Christian Marclay

Christian Marclay


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Christian Marclay was the first non-rap DJ to make an art form out of the turntable, treating the instrument as a means to rip songs apart, not bridge them together. A long-time associate of Downtown improv figures John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, and Butch Morris as well as the Kronos Quartet, Marclay was inspired artistically by Joseph Beuys and musically by John Cage and the Fluxus group after a period studying at the Massachusetts College of Art. He noted the experimental applications made possible by using the turntable in ways hardly recommended by owners manuals and began performing as early as 1979. Marclay's methods included standard scratching, playback on damaged turntables, the actual destruction (and reassembly) of vinyl to record the results, and creating musical juxtapositions by mixing together a variety of radically different artists. His 1985 installation Footsteps included a gallery floor lined with thousands of records for people to walk over (the results were packaged and sold). His 1988 LP More Encores featured tributes to a variety of musical figures, including "John Cage" (recorded by gluing together pieces of several records to create one) and "Louis Armstrong" (using a hand-cranked gramophone to alter the pitch). Though he recorded much more sparingly in the 1990s, Marclay continued to appear on Zorn projects, including several editions of his Filmworks series. The Atavistic label has released the retrospective Records 1981-1989. Moving Parts was released in mid-2000.