Vinyl Rally, record’s racing

Lucas Abela

A common issue in presenting experimental music and sound art is finding an effective way to share with the audience the fun of exploring unconventional uses of musical objects. Reinventing, hacking and sometimes destroying instruments, playback devices and other media can provide a good deal of fun, but perhaps due to the gritty, harsh and uncontrolled output these activities tend to generate, their playfulness can be underestimated. In his latest work Vinyl Rally) Lucas Abela pitches together two apparently opposed situations. A physical arcade game where visitors drive remote controlled cars around a large scale racing track is combined with techniques of noise making derived from experimental turntablism. Enlarging an idea already proposed in works such as Yuri Suzuki’s Sound Chaser or Staalplaat Soundsystem’s Yokomono, Abela uses modified model cars to play vinyl records. The cars are equipped with a radio transmitter connected to a stylus that is dragged over the record’s grooves. The racing track is an impressive construction made out of thousands of warped LPs, arranged to form a half pipe running around the whole room. Visitors cue up in front of an arcade game interface where, in addition to driving the vehicles, they can add guitar pedal effects to the signal picked up by the cars. Contrasting with the visual imagery, the sonic result is a prolonged and mostly unvaried noise oblivious of any music present on the LPs. Hijacking a universal desire to play, Abela channels unrealized childhood fantasies luring visitors into his noisy and otherwise uncompromising musical practice.

Matteo Marangoni