The Process email list, “FABLED…” CD (1997)
In 1997, The Process email list put together and released “FABLED…”, a collaborative, hand-printed CD of music by the participants. The Process was an artistic collaboration group that interacted via an email list. Members were scattered across the globe and the list started in the early ’90s. In the early ’90s, being scattered and interacting like this was still novel.
The Process email list was powered by LISTSERVE and was initially hosted at process.usc.edu and was briefly moved to process.org. The group there decided to start a remix project. They passed around a WAV file named sweep3.wav, and we(my band, BORED) were the first ones to remix it. We exchanged files via an FTP server.
“The Process is…”
The Process was a surprisingly little documented email list in the mid-’90s that was largely focused on creative collaboration but extensively discussed philosophy, science, magick, etc. It was not geo-centric and there were people from all over the world on there. It was one of the earliest examples of huge collaboration I remember on the internet, and there is surprisingly little documented history that I can find.
The email list had some nebulous affiliation with Genesis P-Orridge and Skinny Puppy. Early on it was just an FTP account where people exchanged files, texts, images, etc. I was introduced to it via Skinny Puppy, having run one of the popular fan sites in the early ’90s, but The Process email list really had nothing to do with the band at all by that point.
I don’t want to spend too much effort going through what The Process was, but for as busy as I remember it being, I’m really surprised there isn’t more info out there. I’d recommend reading the Wikipedia article on the subject, as it covers the basics fairly well.
Putting together the CD
I can’t remember who printed the CDs, though the back cover says it was compiled by ‘moth’. I can’t remember if he also did the pressing. CD writers were just starting to be available, though still expensive(I seem to recall ~$600). There were talks of releasing it via tape cassette but eventually, CD-r seemed like the most viable solution.
Everyone had access to sweep.wav via an FTP server. We’d take turns, each modifying it, then sending it back to the FTP to be further chopped up by the next person. I went first and uploaded a quick mix. I just did additive sound collage on top of it and did not modify it structurally. I’m not sure who remixed it next, etc.
A few of us also included our own original tracks on the album as well.
If you participated in this CD
I’m no longer in contact with any of you. I’d be curious to hear from you if you helped with this project. Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter directly!