Spectral Arrows is an ongoing series of long-duration performances for guitar and mass amplification. In Spectral Arrows, Fusinato arrives at the venue when it opens for business, sets up his equipment facing a wall and proceeds to play for the whole day until the end of business hours. Fusinato presents himself here in the guise of a worker, clocking on and unceremoniously clocking off at the end of his working day, refusing to allow the behind-the-scenes mystery of rehearsals and preparations to lend an aura to the performance, and affirming the deskilled ethos of his work. For the audience, the length of the performance frustrates the expectation of a manageable form, forcing all but the hardiest to content themselves with only a fragment of the whole. Even for those who stick it out, the extended duration, like in the late works of Morton Feldman, destroys the listener’s ability to retain and assess the structure of the performance. Breaking with both the traditional form of the musical performance and, through Fusinato’s resolutely anti-social position facing way from the audience, the standard affective relationship between audience and performer, the sound of Spectral Arrows becomes a monumental aural sculpture, filling the gallery, not with steel or concrete, but with vibrations traveling through air.
Spectral Arrows: Auckland was recorded at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki, New Zealand, during Shout Whisper Wail! The 2017 Chartwell Show, curated by Natasha Conland. On the top floor of the three-story museum, Fusinato performed for seven hours, occupying the gallery space with an enormous array of amps in front of his work, The Infinitive #4 (2015). Featuring a series of sequential excerpts from the performance, this recording sees Fusinato using a single-minded focus on the possibilities of distortion and massive volumes. Passages of hands-on guitar mangling and wailing atonality are overtaken by gusts of white noise; sections of buzzing single-note drone build to a keening wall of fluctuating tones reminiscent of the heavy minimalism of Tony Conrad’s Four Violins. Along the way we are also treated to some passages of guitar skronk using Fusinato’s newest weapon of choice, a hollow metal pole with serrations cut into it, run along the guitar’s strings like a sort of anti-slide, choking the strings into a tormented metallic sizzle. Packaged in in one of Fusinato’s signature head-scratcher sleeves, this is another essential sally from one of contemporary guitar music’s fiercest exponents.