My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

Color-Coded MP3 Album

The previous Disquiet Downstream entry from the musician known as Souns, “Senseless in Space” (here, from back in September of this year), was an accomplishment, and not just in musical terms. Sure, its ambiguous rhythmic play amid aquatic ambience was a pleasure to listen to, but perhaps more to its credit was simply how it had managed to distinguish itself amid the vast context in which it first appeared: as one track among 34 (yes, 34) on the Kikapu netlabel’s Wein, Weib und Gesang compilation, a mere eight minutes in the set’s nearly five hours (yes, five hours) of sound. Two months after the release of Wein, Weib came an 11-track Souns full length, titled Lights. The key elements of “Senseless in Space” are here in spades, the watery feel becoming literal on “Orange” (eight of the set’s tracks take colors as titles, including Duke Ellington’s favorite, “Indigo”), in which field recordings of splashy waves play against a low throb out of the Underworld handbook, and figurative on “Rain,” which samples a percussive rainstick (a closed tube filled with small beans). The familiar industrial undertow pervades the album, notably on “Open Tones,” a lengthy dirge, and “Red,” which has the jumpy pulse of a small machine come to life. The album note on the Kikapu sites explains that this music was created for use during the recent New Forms festival in Vancouver, for an event with “ancient healing” as its theme, and much of the music reportedly involves crystal bowls, credited to a Christine Duncan; also contributing is Anomalous Disturbances, aka ambient guitarist Terry O’Brien. (Souns, by the way, is a pseudonym for Michael Red.) Secular humanists should be forewarned that the album’s description is thick with talk of mantras and chakras, but the music doesn’t bear the marks of typical spiritual-shop background music; there are no canned tropes of indigenous spiritual ceremony, no sign at all of keyboard presets marked “Epiphany.” It’s just expertly textured extended tones that don’t swell so much as they rise up, gently but intently, like a Tule fog. Download the full album here, and check out the netlabel at Kikapu.com. A remix project from Souns, titled Coloured Lights, is said to be due out through Kikapu early next year.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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