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

Monthly Archives: February 2003

Virtual Musical Chairs

Name: Stand | Sit • Way Cool • Format: Online Software • Play

A variation on musical chairs. A grid of 15 chairs (each a white silhouette on a black background) that rotate, each rotation triggering a sound. By running your mouse over a chair, you can stop it from turning and, thus, from sounding. One of many sound-oriented interactive toys on the friendchip.com site.

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Datachip = Graphic Play

Name: Datachip • Rating: Kinda Cool • Format: Online Software • Play

Three small experiments in interactivity. This collection is one of many sound-oriented interactive toys on the friendchip.com site. The Datachip series consists of three schemes. In one, the user moves four objects up and down in order to affect the piercing tones the objects emit. In another, a grid of 12 blank squares can be individually triggered to emit a series of sounds by running over them with a mouse; depending on the speed and pattern of your mouse’s trajectory, you can produce a different rhythmic and melodic sequence. In the third, you seem to have the ability to introduce moving objects into a square, each of which triggers a tone when it bounces against a wall. Each is a self-contained assignment of sorts.

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A Fistful of Ninja

Ninja Tune, the great British electronic-music label, regularly makes available batches of full-length MP3 files, as well as streaming video, from both prominent acts and those just beginning to develop a following. The following lightly annotated list of eight audio tracks and four video, all available for free, is presented in conjunction with Ninja Tune. Visit the label’s website at NinjaTune.net. In the interest of time, the files are listed in order of recommendation, starting with the essential:

Amon Tobin‘s “Cougar Merkin” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). Over six minutes of Tobin at his most stringent: a driving beat utterly content to plow ahead.

Skalpel‘s “Sculpture” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). Ringing tones aloft, with a spare jazz trap set.

Super Numeri‘s “Flaurent Carmin” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). Super-slow dub, the tropical flavor enhanced by what sounds like tweaked steel drums. About two thirds of the way through, avant-classical strings come in, for an extended psychedelic bridge.

Hint‘s “You Little Trooper” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). A Latin-flavored bit of lounge, with a straightahead house-music vibe and the occasional acoustic break.

Hexstatic‘s “Telemetron” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). A found bit of slide-reel science yammering serves as the deadpan vocal for this fun bit of trippy fluff.

Jaga Jazzist‘s “Lithuania” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). Flutes, electric guitar and various mallet instruments suggest Tortoise covering a ’60s pop ditty.

Mr. Scruff‘s “Champion Nibble” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). Tight horns, purposefully mechanical rhythm guitar and heavy-handed organ make for tasty retro-modern Afro-Beat.

Pest‘s “Slap on Tap” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream). More party music with a remixed, ’70s vibe from Ninja Tune. After an extended intro, which replays an off-beat rhythm with various sonic elements, the song settles into a groove and turns up the volume.

Also available, four new Ninja Tune videos: Amon Tobin‘s “Verbal” (Real Video, Windows Media). The one vocal track off Tobin’s recent Out from Out Where album, a cut-up take on hip-hop. Directed by Alex Rutterford.

Hexstatic‘s “Telemetron” (Real Video, Windows Media).

Jaga Jazzist‘s “Animal Chin” (Real Video, Windows Media). Directed by AFF!, a Norwegian video web collective.

Mr. Scruff‘s “Sweetsmoke” (Real Video, Windows Media). So Kid Koala isn’t the only visual artiste in the ranks of today’s electronic musicians. The drawings in this animated short are, reportedly, by Scruff himself.

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