by Almut Schilling and Till Bovermann, 2019
CD players, loudspeakers, amplifiers
A monolithic CD player stack revealing the (im-)perfections of consumer digital audio. The CD — arguably the first digital music medium for consumers — a “technological breakthrough in audio history reproduction. Laser and disc come together for one of the purest sound ever … a work of magic.” now becomes obsolete.
CD-R(ot) tells about the promise of this “ultimate sound experience by an unbreakable technology”, embodied by CD players and recorders of various brands, quality, and technological generations.
Seven playback machines (8 times 2 channels) are fed with referential material, their analogue output signal identically and simultaneously amplified and emitted. Minimal differences of reproduction emerge, amplifying onto the false promise of “pure perfection” of the digital, the myth that 01010010111 are infinite integrity. Continuous playback causes degradation, amplified by controlled micro-manipulation of the CD material, triggering the very soul of digital reproduction: the error correction.
The result: A pure sound? A mess? A distinct aesthetic of obsolete laser-based technology? Close in onto the perception of this “digital reality” and judge for yourself.
You can find archived sounds of the piece (1 min per hour) at the Rotting Sounds Archive.