My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Mini-CD Grab Bag

FB 50 is the second 3″ CD-ROM compilation from fals.ch. It consists mostly of MP3 files (Zbigniew Karkowski, Koji Asano and others), but also includes Quicktime and Shockwave activities, some applications, and a copy of the PDF file for the album’s cover art. It’s reported to work on PC, Mac, Linux and Unix platforms. Fals.ch is an online label whose website is purposefully obscurant, burying content deep in a maze of fragmented pages that make art out of your worst computer-error nightmares. The CD-ROM edition is more manageable, though its index screen’s tendency to switch colors and type size maintains a taste of the website’s visual impact. Merzbow, the Japanese noise unit, contributes a brief psychedelic video loop. Francisco Lopez appears in a video of a performance from the Electrograph Festival held in October 2001 (“recorded by Andreas Pieper on MiniDv using Sony PC-100e with nightshot[tm]”). An application by Atau Tanaka purportedly uses tracks from your computer, but it didn’t seem to function properly. (A file attributed to Gescom was likewise not recognized on two PCs on which the disc was run.) But the MP3 files all run smoothly, and range from manic exercises in digital disarray (Max Muster) to dark downtempo techno (Lutsch Symphonic Orchestra). More than just a set of listening material, the CD-ROM format, as envisioned by fals.ch, is a intriguing hands-on situation that lends a kind of tactile experience to a brand of music that tends to be abstract and disembodied.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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