One American Second by Norman Fairbanks

December 4th, 2007

One American Second (The Great American Radio Play) is a sort of mixtape about American culture. It consists of three episodes of about 50 minutes, of carefully arranged snippets of sound, most of it presumably all of it is from the radio. I think it represents American culture well in the sense that it touches the taboos, fears as well as the pride and values I think many Americans have about their nation. I like the playfulness of this work by Fairbanks - he has a way of playing with sounds and what they express in a way that I haven’t seen many other do. (Perhaps I’ve looked in the wrong places)
I also like how he’s able apply a different mood from what was inended in the original recordings, to each clip. This is done by changing the context by choosing the order he puts the clips in, and also by mood-creating music.
Much of the work consists of talk, and there’s also alot of music. I imagine some of it (The electro music) was produced by himself, but most of it is probably sampled radio material, and those parts, I think, is a good representation for the USA in different ways.
I imagine some proud Americans would be genuinely insulted by hearing this work. But for us other people, this is a recommended piece of art!

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