Mackenzie (Smell of the Petrol)


Media player
surround sound amplifier
5 speakers

Additional Information

Mackenzie (Smell of the Petrol)

5.1 channel sound installation, 4 mins, 2010.

This work is inspired by a Liverpool legend about William Mackenzie, a gambler who is said to have made a pact with the devil to ensure a winning hand in a poker game. Worried that the devil would claim him if he was buried underground, he left instructions that he was not to be buried, but instead encased in a pyramid, sat upright at a card table, with a winning hand of cards. This tomb still stands in a derelict graveyard on Rodney Street, where the work was premiered.

This sound work consists of a disruptive post-punk electronic and guitar music with a male voice (actor Gregory Cox) talking to a man sat in darkness, holding a hand of cards. The voice, who’s language alternates between archaic biblical phraseology, friendly banter and intimidatory threats, seems to be that of an interrogator, who tells of a mock execution involving a lighted match that he has recently put the poker playing man through. It also seems that the inquisitor will repeatedly subject the man, ‘you’, to the same ordeal, perhaps indefinitely. Commissioned by Sound and Music for Liverpool Sound City 2010.

A stereo version of Mackenzie (Smell of the Petrol) is released as a track on the album Futile Exorcise on Owd Scrat Records:





Mackenzie (Smell of the Petrol)