To Look North [2001]

by Chris Dooks

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  • This album download includes short films.

    Review from www.themilkfactory.co.uk

    The work presented on To Look North is the result of Chris Dooks’s six months residency at The Northern Region Film & Television Archive and commissioned by ISIS Arts, an art agency based in Newcastle. During this period, Dooks spent his time between Newcastle, Sunderland and Teesside going through hundreds of hours of films recording a hundred years of culture in the North of England, and his recording studio in Edinburgh. The CD includes twenty five audio tracks built around excerpts of conversations, interviews and commentaries, as well as eleven short films.

    To Look North is a very significant piece of work in Dooks’s career as it establishes a link between his years spent as a filmmaker and his most recent work as a digital musician. Here, he creates an abstract documentary of his native region, capturing fragments of lives and fit them in seemingly arbitrary order. Each track is built around one main sample of conversation, extracted from its context, on which Dooks applies digital alterations and textures to extract the core meaning of the element used, obliterating any perspective. These voices become integrant part of the sonic substance and define the true signification of this record that is, creating a chronicle of the life in the North over the last hundred years. This process allows Dooks to perfectly integrate the intrinsic abstraction of his music with these external components.

    If the complexity of compositions is still present here, the digital terrorism characterising some of Social Electrics has been replaced by a more insidious form of perverse alteration. Minimalist in essence, To Look North appears luxuriant by its constant change of ambiences. Dooks dissects his sonic sources and randomly reassembles elements of crime investigations, lunch time dance lessons, scientific discussions, political activism or meaningless everyday conversations to outline the volatile aspects of life. The eleven short films accompanying these recordings accentuate this.

    Chris Dooks’s aim with this record was to present a more human and happy vision of the North of England than the epitomic image built by the media during the Thatcher years, when unemployment and poverty were affecting the region. To say that he achieves is an understatement.
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released September 15, 2000

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Chris Dooks Edinburgh, UK

Artist and Sound Designer Living in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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