Though the vast majority of electronic music is instrumental (that is, vocal-less), some of the best compositions take as their base a snippet of something spoken — be it the loops of Steve Reich’s “It’s Gonna Rain,” the hobo’s hymn in Gavin Bryars’ “Jesus’s Blood Never Failed Me Yet,” the “overheard” dialog of Scanner (ripped from the airwaves), the cut-up speech of Scott Johnson (John Somebody, Patty Hearst) or even the random, canned hip-hop shout-out from the Chemical Brothers. Rapoon is the pseudonym behind which Robin Storey works his studio magic. On I Am a Foreigner (Soleilmoon), various squelched voices, rarely more than a moan, surface amid a variety of textures. On “Via,” the title word is taken, reportedly, from a “Teach Yourself Italian” tape, and what we get is a heavenly choir of disembodied voices above the scratching of a locked-groove vinyl album. On “Horizons Endless,” what seems to be a muted choir, as if heard through a thick church wall, reveals itself to be but a few seconds of sampled vocal sound. As the sample loops, its edge, the point at which the splice is evident, takes on a rhythmic purpose, as if like one of Michael Jackson’s hiccups. And then, bizarrely, the sound is overlaid with what seems to be a Jew’s harp, all bouncy fun, albeit minor-key. Inevitably the voices fade back in, just in time for the whole piece to fade out. Many of the pieces on I Am a Foreigner make similarly peculiar transitions; “Dusk Moon” starts out with reverberating piano, only to be transformed into a Tangerine Dream-style staccato movement. Even on repeated listenings, I Am a Foreigner challenges you to find your place in its mass of found voices and sounds. A background sample from one track becomes the core material of another; tracks change mood at midway points. The result is disorienting, but no one promised it would be easy. If only a “Teach Yourself Rapoon” companion volume were available.
5 Most Recent Comments
jdc: "Robert Fripp Live at The Kitchen was released on three vinyl LPs. I know because I bought it used in NJ in..."
Michael Fitzgerald: "Hi Marc, really enjoyed the first Disquietude podcast, and looking forward to the next one...."
Jimmy Kipple Sound: "thanks for this Marc! for the record, & in the spirit of full spectrum domination and..."
Brenda: "This 1970 Synthesizer sounds better to me as compared to all the latest Synthesizers. "
Murray Altheim: "Sorry, I somehow missed the sentence “The finished audio should combine the original track..."
5 Most Recent Posts
• 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: • 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." • 0273 / Alarm Clocked / Make music for a (new! improved!) slow-waking alarm clock. • 0272 / Exoplanetary Intervals / Use music to express the relationships between planets.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
Tags8-bit app audio-games brands of sounds chiptune classical comics copyleft field-recording film forum-digger free free download gadget generative i-hop IFTTTgram installation ios ipad iphone ipod ipod touch junto listening to yesterday live-performance modular netlabel noise recommended stream remix rock saw2for33third science-fiction score site-maintenance software sound-art sounds-of-brands this week in sound turntablism TV video video-games voice