“Masochism is cruel because, in subverting the model, it imposes it with exaggerated severity...”—Amy Ireland
Florian Hecker's latest CD release continues his work with computational techniques for analysis and resynthesis. In Inspection II we hear the progressive reconstruction of original source material using algorithms based upon human hearing and designed to capture timbral characteristics of sound.
As the source is iteratively extracted from featureless noise, a complex ongoing dialogue commences between formal model and empirical experience of sound. Like Charon, the boatman who ferries souls of the dead across the Styx, Inspection II crosses perpetually from one bank to the other: from the formal anticipations of analysis to the unexpected artefacts of synthesis.
In Robin Mackay's libretto, recited by a synthetic voice, this inspective dialogue is transferred to the introspective psychoanalytic situation, where the continual re-narration of the self creates further disturbances and transformations—to attain a definitive image of oneself would be to face one's own death.
As discussed in Amy Ireland's essay “Beside a Cold Statue” commissioned for the CD sleevenotes, this process, whose symptomatology is recognizably that of masochism, sees the coldness of the formal model subverted as Hecker's continual resynthesis delivers up a series of harsh, tantalizing, and bewildering textures and timbres: “the resynthesized sound is more intractable, more disorienting, and more empirically obscene—a contingency that always disrupts the plan […] synthetic progency, nourished on nothing but ice and noise.”