|Far-West News is the late Luc Ferrari's three-part aural travelogue of time that he and his wife Brunhild Meyer spent in the American Southwest in 1998. Far-West News strains familiar categories of genre; as Ferrari himself writes, 'It's not a report or a soundscape, not a Hörspiel or an electronic work, not a portrait or a recorded reality exhibit, not a transgression of reality or an Impressionist account, not a so on or so forth. It's a composition....[C]omposition in some cases, especially in mine, and increasingly in my life, is a perverted game with the truth.' There you go. File under 'perverted game.
'Far-West News is constructed from field recordings, narration, and overlaid electronic music fragments. The electronic interruptions read as representations of musical accompaniment that likely existed in Luc Ferrari's brain to keep things interesting -- herky-jerky musical phrases are slathered ex post facto atop the sounds of a foundry, a Garth Brooks-ish singer-songwriter, a walk in Death Valley. These David Lynchian sonic interruptions of the everyday have a found object quality that's central to Far-West News. There's a steady macro-rhythm of cars passing along the highway, recalling the basso continuo of the train in Glenn Gould's The Idea of North.
In his dual role as composer and tape editor, Luc Ferrari had a supreme knack for musicalizing the comedy of linguistic confusion. Luc and Brunhild, Far-West News's main characters, treat locals and yokels alike -- with exquisite visitor-hospitality. Lewis and Clark, meet Bouvard and Pécuchet. This could be a case study in cross-cultural sociality. Far-West News takes place during the lead-up to the Clinton impeachment -- innocent time -- and Lewinsky looms over the landscape. It's all punctuated by Luc's laugh.
Far-West News, like Ferrari's classic Presque Rien No. 1, is a work of landscape. Where Presque Rien No. 1 presented a landscape wiped of speech, Far-West News revels in the locals' voices and their choice of words."