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    Sean Daily is an English major from New Jersey now living in Las Vegas, the Other City of Lights. "I consider 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' to be comfort reading, I like the al pastor tacos at Tacos Mexico and I count among my literary influences the Chainsaw from 'Doom'. 'RRRRRR! You don't like that, do you, Mr. Undead Marine! RRRRRR!'"

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7-22-08 William S. Burroughs – Recalling All Active Agents

Posted by Sean on July 22, 2008

Well, you know what I always say: “If you’re going to bury a body, make sure you wrap it in those plastic tarps first… damn methane-sniffing dogs…”

WAIT! Wrong saying! What I meant to say was: “If you’re gonna do freaky, you might as well go all the way.” And few men did going all the way, and then some, quite like William S. Burroughs.

I heard this one on Tony Coulter’s show today on WFMU… sort of. This is Recalling All Active Agents and, according to these guys here (if I’m reading this right), this is off Burroughs’ Break Through in Grey Room. Recalling All Active Agents is basically an audio version of Burroughs’ cut-up technique. It’s a two-track recording, engineered by Brion Gysin in BBC Studios in 1960, that takes a sampled phrase, then cuts it up, speeds it up, slows it down and just generally does things that your mama told you never to do to an audio sample or the nice policeman would throw you in jail.

Burrough’s cut-up technique, if I remember correctly, sought to turn coherent information into incoherent information, so that your logical mind would be supressed in favor of the more intuitive parts. Hints and portents were supposed to come through with this technique; I’ve even heard that people using it can get glimpses of the future.

To which I say: Whatever. I’ve never tried it (though I may have to now). But to my ears, Recalling All Active Agents sounds exciting. The “Agents” bit suggests a spy or action movie to me, but this is what a spy movie should sound like. It’s like an old radio broadcast: your imagination takes over and paints a picture far better than what Hollywood could churn out (or at least  better than what it’s currently churning out…).

Like I said, I sort of heard your neat thing today on Tony Coulter’s show. (What I did hear on Tony Coulter’s show, along with a treasure trove of other Burrough’s recordings, is available at Ubuweb here)

Your neat thing today Recalling All Active Agents after it’s been, ahem, processed through the AV digestive tract of KheMyKhal and become all gross and noisy and beautiful. There’s the obligatory Bush-morphing-into-a-devil sequence, of course (we artistic types just can’t stop with the Bush-morphing-into-a-devil bits), but there’s all sorts of other strange and horrible and wonderful things as well. Check it out.

Methinks you’re gonna be seeing more of KheMyKhal’s oeuvre in the future.

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One Response to “7-22-08 William S. Burroughs – Recalling All Active Agents”

  1. […] 7-22-08 William S. Burroughs – Recalling All Active Agents […]

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