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

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Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Swamp Musk MP3

The beautiful thing about artificially produced harmonies, like the picturesque swamp musk of David Last‘s three-minute “Landscape” (MP3), is the indefinite division between a singular complex sound and a set of individual sounds. The piece plays out like a Southern Gothic organ solo, slow as molasses, and about as thick, too. It comes and goes at its own pace, but it isn’t clear what is a matter of carefully placed simultaneous notes, and what is an accident of overtones; what is a matter of matched sonic elements, and what is a trace or refraction of the main sound source. The shape of the harmony, at times wide, at others relatively compact, always fairly dense, moves like a blob across the Platonic staves of the mind’s sheet music. “Landscape” should be heard alongside last week’s “Ghost of the Gulag (Reprise)” by Raz Mesinai (entry), because both are quasi-classical forays by young musicians more closely associated with the Third World studio machinations of dub. On Last’s website, davidlast.net, “Landscape” is described as “Mellow Orchestral Sculpty Beatless,” which just about sums it up. A side note explains “This is an unreleased track that will be part of a sooper-mellow type of release later this year.” Here’s looking forward to it.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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