The records, like the films, are "canned" documents that have already been carefully edited and prepared. The turntablist deconstructs them in any number of ways--changing playback speed, effects processing, scratching, skipping, looping.So in any given Text of Light performance, there is one fixed pre-recorded element unfolding
without interference or variation in real time (the film), multiple pre-recorded elements that are manipulated and re-designed on the spot by a performer (the records), and multiple live elements are creating their own sounds and structures on the spot (the instrumentalists). The records bridge the gap between the predetermination of the film and the spontaneous composition of the instruments/instrumentalists.
The film's running length is used as a frame for the duration of the improvisation (although commonly the improvisation lasts slightly longer than the running time of the film). Having this frame sets Text of Light apart from other free improvisational situations, in which the duration of any individual "piece" is not determined beforehand (although in a normal free improv concert situation, a standard concert length will be in mind, i.e. if you've played a 40 minute improv and then a 20 minute improv, you might stop or continue with only a short 5 or 10 minute piece). The cumulative result is a new chapter in the annals of free improvisation and mixed media.