Erstlaub - Marconi’s Shipwreck (Clips)
Broken20’s art director and resident drone sage David Fyans aka Erstlaub brings his latest work to digital
and DVD-R in the form of ‘Marconi’s Shipwreck’. It follows his now traditional modus operandi of a single
longform single take performance with no edits or additional processing, comprised of smaller discrete
pieces created entirely through synthesis. It builds on previous releases such as 2011’s ‘The Last Few
Seconds Before Sleep’ (itself recently confirmed as the soundtrack to Scottish artist Alastair Cook’s
forthcoming film project ‘Little Forks’) by delineating a fuller, at times bass-heavy dynamic, whispered
percussion and ultra-distilled Berliner dub moves.
The piece was inspired by a notion from radio pioneer Marconi that sound waves, once created, can never
die; rather they slowly fade as they drift through time and space. Fyans writes that “From the age of radio
onwards, we have been cast adrift in a sea of technology, waves of information crashing against our hull.
Technology has the ability to connect people; conversely it can lead to intense feelings of isolation, lack of
human contact and disconnection. And so we find ourselves scuttled, clinging to the wreckage we drift, trying
to make sense of the new horizons we inhabit.”
As part of Fyans’ degree show in Time Based Art this summer, the idea was extrapolated into a spiralling
meditation on communication in the digital age, where passion, friendship and interaction are reduced to the
click of a ‘like’ button.
Sonically and visually these concepts are translated into a focussed study of decay and loss. The audio
builds on the touchstones of previous releases (sheeted dark ambience, grain echoes, cinematic dread) by
adding white noise snare hits, creeping fuzz, monolithic bassweight meditation and fragile picked melody.
The video was created live using tail-chasing recursive feedback loops, these ‘films of film’ creating layers of
otherworldly dream machine simulacra that depict busy friction between violently dying information packets;
confused, lost, or as Fyans puts it, “little more than hundreds of people shouting and nobody listening.”
Genuinely beautiful, unquestionably forlorn and at times righteously angry, it’s a massive step forward for
a producer whose philosophy, intellect, spirit and skill now converge into a wordless sermon on charred,
crumbling connections and a tentative, careworn eulogy for those diamonds bereft in the ash. It’s his best
work by some distance; accomplished, heartfelt and pensive.
‘Marconi’s Shipwreck’ will be available as a digital release and as a DVD-r that includes a download code
for digital sound files of the album. As with all Broken20 missives, the artwork is by David Fyans in his
recognisable house style.