A beautiful oddity from Bad Friend Records, Fiber Optic Tap is a keepsake cassette, each copy featuring a frame from the video. Great attention has been given to this release, so much that one wonders if the bad friend might be a good friend after all, or if the Drunken Sufis might be sober.
Forget the fact that nine of the tracks are under two minutes long, and that four of these are under one. Fiber Optic Tap deserves to be considered as a single extended track, which is how it comes across in the video. But perhaps the computer is the best place to play the music (after buying the tape of course!), as so much of the music deals with stray signals, interrupted transmissions and digital decay. These sounds come across as shattered zeroes and ones, the type of sounds that one never wants to hear on a computer, phone or iPod ~ unless, of course, one enjoys digital glitch and has purchased such music for intentional play. Consider for a moment the following sounds: the blast of feedback from an improper wire; the repeated click of a jammed disc drive; the stutters of a bad internet connection. In real life, these sounds grate. Our devices are changing swifter than our ability to master them; that ugly sound usually means, it’s over. Yet in the context of a composition, they come across as pleasing: a commentary on the state of modern disconnect.
One of the most pleasant sounds in Fiber Optic Tap is that of dial-up, a sound that has become more obscure in recent years, but can still be heard in many locales. At least we know what this sound is: the sound of a signal trying to break through. This sound replaced that of a dial tone, and once upon a time, the dial tone replaced the sound of an operator. Modern culture is scored by new timbres. And these sounds, as contemporary as they may seem in this context, will one day seem quaint as well.
In order to keep this music from sounding dated later, Drunken Sufis have also added pots and pans. And why not? Pots and pans are used as protest from Canada to Caracas. Such protests are punk and revolutionary, but at the same time endearing; one imagines a traditional grandmother in an apron screaming that someone has stolen her casserole dish. But Drunken Sufis aren’t angry at anything; they revel in the anarchy of the broken, and Fiber Optic Tap is a joyful, fractured noise. (Richard Allen)