Back this past summer, in early August, the One netlabel posted an 11-track set by its founder, Aaron McCammon, who records under the name Plosive. The record, titled Neutral, didn’t make the best initial impression, built, as it is, from much material that could easily be seen as part of the ongoing resurgence of the sounds of 1980s new-wave pop music (a keyboard-driven genre, by the way, whose impact on electronic music can be all too easily overstated — for example, the Cure, as writer-musician Joe Gore has pointed out, was at times no less a guitar band than the Allman Brothers). Just listen to the bass line toward the start of McCammon’s “Pavlovian Fear” and the touchtone groove of his “Dirty Button” and you’ll risk unwelcome flashbacks. But something about this set kept it on back-burner, mid-list rotation for months. Perhaps it was just wishful thinking at first, as McCammon’s Casio-driven APM was a Disquiet Downstream favorite back in April (check it out here). As it turns out, several of Neutral‘s tracks don’t just grow on you, they grow as they proceed. That same “Pavlovian Fear” appears to get thicker and darker as time passes. Likewise “Loomer,” which opens with dismissible synth tones; by the time it reaches its peak, each element (the slurry background, the whipped around and flappy rhythm) has developed its own quirky complexities. The same can’t be said for the whole album. “New Kitten” is an easy romantic melody, and “The Night Supervisor” sounds like a music-school homework assignment to write an Aphex Twin track (though in that respect it’s no slouch, and deserves at least a B+). Yet just as those tracks begin to lower expectations, “Acorn” shows up, with a lovely, understated melody and a truly catchy beat, the whole thing tweaked with bits of rave-like squeaks, which grow ever so slightly in purpose as the song’s nearly four minutes come to a close. From little things, big things grow. Check Plosive’s Neutral out at the One label (site here, album page here). More on Plosive at plosive.net.
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Nuun: "Hi Mark, I’m truly honored and surprised by your review of my track! Thanks for your carefull listening..."
Marc Arsenault: "Have you ever played a music box over a guitar pickup? Do it. "
reis: "Thanks Super enjoyed this atmospheric masterwork. Love your review …it gains mass detail as it moves..."
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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: • 0248 / Galactic Tick / Celebrate the new celestial holiday in music. • 0247 / Waltz, Maybe / Interpret as a graphic score an illustration drawn upon waking by Lark Pien. • 0246 / Double, Quadruple, Sextuple / Compose a piece of music that increases speed in stages as it proceeds. • 0245 / Practical Music / Write a piece of music for getting things done, suitable for playing on repeat. • 0244 / Euro Mixin / The Assignment: Combine tracks from three different European netlabels (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) into one sonic union.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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