The work consists of 12 record turntables, 12 amplifiers and speakers and a collection of 133 vinyl albums.
The inspiration for the format of the project was the work 33 1/3 by John Cage which he first performed in 1969. For 33 1/3 Cage requested that a dozen or more turntables should be set out in a gallery with 200 or more vinyl records. Visitors to the gallery were asked to act as dj's and play several albums simultaneously to create a real-time improvised musical mix. Cage conceived the works score as being performed by audience participation.
The catalyst for reworking Cage's project arose from finding out that almost every album in the record collection had been damaged by damp, was scratched and basically unplayable. As each album was played the needle on the turntable would stick at certain scratches and drop into a repetitive loop.
The work explores and exploits the points where the needle sticks, and where the repetitions begin. Picking up from Cage's work, several albums from the collection are played simultaneously across a dozen or more turntables. A simple rule guides the unfolding of the work and specifies that the volume of a record is kept down until the needle becomes stuck. At the point of sticking the volume is turned up and it becomes part of a real-time scratched mix.
Several performances of the work have taken place and recordings of these exist as vinyl records and digital streams. To listen visit: Scratch Record Collective.