Pontone’s Special Guest Mix: K-Punk – The Metaphysics Of Crackle


The title of the mix is a play on Derrida’s critique of the metaphysics of presence – his idea that there is no moment when things fully disclose themselves. Phonography has always undone the metaphysics of presence. What you hear in a recording is not there. It is a spectre. You always hear more and less than was ‘there’ at the time and place of the recording. With vinyl records, the more that you often hear is crackle, the sound of the material surface of the playback medium. When vinyl was ostensibly superseded by digital playback  systems – which seem to be sonically ’invisible’ –  many producers were drawn towards crackle, the material signature of that supposedly obsolete technology. Crackle disrupts presence in multiple ways: first by reminding us of the material processes of recording and playback, second by connoting a broken sense of time, and third by veiling the official ‘signal’ of the record in noise. For crackle is of course a noise in its right, a ground become a figure. Listen to it for a while and you start to hear patterns; you become susceptible to audio hallucinations.

The mix is best listened to loud, and after dark. For the most part, you will have to lean in to pick out the fragile melodies, but some songs – parched gnostic blues, painfully sad Edward Lear-like nonsense ballads and  hobo-hazy recollections of  long-lost sunny afternoons – intermittently loom out of the audio fog.

Mark Fisher (K-Punk)

  • 1 Philip Jeck / Gavin Bryars / Alter Ego - The Sinking Of The Titanic (excerpt) (“The Sinking Of The Titanic” Touch, 2008)
  • 2 William Basinski - Track 9 (“Melancholia” 2062, 2005)
  • 3 Asher - Track 1 (“Miniatures” Sourdine, 2009)
  • 4 The Caretaker - Persistent Repetition Of Phrases (“Persistent Repetition Of Phrases” Install, 2008)
  • 5 Danger Mouse And Sparklehorse Feat. David Lynch - Dark Night Of The Soul (“Dark Night Of The Soul” Capitol 2010)
  • 6 Gesellschaft Zur Emanzipation Des Samples - Schlaf (Nach Einführung Der Psychoanalyse) (“Circulations” Faitiche, 2009)
  • 7 Black To Comm - Joanathan (“Alphabet 1968” Type, 2009)
  • 8 Moon Wiring Club - Creep In Our Ears (“Striped Paint For The Last Post” Gecophonic, 2009)
  • 9 The Advisory Circle - The Old Schoolhouse (“Other Channels” Ghost Box, 2008)
  • 10 BLK w/Bear - 1v3 (“Long Division With Remainders Box” Front & Follow, 2010)
  • 11 Mordant Music - Sirocco Swirl (Deluded Walker Demo) (“SyMptoMs” Mordant Music, 2009)
  • 12 Pole - Taxi (“3” Kiff, 2000)
  • 13 The Book Of Knots - Walker Percy Evans High School (“Traineater” Anti, 2007)
  • 14 Position Normal - Sunny Days (“Goodly Time” Rum, 2000)
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