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What Came Before This

by Lou Barnell

  • Limited Edition Cassette
    Cassette + Digital Album

    Cassette in the Linear Obsessional Cassette Imprint - green shell, full colour card insert, clear case and download coupon which allows access to the PDF booklet.
    Cover image by Lou Barnell, design by David Little.

    Includes unlimited streaming of What Came Before This via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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Takis 18:02


Get this here - loubarnell.bandcamp.com/album/what-came-before-this-album-2

London based sound artist and performer Lou Barnell presents two new extended works, "Takis" and "What Came Before This" for the latest release in the Linear Obsessional Cassette Imprint.

"We have chased the sacred symbols from the desert and replaced them with electronic eyes"
(TAKIS Telelumiere No. 4 1963–4)

A brutal, dream-like hypnotic soup of sensory tests, voice, wearable sound-material sculptures and augmented electronics. Written in homage to the late artist TAKIS to explore social structures and their relationship with sound, environmental and biological energies and material. A complex web of control and power that is played out upon the human body.

Is a composition for clock recordings, mixed electronics, vocals, melting ice and harp.
In January 2020 I had the privilege of being invited to record the collection of clocks owned by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers at The Science Museum with Ian Thompson.
The museum began to open at the stroke of ten just as all the clocks had begun to chime.

The sounds of daily life bled into the strict sonic architecture of the clocks as they sounded. School children, cleaners and café staff made the Museum into a breathing entity.
Listening back to the raw sound files during lockdown you can hear society drift in through the door. I felt an intense grief for losing time and space as we once knew it. Precarious futures await us. It feels as though we have been submerged in curious new structures of labouring, creating and waiting that constantly shapeshift. These unstable formations seem as though they are restless- trying to settle comfortably back into time and space as it once was.

Your face
Pushing through
Is it though
Because I can hear your heart.
A distant churn and turn
Of earth
An opening
Tiny furrows ploughed by
Who remember your forehead
Almost as I do.
Now Unlined
For but tiny bone marrow sutures
Now smooth
Plate to plate
Now Under
A spray of pink
The blooms fall rotting
Into the dew
Back into you

Now unlined,
Now Smooth
Now Under

Now unlined,
Now Smooth
Now Under


released March 30, 2021

Written, recorded and produced by Lou Barnell. Clock recordings by Ian Thompson.
With thanks to curator Anna Rolls and The Science Museum London, and The Worshipful Company of Clock Makers.
Album Artwork by Lou Barnell.


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Linear Obsessional UK

Linear Obsessional presented music from the edges of culture, from the gaps between category....
2012 - 2022

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