A. P. Vague

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History

A. P. Vague is a noise musician and visual artist from Wichita, KS whose work is typically composed of extensively repeated sounds and images. Vague's earliest audio experiments date back to 1999 and incorporate hand-manipulated tape devices as a means of generating rhythm and tonality. One such recording utilized John Cage's 4'33" as a source of inspiration and was performed by remaining silent for the duration of the piece. A series of mixing boards were added to the microphone input and adjusted to their loudest levels, creating a natural distortion and dense static sound in an otherwise quiet room ([1]). Later works often include diverse field recordings collected from a variety of locations, objects and audio capture devices.


Politics

Though most of Vague's work is instrumental, the accompanying album art and song titles (along with occasional spoken word recordings) express a political disposition toward the left. What happens when our backyard rockets reach the moon? from 2006's Sleep is a Myth pt 2 ([2]) pairs a recording of a hymn with poetry that reflects an anticapitalist stance and a highly pejorative form of classism. More recently Vague has sharply criticized the U.S. military. 2010's One note song for Malalai Joya ([3]) was accompanied by a series of drawings depicting the floorplan and general architecture of the U.S. treasury along with the repeated image of broken glass. The audio for this piece was created by programming four laptop computers to automatically generate a never ending cycle of tonal variations once the piece is triggered.

Techniques

Nearly all of Vague's work is created using handmade or very inexpensive equipment. The original cassette used to record 2004's Find Peter Chin ([4]) was taken from an evangelical group that distributed sermons on tape and sections of messianic Jewish speaker Jakob Damkani's presentation can be heard between tracks. This tape has also been used several times in the years since, with the artist recording over previous material after it has been transferred to digital. Live performances typically feature a dense web of exposed DIY circuitry and utilize borrowed speakers and amplification. The length of these performances varies greatly and can depend on the overall quality of the sound equipment as some of Vague's hand built devices are capable of overpowering and damaging certain amps and mixing boards (some venues have experienced blown speakers and have asked the artist not to return).


Links

[5] Small collection of visual work by A. P. Vague

[6] Selected audio by A. P. Vague available for purchase