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.

Ambient Haze MP3s

What a beautiful thing, to hear a sample in its original state, to discover a source in its initial context. The subject of a recent Disquiet Downstream entry, Souns’ “Senseless in Space” (here), noted the inclusion of sound elements credited to one Anomalous Disturbances, which turns out to be the pseudonym of a Vancouver, BC-based ambient guitarist named Terry O’Brien. O’Brien has a handful of MP3 files up on his website, including the church-like “Sombunall,” off his HovR CD, and the purposefully more formless “The Spirit Molecule,” off his album of that name. O’Brien builds his richly atmospheric tracks from heavily (very heavily — there are none of the vestiges of familiar six-string sounds you might recognize in the work of, say, Keith Fullerton Whitman or Fennesz) processed guitar, a live-looping format he links back to Terry Riley, Robert Fripp and others. He also annotates his releases with detailed technological information, so if you want to know what bank of hardware helped produce the downright dreamy pulses of “Spirit Molecule,” with its slurry bits of vibrancy, you can easily ascertain that this involved “the Line6 DL4 looping delay stompbox, an E-Bow and various efx processors” and a long list of other equipment. The open book that is his studio is a gracious, if geeky, act, especially in this age of proprietary softsynth algorithms and pricey plug-ins, but it’s O’Brien, not his home studio, who deserves the credit for the murky depths of his work. Of particular note is his apparent penchant for recording straight to tape and then lightly performing some minor post-production edits, which lends his work its liveliness. O’Brien’s music, at least as represented by these two MP3s, benefits from his patience and his emphasis on slow-burn improvisation. More info, including the MP3s (under the Music tab), at anomalousdisturbances.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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