It’s pointless to try to close a year of Disquiet Downstream entries with a bang. When you traffic in understated music, as this site has for eight years, what are you going to do? Break ranks by linking to a high-decibel field recording of explosives, and scare everyone away? Well, maybe. But in light of yesterday’s entry (here), which touched on how the World Wide Web helps illuminate the connections between dispersed artists, the last day of 2004 seems like a good opportunity to check back in on, if not tie off, a small handful of loose ends:
1. Back in March (here), the Ninja Tune label announced a contest in which you could remix the raw materials from which the Wroclaw, Poland-based group Skalpel produced its song “Break In,” a cinematic mix of fusoid jazz and electronic exotica from their self-titled debut album. The “Break In” elements consisted of 27 bits and pieces, ranging from drum tracks to background noise. The label chose a winner from over a hundred entries, and posted it, along with three runners-up and seven short-listed entrants. The champions, a duo consisting of Jeff Bruce Hay and Rob Quickenden, emphasized the loungey atmosphere of the original. All 11 winners, plus the original track, are downloadable at ninjatune.net.
2. Speaking of music competitions, it’s been a while since checking in with the kracfive.com crew and, especially, its Iron Chef of Music challenges. The most recent one, dating from October 22, features Logreybeam, Colongib, Noah and Relative Q mixing up some wacky-robot clips by music-for-kids innovator Bruce Haack. Check ‘em out kracfive.com. Also available: results of an October 9 contest based on Robocop and an August 8 contest built from a Lord of the Rings trailer.
3. For a long time, Keith Fullerton Whitman (aka Hrvatski) put up monthly free MP3 files of his music on his reckankomplex.com site, and many of them were Downstream entries. Earlier this year he pretty much stopped, in favor of a cool “radio” tool that, at last count, featured 75 streaming tracks. This doesn’t mean, though, that KFW downloads are gone for good. In November, for instance, the British music magazine The Wire posted on its download page (thewire.co.uk) a delicate, nearly 20-minute solo “guitar/computer” performance recorded at the Adventures in Modern Music festival held in Chicago this past September.
4. One subject of the December 8 entry (here), William Fowler Collins, is, like many electronic musicians, also a graphic designer. He just announced the launch of the website he produced for an acclaimed San Francisco Bay area musical figure, John Bischoff: johnbischoff.com. Bischoff’s new web home includes four segments from his Aperture CD (on the 23Five label), each of which investigates the trebly upper reaches of the ear’s capacity for sound, with internecine clicking and whirring.
OK, that should cover it for 2004. I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their correspondence, their listening suggestions and their general feedback on the Disquiet.com website. See you next year — or, that is, in less than 12 hours.