Rutherford Chang is a vinyl collector with a singular focus: The White Album. The New York-based artist has built up an impressive catalogue of almost 700 (!) numbered copies of the 1968 double album. Taken together, his findings have become a kind of beautiful exhibition, but Chang has also recorded audio from 100 pressings, and overlaid them into a single track. And it is incredible.
In the beginning, there is static. Even before the Vickers Viscount plane takes off and signals the return to Russia, there is the distinct sense that you’re listening to something more than a single record. Paul begins to echo as the tune plays on, and by “Dear Prudence” the sync continues to shift into a dreamlike chorus in the round, which then drifts into the ghostly strains of “Glass Onion.”
Soon, it sounds like you’re between stations on a road trip to somewhere otherworldly and you can’t quite get a clear signal no matter how many times you tweak the dial. The final track is barely recognisable through the thick wall of sound, which renders the whole thing almost completely unfamiliar, no matter how many times you’ve heard it. Then, in the end, a few quiet, peaceful “bang bang shoot shoots,” and finally: “…is a warm gun, yeahhhhhhh.”
Eilon Paz of Dust & Grooves did a great interview and photo shoot with Chang earlier this year — definitely head over there for fantastic pics of some of the more well-loved (and mistreated) covers from his epic quest. [Kottke]