Wakeup 9: “Two’s right to charge ay”

At the glowing heart of the steelmaking process is a mix of super-refined coal and scraps of iron, cooked together in an enormous cauldron at two thousand degrees until a new molten substance, burning and spitting orange fury — whose heat can be felt for hundreds of metres — is poured out into molds.

To me it seemed mediaeval.

And yet, the mixing (or “charging”) of the cauldron is controlled by sophisticated computers hidden behind triple reinforced glass – the operators sitting at consoles on wheeled ergonomic chairs, twiddling knobs on a three metre wide custom built desk like the pilot of a space ship.

In this environment, piped in music helps the 12 hour shift drift by. Commercial radio, classic hits. And when his computer readout tells him the time is right, our operator leans into his microphone and says: “TWO’S RIGHT TO CHARGE AY! THANKYOU VERY MUCH”. And the steel is poured.

Aidan O’Brien smelts this very local soundbite into your Wednesday morning wake up call for What Lies Beneath.

You can download or listen to Aidan’s work here.

And here’s the Jimmy Barnes of experimental sound himself:

2 Responses

  1. Like Lauren, I’ve started waking up two minutes before the alarm goes off each morning. Even when the alarm time varies from day to day. Is this because the variation in alarm sound is too difficult/disturbing for my sleeping body/mind to process, and it would rather be awake when the unfamiliar sound begins?

    Also… since beginning this project, I’ve begun to remember my dreams. This morning I was at a part of Wollongong University I’ve never been to before. It was a “rest area”, a place where you can lay down and just rest for a while. I was lying there and Julia Gillard came in for a rest too. We lay on adjacent massage tables, on our fronts, side by side, shooting the breeze about all the stuff that’s been going on for her lately. She was very likeable, and she seemed to like me too. At the end of our conversation she was roused by her minder, who whisked her away, but not before I gave her a flyer for What Lies Beneath. Shortly after I began receiving spam from her department to my email inbox.

  2. While saying they were born is plain wrong, invented perhaps overstates the role of the human, so let’s say that synthesizers were latent potentia until the day two friends walking down an alley pinged a football between brick walls and were stupefied by the reverberation. Of course it was the dork behind the wall and not the dumb haptic jocks who began ruminating upon the aural phenomenon. It seems you’ve thrown down the semantic gauntlet with: two’s right to charge ey, thank you very much, challenging us to imagine six different contexts in which this would be a meaningful utterance. The scenario of a man sitting in the control room of a steel works operating the blast furnace is fanciful, to say the least, but not entirely unworthy of the fluro men who chisel authentic speech-acts from the marble of muteness. The penny really started to drop around the same time as the bomb and so like most things has to be historized in relation to it. Rock puritanism was not even alive and already it was turning in its grave, grinding its teeth down to the blunt stubs and bleeding gums, not instinctively the first place I’d go to get a blowjob. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that replacing oxygen with plastic in the effort to conserve a body requires that cadavers be sourced from the black market, but as your lawyer let me say: although this adequately expresses your unhinged temporality, body-snatching is only comparable to a hydrogen bomb in the sense that destruction is built into the architecture of all things.

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