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Warhol's Surfaces

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Album Review

Ever since the release of Lauwarm Instrumentals in 1999, Scanner has kept a very low profile in terms of solo output. Warhol's Surfaces provides a rare occasion of hearing him tackle a topic on his own. And the topic of this hourlong radio work commissioned by the Bayerischer Rundfunk is none other than pop art icon Andy Warhol. The title is derived from a quote by Warhol: "If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There's nothing behind it." Scanner takes him to the letter, using deconstructed snippets of his voice (lifted from a number of interviews he gave in the '70s). In her liner notes, Mathilde Schytz goes as far as writing that "Scanner takes the sound as Warhol took the soup" (Campbell's, of course), i.e., as an element of boredom and domesticity, suitable for endless reproduction. And Scanner doesn't shy away from reproduction. To impose Warhol's tone of voice, phrasing, pacing, and breathing — and ultimately empty all meaning from the words — he reiterates the snippets of conversation endlessly, to a point where they fade into the background, letting the attention of the listener focus on the delicate electronic patterns shaping the music. Scanner dresses up Warhol's voice with keyboards, digital processing, and light percussion, walking a fine line between ambient and musical backdrop, but ultimately succeeding in putting together a warm, intriguing album. Do listeners come out of Warhol's Surfaces knowing more about the man and his art? No, absolutely not, and that's probably just the way Warhol would have wanted it. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Born: 06 May 1964 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Battersea-based ambient composer Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner, took his curious pseudonym from his compositional tool of choice: the cellphone scanner. He quickly earned a reputation as a boundary-pushing experimentalist, wedding scanned vocal samples with sparse electronics and other textural elements that underscored the strain and isolation associated with modern telecommunications technology. Though Rimbaud worked increasingly toward other, more musical compositional...
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Warhol's Surfaces, Scanner
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