The Speaking Clock

by Draisine

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I was feelin’ kinda lonesome and blue
I needed somebody to talk to
So I called up the operator of time
Just to hear a voice of some kind
“When you hear the beep it will be three o’clock”
She said that for over an hour
And I hung up

Bob Dylan, Talking World War III Blues

I've been loving the speaking clock and its use in music for a very long time. Vangelis' Pulstar and, more recently, Chris Smith's The Problem With Trouble are pieces that have haunted me, charmed me, hypnotized me. I wanted to give a nod to that, and make the final call to a device i've used, playing in Draisine, for more than a year : the US Naval Observatory Master Clock. I was also an easy way to play with the musicality of repetition (the way the voice will falsely appear to be changing in relation to the music) and the mantra-like power of speaking the same phrase over and over again.

I improvised a long piece in a moment of idleness, in a concrete room with no windows. I thought it was worthless. Then I listened to it again and liked it. I stretched it to fit 60mn, and added a recording of the USNOMC. I imagined it to be the sound of a minute, stretched out to an hour, as if one could delve into time and stretch it away at will to explore it like a space, up until the point when it will tear apart.

I make music like a deaf. I don't know what I'm doing, and I can't hear it. If it sounded like silence, then I'd be happy. I crave silence, don't you ?


released June 17, 2015



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Draisine Mons En Barœul, France

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