368 Records Played for the First and Last Time (With Teeth Sharp As Old Friends)

In 2009, I pressed 500 LP records titled “With Teeth Sharp As Old Friends” for my band Maribelle—which was almost entirely recorded and performed by myself. This was immediately following completion of my B.F.A. at UIC, and during a time when I wanted to focus more on music and touring before attempting to pursue an M.F.A. Almost three years later, I had 368 records of the original 500 records left.

On December 8th at 6PM, I stood in a plexiglas enclosure with a pedestal for the remaining records inside, stacked vertically on my record player, and cut them with a chainsaw. Contact microphones were connected to the records to amplify the sound through my stereo. With the teeth of the chainsaw spinning (instead of the records), I will released the sonic capabilities stored physically in each LP.

Much to my surprise, the process of cutting the records lasted nearly 25 minutes (23 minutes longer than expected, but approximately the length of the record itself). The room filled with noxious fumes almost immediately, and became increasingly warm. Half-way through the stack I was offered a mask for the fumes.

With less than 10 records left, the chainsaw ran out of gas. I invited the audience to help me break the remaining records with our hands, in the process ripping the needle off the record player, which then began spinning. By the end, I was dripping with sweat and very dizzy. Few spectators remained in the room for the duration. The aftermath stood as an installation but was ultimately disposed of, aside from a few shards of vinyl that audience members took with them.

Chainsaw, 368 Records, Plexiglas, performance, installation
Dec. 8th 2012

More Projects

Ⓒ E. Aaron Ross 2024