The A3 Korg Signal Processing Rack was the mainstay of Great Rack, the alias of Emily Bennett, in the improvising experimental trio Great Rack and an Empty Club Reverb. The machine’s 1988 volatility has been distilled into a downloadable pack of 100 vocal samples ready to be chopped and sampled for future music and beat making.
What started as a semi-daily project for Bennett documenting and recounting share house living and collective collaborations with experimental improvisers and music-makers in Melbourne from 2017 to 2019, “sample pack” has resulted in a distinct collection of samples and micro-loops sent through a chain of effects for each preset.
Each track has been mixed, mastered and co-produced by artist and sound-maker Marco Cher-Gibard. The pack also features special guests throughout who were playing and performing with Bennett, giving brief glimpses into the improvised and experimental scene at the time. Those featured are Justin Ashworth, Luke Glanville, Adam Halliwell, Reuben Lewis, Michael McNab, Simon Millman, Maria Moles, and Adam Rudegeair.
Great Rack’s sample pack is presented on Bandcamp as a name-your-price album but it comes with a creative comments licence and a readme file that invites you to “feel free to use the samples in however way you feel”. Sure enough, there are 100 tracks that fly by in about 13 minutes, all made with Great Rack’s alter ego Emily Bennett’s voice, a bunch of her friends and a lot of rackmount reverb. Tracks range from the wry to the inane, with a Duchampian ear for the eloquently inconsequential. Absurdities pile up. Tracks are either too short to be tracks (0.145 seconds) or samples are too long to be samples (3 minutes plus of ominous grooves). Many are contrived to defy any standard ADSR envelope (one is a brief, arbitrary list of suburbs in Melbourne) and become koans for listener and musician alike. The tracklist starts with titles, sort of, then resort to standard sample names: “056 E.Bass 2” is hilariously inappropriate, “065 String 1” is hilariously appropriate. A collection so intractable that it makes trying to listen to it fun, and makes trying to create (more) music from it an irresistable challenge – Boring Like A Drill