Experimental artist David Bernabo recently released the latest installation of his That’s What They Told Me series (Ongoing Box), which features sound collages built around recordings from the Library of Congress.
After digitally crate-digging his way through Georgia and Montana, Bernabo finds himself in New Jersey, land of casinos and beaches, birthplace of the great Mike Trout, a state that gets the little brother treatment from New York and Pennsylvania. Bernabo layers audio clips–taken from decades-old interviews with Jersey residents–to create the naturalistic, slightly hallucinatory impression of bearing witness to several conversations simultaneously. We’re taken on a tour of towns and parks, educated about several strangers’ family histories, and exposed to some excellent regional dialects (“Ewver in thaht corner,” “Naow, if yew look aht these stewns”). Staticky synth blips and chugging guitar accents give the impression of cars driving by with their windows open, radio sounds emanating lazily from within. The overall effect is soothing, like a long stroll through a small borough peppered with surf shops, custard stands, and Springsteen iconography.
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