Slices of the old continent

Slices of the old continent

Brgs: sampling, processing

Samples originate from field recordings
recorded in different areas of Africa.
Field recordings originate from various sources.

Box set handmade and designed by Brgs
Booklet text by Brgs and Polona Torkar

Handmade 5 piece edition
Special thanks to Matej Loredan for Uganda recordings.

I never intended to make such a series as the one in front of you. The idea evolved slowly through
listening to hours and hours of traditional field recordings from the African continent and becoming
more and more deeply aware of the gap between the beauty of this sonic art and therefore the
beauty of the souls creating it, and real life where all this beauty and souls are exposed to

The manipulation of everyday life, the absence of peace, the exploitation of natural resources,
underpaid labour – a tenet of modern capitalism, the unbridled control of the politics and the media
as well as keeping this part of the world underdeveloped and highly dependent are the misdeeds we
all in the Western world have a share in. Our privileges, resources and technology rely on hard labour
and waging wars in order to provide for our needs and the profits of the wealthy few. Stealing and
destroying has been and remains the high art of modern civilisation. It is therefore also an ingrained
part of the series.

#1 Slice

The Slices of the Old Continent series attempts to translate these exploitations into a remix and a
deconstruction of the audio materials recorded in the fields and villages of the African continent by
Western academics. Historically, the biggest exploiters have been religious institutions – represented
on the #1 Slice by a glitch sample of an originally recorded church organ – and the political heads
with their minions – represented by a glitch created with a trumpet and prepared reeds. Throughout
the series these two glitches portray the disturbance of the traditional vibe by the exploiters and
translate the everyday African reality into a soundscape stretched between the beauty of tradition
and the wars of today.

#2 Slice – Ethiopia

… it’s all about distorting their reality, twisting their words, distracting from the truth, exploiting their
existence, but never killing their spirit…
The Ethiopia remix is massacred by the glitches, distortions, compressions, raw cuts and twisted
words, but the soul chanting on the recording is fighting back unbroken…

#3 Slice – Liberia

… who are we to sell freedom to the free…
The Liberia remix follows a different perspective. You are free to choose the focal point of the mix,
your position of listening. Observing the lives of the African people from our comfortable Western
positions or truly grasping the harshness of their realities is as different as the contrast between a
beautiful song and an act of aggression. The state of things really depends on the position you are
observing it from…

#4 Slice – Burundi

… civilization built on slavery… the mythology of the First World…
The first part of the Burundi remix is a digital desert illustrating the soulless grayscale of the capitalist
world. A native singer is whipped by the glitches while trying to sing a beautiful song. The scene is an
insignificant instance in the “brief” history of slavery for a Westerner. It’s not easy to acknowledge
the fact that we built our society on slavery… But we did… Nevertheless, distorted warriors shall rage
upon the conquerors, playing the flutes of great victory and freedom in the end.

#5 Slice – Uganda

… cash money money cash cash money…
The Uganda remix is all about cash money money, as the beautiful and the ugly stuff in life all have a
price. There’s no limit for the capital even with the simplest things in life! I don’t know who the
women singing on the recording are, but I can manipulate them and make money on them without
even knowing them or them knowing about it or me… cash money money… pay pay pay…

#6 Slice – Ghana

… digital existence powered by the ones who toil digging soil in the Third World…
All things existing can translate into zeroes and ones… are you a zero or are you the one…

#7 Slice – Nigeria

… the modern art of illusion…
The Nigeria remix is a single voice reaching to be heard, but drowning in a sea of disturbance. Even
while he sings, his words are flipped and covered with synthetics, and ultimately swallowed in the
digital vastness of the modern illusion.

#8 Slice – Senegal

… millions of voices migrating into our souls…
Voices in the Senegal remix are representing migrating souls entering our space while their worlds
are being teared down by our ideas and illusions. No matter how much they repeat themselves, we
just don’t care to listen. But regardless of the fact that there seems to be no end to our oppression,
peace and wisdom will still be heard trough the song.

#9 Slice – Chad

… ashes to ashes… dust…
The point where we lose ourselves is the point where we become the ghosts of others, serving in the
plain of grey…

#10 Slice – Ancient Speakers

… language…
»If a person who speaks our language dies, then our language also dies. When you cover him with
dirt, the language is not like a plant that grows again.« There’s nothing to add to the words of Una
Rooi who speaks Nluu – the primary dialect of the Nllng (Khosian language) in the last remix. While
her voice is disappearing, the percussive clicks of one of the oldest languages on this planet, which is
since 2013 being spoken by only three persons on the planet, are still echoing in the song.