for this is science, so that it cannot be art, but that is extremely subjective, and art is objective. Blasting through the scientific ceiling into a world full of creation and limitless possibilities, Synopsis Seriation gives the listener a purely synthetic world full of lawmakers, creators, astronauts, and dreamers. While on the surface it may seem like disconnected, random noises and blank spaces, this album truly echoes our world and universe.
Synopsis Seriation may not be a highly listenable album, it does paint a very vivid sonic picture of life, art, and evolution. Often like an audio version of Conway's "Game of Life," Florian Hecker's latest is a strong statement for not only artificial intelligence, but also art itself. We tend to see science and art as opposite sides of the coin but overlook the fact that they're different aspects of the same piecePaul Casey