Here’s one thing that netlabels have in common with traditional labels: various-artist compilations only work well if they have some sort of tenable theme, which Janus, on Stadtgruenlabel, does not, despite a flowery liner note about the two-faced god from which the set takes its name. There are pieces here with the canned maudlin of Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtracks (Martin Donath‘s quarter-speed “Plateau White District”; the simple melodic line of krill.minima‘s “Winterweiss”), with the look-at-me introspection of retro new wave (London Issue‘s “Sofaliebe,” a track that locates the Venn Diagram overlap between Steely Dan’s early pop fusion and Matthew Herbert’s desiccated lounge) and with a techno rhythm so familiar you wonder, for a moment, if it’s being ironic (Selffish‘s “Endless Fall”), but none of them do the others any apparent contextual favors; they don’t work toward any particular goal. However, there is a trio of less beat-oriented fare worth considering together: Lomov‘s “Northwest Passage,” which intimates forward movement with snaps and the occasional beat, but prefers to linger in its ambiguous opacity; Danny Kreutzfeldt‘s excellent soundscape, “Polar,” which is far richer than, if just as arid as, its title suggests; and Scott Taylor‘s “Andesite Black,” another soundscape, with rusty industrial overtones. It can’t be a coincidence that whoever programmed Janus chose those three tracks to open the collection. As for single, standout entries, Dataman‘s lowkey “Winter Panorama Window,” which comes midway through the album, is ambitious enough to demand repeat listens; it fades from a cafe field recording to backward-masked downtempo, with a steady but drama-infused beat. Choose your favorites at stadtgruenlabel.net.
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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.
• 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: • 0263 / Overture Edit / Produce an overture to an existing album. • 0262 / Ice Code / Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it. • 0261 / Audio Journal 2016 / Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen five-second segments. • 0260 / Tone Fade / An exercise in when a sound ends. • 0259 / Signals Lost / Summon up a horror story in sound.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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