It feels a little late for holiday music, but there’s really nothing season-specific about “Christmas 1983,” a free MP3 (download) from PanAmerican, culled reportedly from the same recording sessions as PanAm’s Quiet City album (2004, on Kranky Records, whose website, kranky.net, hosts the file). Note for the anti-Santa camp: the Kranky website refers to it as “Christmas 1983,” but the MP3 appears to carry the more secular title, “December 1983.” It opens with a heartbeat pulse and some seemingly computer-generated ambience, and soon enough a six-string enters, playing at a determinedly rudimentary pace. Occasional tones match and hold the pitch of a given guitar note, like it’s too good not to linger over — the sonic equivalent of a ghost image. Only a little quieter than that confectionary haze is some natural background noise (a little movement, perhaps a muffled voice, some shuffling), which lends the whole production a down-home appeal that contrasts nicely with (or, more to the point, subsumes) the more markedly digital elements. Midway through, Mark Nelson (who essentially is PanAm) starts talk-singing (“the streets are in ruins… “), and the combination of his detached vocals and the automation of the track sounds like nothing so much as a long lost Underworld song, like “Born Slippy” in super-slomo. The MP3 is part of Kranky’s ongoing semi-monthly giveaways. More info at kranky.net, under “news and tour updates.”
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• 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.
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• 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: • 0253 / Doorbell Rehab / Record some welcome music. • 0252 / Sonic Palindrome / Make music that sounds the same backwards and forwards. • 0251 / Soothing Sounds for Parents / Remix some music for infants with parents in mind. • 0250 / Soothing Sounds for Junto / Make some peaceful music for an infant child. • 0249 / 80 Phases / Wish the minimalist composer Steve Reich a happy birthday.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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