I have been working on this piece for a forthcoming audio book version of Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet for some time. I knew that I wanted to work with field-recordings and manipulated guitar samples, but a couple of early attempts to turn these ideas into tracks came to nothing. It was only from spending more time turning the ideas in the text over and over in my mind that the ideas of repetition and a cyclical experience of time began to stand out as important. Somewhere along the line the idea to use the hiss and click of the run-in track on an old record came to mind, and this seemed to fit not just with the broad themes of the book but the specific nature of the text I had been given to work with, with its talk of things forgotten or remembered only as dreams. The hiss of a record is like digital music hesitatingly recalling its analogue roots.

Here is the text I was given to work with:

“For some time now - it may be days or months - I haven’t really noticed anything; I don’t think, therefore I don’t exist. I’ve forgotten who I am; I can’t write because I can’t be. Under the influence of some oblique drowsiness I have been someone else. The knowledge that I do not remember myself awakens me.
I fainted away a little from my life. I return to myself with no memory of what I have been and the memory of the person I was before suffers from that interruption. I am aware only of a confused notion of some forgotten interlude, of my memory’s futile efforts to find another me. But I cannot retie the knots. If I did live, I’ve forgotten how to know that I did.
It isn’t this first real autumn day - the first cold rather than cool day to clothe the dead summer in a lesser light - whose alien transparency leaves me with a sense of dead ambitions or sham intentions. It isn’t the uncertain trace of vain memory contained in this interlude of things lost. It’s something more painful than that, it’s the tedium of trying to remember what cannot be remembered, despair at what my consciousness mislaid amongst the algae and reeds of some unknown shore.
Beneath an unequivocal blue sky, a shade lighter than the deepest blue, I recognise that the day is limpid and still. I recognise that the sun, slightly less golden than it was, gilds walls and windows alike with liquid reflections. I recognise that, although there’s no wind, nor any breeze to recall or deny the existence of a wind, a brisk coolness nonetheless hovers about the hazy city. I recognise all of this, unthinkingly, unwillingly, and feel no more desire to sleep, only the memory of that desire, feel no nostalgia, only disquiet.
Sterile and remote, I recover from an illness I never had. Alert after walking, I prepare myself for what I dare not do. What kind of sleep was it that brought me no rest? What kind of caress was it that would not speak to me? How good it would be to take one cold draught of heady spring and be someone else! How good, how much better than life, to be able to imagine being that other person, whilst far off, in the remembered image, in the absence of even a breath of wind, the reeds bend blue-green to the shore.
Recalling the person I was not, I often imagine myself young again and forget! And were they different those landscapes that I never saw; were they new but non-existent the landscapes I did see? What does it matter? I have spent myself in chance events, in interstices, and now that the cool of the day and the cooling sun are one, the dark reeds by the shore sleep their cold sleep in the sunset I see but do not possess.”