the only escape is a dream

by Jeff Gburek



Originally released as limited edition CDR (100 copies) in 2003 and constructed from field recordings made in New Mexico at various abandoned psychiatric hospitals and asylums, they portray in collage form, the spaces of ruin and recuperation left to blanch in the sun and burn with the fires of hoodlums and teenagers fleeing from the alienation of their own homes.The research trips included photography and the absorptive butoh dance process of Ephia, wherein she gathered her impressions from moving in and across these spaces. Later, these photos and recordings and physical impressions would be re-presented in live structured improvisational performances by Djalma Primordial Science. More info: Three sites where the field recordings were made that I can recall now were in Los Lunas, Albuquerque and Fort Stanton, the latter being haunted by the fact it had once been an internment camp for Japanese citizens during World War 2 and later on a women's "correctional facility".

I recorded on location the room resonances: rooms and halls wherein one heard, occasionally, electronic beeps and sine waves that emanated from old alarm systems that, we presume, were wired to some back-up battery power systems that had not been dismantled. This fact alone testifies to the hasty abandonment of these hospitals. One found scattered papers, photographs, scraps of medical equipment, much of which had been destroyed by vandalism after the institutions had ceased to function. Since there were huge spaces filled with metal and plastic detritus and broken glass, merely walking across these heaps of junk triggered instantaneous soundscapes. Occasionally I would interact with objects on the sites, improvising by dragging objects slowly over surfaces, testing door handles, opening metal filing cabinets, etc. The resulting sound collages were mixed with electronic sounds and noises generated by the guitar, so the blend of on-site sound and studio sound is at most times quite seamless. Listening to these recordings after 10 years, I myself have difficulty distinguishing between these levels without referring to my field notes. On track 3 one can hear a synthesized computer voice which derived from an audio cassette I took away as souvenir of one visit to Los Lunas. It turned out to be a cassette used to train visually impaired people in the use of computers, a screen-reader application that bears the acronym JAWS (Job Access With Speech). None of the recordings were digitally treated or post-processed and all the sounds were sequenced live, played on portable cd and mini-disc players, analog electronics and prepared guitar composed by my whim, and recorded in the studio (my home), direct to disc; I had no time for changes since I rented the CD recorder by the hour from an Albuquerque shop. And this live process, captured here, was my modus operandi in all live performance of that time.

Physical copies of this cdr are still available through Erstwhile distribution service.

Joe Milazzo wrote a very sprawling and fascinatingly chaotic essay about this release (reflecting, at times, the metaphysics of cultural detritus that my own work of this period expresses) in the now retired web-journal Bagatellen. Although I was somewhat puzzled by his writing at that time, looking altruistically for some kind of affirmation of my notorius contributions to human culture, I've since grown fonder of his "deflective" style and have found in his recent writings a mind grappling with the orders and disorders of our times, evolving from this essay called "No Says The Echo" (a title ripped from Appollinaire). So, if you have time:

my personal website, as ever:


released February 2, 2013



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Jeff Gburek Projects Poland

guitarist, composer, improvisor, sound artist, prepared guitar, unprepared guitars, stones, found objects, phonography, electronics, digital manipulation.studied Javanese and Balinese gamelan music, developed as a percussionist studied the theories of Partch and Xenakis while working in the dance/theater/butoh project Djalma Primordial Science.STEIM residency and Darmstadt summer. ... more

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