Zoo Dan Lander

Highly entertaining and witty, it illustrates Lander’s absurd sense of humor. AllMusic, USA

A very smart CD. Aegri Somnia Vana, USA


  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits


  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

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Dan Lander


Guided Tour

Dan Lander is mischievous with his tools, you can hear him grin at several points throughout these recordings. His approach has a sense of play and naturalness that one rarely hears. These are works sans woosh, bare, sometimes painful and always passionate, as in works with intelligence, precision and guts. Lander has had several lives — photojournalist, truck driver, video maker, gorillagramme, drummer, performance artist, amongst others — all of which instill his audio work with a maturity of content, an economy of form, an immediacy of bareness.

This release follows Lander chronologically, begining with a treatment of the mass, or lack thereof, of radio in the work Talking to a Loudspeaker. The calling of ‘Mister Speaker,’ the variations on broadcast quality and the snicker at our phobia with dead air, are classic moments in the freshly inaugurated pantheon of radio art classics. With a keen ear for the incision, Lander takes your radio, sets it on its back and takes its components apart. When you get it back in one piece, you end up not sure if you want it to work anymore.

The writing in sound that Lander performs is deceptively simple, and yet, it does not lack in subtlety. In Destroy: Information Only, Lander rewrites — at the time of his back injury — his body as it writhed in pain through the anecdotes of those who knew him then. The listener, when confronted with this body in sound, a body without embellishment, can sometimes react uncomfortably. These aural bodies are naked, complete with their everyday banalities and gaseous emissions. There is a mirror effect at work here which allows for a peak at yourself in the mirror, right at the crack of dawn, with a night you may want to forget written all over your face. However, there is a beauty in this brutality, an immediacy you are unlikely to forget.

Hunters and gatherers of sound have to kill before they chew. The disembodied voices of Failed Suicide are crudités, removed from their origin but still alive. These are willing participants in the games of recording and editing. They are the living dead of audio art, which makes the next question inevitable: How do they taste?

City Zoo / Zoo City resides in the digital realm, the technology at play strangely merging with the idea that “technology, again substitutes for nature.” With digital editing there is an exponential increase in the possibilities of the artist to manipulate the original. In City Zoo / Zoo City animality becomes a digital concept, animal sounds are transformed into horrifying mechanical sounds. The nature of the zooscape here points clearly to the inherent paradoxes of such a site and, by extension, to such a technology.

The space the listener can occupy in these works is expansive, the narrative threads just hanging there, up for grabs. Lander refers to the notion that his work constitutes a kind of writing in sound, primarily to differentiate the work from music. However, as writing, it is of a particular kind, written with radio in mind and, as such, contrasts explicitly with the hegemony of existing radio. This is a radio rendered vulnerable for it retains as much of the body as may be possible in this, the thinnest of air. It is in these inscriptions that radio art finds its tenuous home.

Christof Migone, Halifax (Nova Scotia) [iv-95]

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