Xencuts (Ninja Tune) is one of those collections that’s so huge it becomes almost transparent, a backdrop against which everything else we listen to takes place. The Ninja Tune record label has been home to some of the most engaging electronic musicians of the past decade, from the Brazilian-born Amon Tobin to the Russian DJ Vadim; from the label’s sample-mad co-owners (Coldcut, aka Jonathan More and Matt Black) to the jazz-inflected relative newcomers of Cinematic Orchestra; from under-sung talents (Funki Porcini) to burgeoning turntable stars (Kid Koala). All of them, and more, are represented on this compilation — which, typical of the label’s homebrew spirit, comes in more formats than one cares to recount. Suffice to say, the harder-to-find edition includes a “Missed, Flipped & Skipped” EP of rarities by Tobin, Sukia, Squarepusher and others. Even without the rarities, though, the box is essential, as it provides a clear timeline between the second-generation hip-hop that got the label started and the ongoing innovations that kept fans happily guessing over the years. Ninja Tune was founded in 1990 when More and Black achieved major-label burnout — having gained fame for work with Eric B & Rakim, Yazz and Lisa Stansfield — and chose to retreat to the independent, artful, stealth habits of their label’s namesake. Here’s to another ten years.
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• January 28, 2015: First spring-semester class meeting of the 15-week course that I teach on the role of sound in the media landscape at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. I'm only teaching it one semester this year, just to make time for other activities.
• February 13, 2015: Speaking engagement in San Francisco. Details to follow.
• February 13, 2015: First anniversary of the release of my book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
• February 19, 2015: This is the "closing" event for the exhibit Momentum at the San Jose Museum of Art, featuring my three-screen, 21-track installation "Sonic Frame." The evening is part of the museum's ArtRage evening series, and runs from 7pm to 10pm. I'll likely be giving a little talk as part of it. Details TK.
• February 22, 2015: Final day of the exhibit Momentum at the San Jose Museum of Art, featuring my three-screen, 21-track installation "Sonic Frame."
• May 13, 2015: Last spring-semester class meeting of the 15-week course that I teach on the role of sound in the media landscape at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. I'll next teach it in spring 2016.
• December 13, 2015: The 19th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• Ongoing: The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: soundcloud.com.
disquiet juntoThe Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. It's housed at soundcloud.com. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 10 most recent weekly projects: • 0160: Make a one-minute field recording starting right at midnight (wherever you are). • 0159: See what music the steps of a favorite recipe yield. • 0158: Go from noise to signal with words. • 0157: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it. • 0156: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen five-second segments. • 0155: Take a track and its remix and meld them into something new. • 0154: Create a track from two locked grooves • 0153: Record a short sound intended to be set on repeat. • 0152: Record your own cover version of the "song" sung/emitted by the comet Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. • 0151: Score a segment of George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead using the movie's audio as source material. ... And there is a complete list of projects here.
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