HOOPS “Masterpieces” (New Visions in Electronic Music)

There’s an old wooden rocking chair on the bare wooden floor, making odd wooden noises as the wooden runners move back and forth. There’s no one in the long sitting room, and most of the other (read, comfortable) furniture has been removed, save for a side table here, a bookcase there. It’s all covered in dust, and the two portraits on each side wall that face each other across the room are covered in cobwebs. The chair moves, the dust settles, and memories fade. There’s an old phonograph in the corner, its needle wheezing across an old record, broadcasting the ghost of a piano that once inhabited this room. The markings where the instrument indented the floor are still visible, but it was removed long ago. Ghosts beyond the piano inhabit this room, remnants of lives and moments. Everything feels old, but of a specific, particular time. A nostalgia for old photographs and daily formality permeates the walls, nostalgia not of a better time but of one more uncertain, where the future seemed murky and the past too recent to endure with any sort of encouragement. It’s nostalgia for the edge of complexity, when the simplicity of survival became ambition. The faces in the portraits gaze at one another across the room, frozen in eternal gaping unease. The rocking chair continues its pendulous march, perpetually moving through time, offering no repose, just anxiety. Ages pass. The sun never sets, its beams simply dance over dust motes through the lone window at the near end of the room. The phonograph, finally emitting string drones, slows and stops, its motor gasping its last, its frayed belt finally crumbling. Masterpieces, a finely handcrafted, obscure artifact, captures in its magnetic tape the slow crumble to ruin of human passing.

--Ryan Masteller