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Online creation

The last LP - Michael Snow

as part of Fourth Worlds

From 01 June to 30 November 2018

Michael Snow’s The last LP is part of the “Fourth Worlds” project proposed by Stefanie Kiwi Menrath for the Jeu de Paume virtual space.

Recording the life-ways of small, isolated societies was the primary activity of cultural anthropology in its 19th and early 20th century beginnings. Through extensive fieldwork, cultural anthropologists explored remote and « previously unknown » cultures, often with the intent of documenting and preserving cultures that were believed to be on the verge of extinction.
Mocking the tradition of salvage ethnology, The Last LP by Michael Snow assembles « rare music derived from threatened, obsolete, or non-extinct cultures from around the world ». Snow’s documentary recordings of the dying gasps of ethnic musical cultures comes with a gatefold jacket of elaborate pseudo-scholarly supplementary notes, giving the joke away only in a final text column printed backwards.

The coming-of-age ritual from Niger “SI NOPOP DA” ostensibly translates into “By what signs will I come to understand?”, but also bares an “amazing resemblance […] to a recent (1986) American popular song”: a pastiche composition of Snow’s voice singing Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know“ in sixteen layers:

Michael Snow

Michael Snow (b. 1928, Toronto) is an experimental filmmaker and has been active as a visual artist and as a musician since 1948. His works have been exhibited at, and are in the collections of numerous museums (Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Tate (London), The National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa) amongst many others).

Michael Snow began playing piano professionally in jazz bands in the late 1940s and has been playing in free improvisation ensembles since the 1960s. Snow has also composed music for recorded media and for live performance.