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

MP3s at an Exhbition

After a month off here at Disquiet.com, a return to free music on the web. John Kannenberg‘s Four Painters EP collects piercing, minimalist tributes to a quartet of modern master visual artists: Paul Klee, Agnes Martin, Kazimir Malevich and Cy Twombly. Each track appears at first as little more than the sort of server-room rumble familiar in most 21st-century office buildings, a mix of chillingly high tones and some intangible thudding in the low to mid-range. Over time, with each listen, each piece takes its own surprisingly individual shape: the Klee with its cinematically rich opening, the way in which staggered samples are echoed into a reverberant, ecstatically ominous haze, and its penchant for the odd mechanical cesura; the Martin, the way its near inaudible opening comes to singular glow; the Malevich, the most varied of the four, how it moves from UFO hovering to a dog’s pant; and the Twombly, which goes as deep and wide as the Martin does high and narrow. Ranging in length from eight to over 13 minutes, the compositions last long enough to get lost in. Kannenberg’s passion for his subjects is evident particularly in the rich rhythms of the Klee and in the teeth-rattling intensity of the Martin as its root pitch rises. These selected artists aren’t merely prime figures from the 20th-century canon. Each in one way or another helped set the aesthetic stage for today’s electronic music: Klee with his colorful abstractions, Malevich with his affection for monolithic simplicity, Martin and her elegant graphs, which always looked like silent musical compositions in the first place, and Twombly with his gestural simplicity. One looks forward to another set of Kannenberg MP3s at an exhibition; here’s a vote for Robert Ryman, Mark Rothko, Piet Mondrian and, just for the fun of it, Jack Kirby. Available for free download here from the Stasisfield netlabel, which Kanneberg runs. More info at stasisfield.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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