There is a moment on NO/1, the solo debut album by Sofus Forsberg on the Denmark-based Jenka Music label, as fine as anything released this year. Well into track three, which is titled “Autotune Track,” a little buzz shuffles its way from background into the foreground. Up until that moment the track has consisted of squiggly noises and playful beats, very much like something Aphex Twin might put his name on. That little buzz is just static, additional texture, noise. It may raise the tension a little, but it’s not so much in tune or out of tune as it is apart from the tune, like something passing by, like a fleck of dust in the eye. As soon as your ear accepts it as such, though, that noise turns into a melody very much like the melody with which the tune opened; that strange little noise warps into a strange little riff, bringing to mind nothing so much as the magical anthropomorphizing utensils in Walt Disney animated films. NO/1 is rich with such detail. There’s the deep hum on “So Alone” that can feel like a scalp massage if you’re listening on a proper pair of headphones. There’s the bouncy stereoscopic play at the start of “Venice Beach,” in which reverberating tones bound from left ear to right in a delightful syncopation. Forsberg has produced 11 fine tracks, which share an attention to memorable moments but otherwise vary widely, from heavy percussive polyrhythm to spacious drone to quiet song. When he uses acoustic instruments, like the piano at the end of “Convertible Love” or what sounds like guitar at the start of “Det Ser Vi Pa,” the sounds are lightly treated — clipped or looped — in a way that blends them perfectly into his electro-acoustic palette. He recorded most of the music himself, but there are a few guests — there’s the occasional vocal by Henriette Sennenvaldt, who has Bjork’s majestic remoteness, and there’s the occasional saxophone part by Niels Bottcher, the rare untreated analog instrument in this sea of digital sounds, and just about the only thing to suggest the record was recorded on Earth.
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• October 13, 2016: This day marks the start of the 250th weekly Disquiet Junto project.
• November 16, 2016: I'll be sharing the mic at Adobe Books in San Francisco with my fellow 33 1/3 author Evie Nagy for an evening hosted, from 7pm to 10pm, by Marc Kate (facebook.com).
• December 1, 2016: A likely speaking engagement. Details to come.
• December 13, 2016: This day marks the 20th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 5, 2017: This day marks the 5th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• 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: disquiet.com/junto.
• 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, is now in its second printing. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
disquiet juntoThe Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects: • 0278 / Chew Concrète / Make music inspired by C. Reider's Chew Cinders album procedures. • 0277 / MacConnel’s Jingle / Interpret a work of contemporary art as a graphically notated score. • 0276 / 808 Blockchain Beats / Make 808-style beats based on the blockchain. • 0275 / Revisit Something / Make a track all over again. • 0274 / Broken Sound / Record a piece of music in the genre called "broken sound."
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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