CD including the full soundtrack from MOVE FORWARD and all soundtracks from the limited-edition picturedisc LP THE JOHN SEE SERIES released on RRRecords
Stunning and legendary material from veteran art-experimentalist Duncan. Some of this stuff is so dark and spooky and inexplicably visceral that it's hard to listen to it without taking a break. These are the infamous John See Soundtracks, along with other performance pieces dating as far back as 1984. There is an excellent full-color booklet with it, explaining the works and their performance. Whats the most striking at first listen? That would be Duncan utlizing pronographic moans and heavy-breathing within ambient soundscapes. This is certainly sexy in a mysterious way, but then these sounds just become haunting, like voices of the dead, bodiless moans absently pretending satisfaction. Then they end up somewhere near the mechanical, not even human at all. Extended pieces take the sounds of sex further, with one using a very strange, almost beastial male-noise, effected and distorted and repeated until it becomes something else. As when you repeat a word over and over, it loses it's meaning. And all this is under thin sheets of tense ambient drones, so it really digs its way into you. But there are pieces that have no identification with the sexual as well... and these become the unbelievably heavy, powerful ascendencies of sound, increasing and building into frightening, violent walls. This is truly breakthrough material, up there with legendary albums such as Permafrost, I.O.S.'s Historical or Randy Grief's Alice In Wonderland, purely for it's absolute power and ability to create that tectonic movement within the listeners psyche. Do not miss this one - Manifold Records
"Quite how John Duncan ended up writing, directing and scoring porn films in mid-'80s Tokyo (under the pseudonym of John See) I'm not entirely sure, but given his pedigree it was unlikely that he would attempt to peddle variations on the four-in-a-bed schlock standard, with safely cheesy lounge retread soundtracking. As he makes clear in the liner notes, the flicks in question were originally intended for commercial release and consumption, but in finished form were closer to (ahem) 'art' than pornography. This end point is fully evidenced by the nature of the music, which juxtaposes male and female orgasm-groaning (thankfully applied with some restraint) with abstract droning, tape distortion, and muted industrial clanging. The volume level is sufficiently background and never a barrage, but harrowing nonetheless - the vocal sounds of human sex, decontextualised and dislocated from their "necessary" visual accompaniment (and indeed from any other sounds associated with intercourse), become random interwoven litanies of carnal grunting. The moans are looped and repeasted so as to at once sound both boring and frightening, and not very 'sexual at all. One presumes that the films were watched with the mute button firmly pressed, as so disconcerting a soundtrack would surely have induced rapid detumescence in the average besuited Japanese middle management bureaucrat. Also included is the soundtrack to Duncan's Move Forward film - in the words of the man himself: 'a collage of child- and adult-pornography, animated illustrations from scientific papers on nuclear warfare, S/M images, Hiroshima victims, broadcast television; projected on a paper screen that cover the room wall-to-wall. When the film ends, I set the screen on fire and blow the burning remains into the audience with a fire extinguisher.' "
- Nick Cain / Opprobrium