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.

Monthly Archives: August 2005

NOLA-tronic MP3s

Just a few quick links today, to MP3s by a unique New Orleans electronic act. Be sure to check out the jury-rigged, light-sensitive synthesizer that is Quintron‘s Drum Buddy, at drumbuddy.com. The site includes MP3s of a half dozen samples of Quintron’s homemade instrument playing the equivalent of a kick drum (MP3), snare (MP3), scratching (MP3) and more. Swamp Tech, his album with Miss Pussycat, is due out on the Tigerbeat6 label on September 20. … And now go visit the Red Cross, and help clean up after Katrina: redcross.org.

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New-Old Scanner MP3s

Robin Rimbaud, better known as Scanner, is often ahead of the game. Case in point, he’s posted his September update to his website, scannerdot.com, a few days early. Besides summarizing his various art-world activities, he’s substantially expanded the amount of downloadable music in the site’s MP3 section. There’s a ton of new (and new old) material to get through. It’s not entirely clear what’s there for the first time, and what’s been added, but highlights in the “Miscellany” section include a 2005 commission for the BBC (MP3) in which he samples the names of countries, nationalities, organizations and other groups mentioned in a broadcast (it’s like he’s working a mixing-board fader in the newsroom, sounding like an extended, if artful, station-ID tag) and a wistful 2005 remix of a chamber piece by composer Garrick Jones that lays a stately oboe part above pop-tribal percussion and held synth tones (MP3). One tip: after downloading a Scanner MP3, be sure to exit his website, because it has it own soundtrack, a low-level layer of mechanical dread, which plays continuously.

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Rhythm ‘n’ Drones MP3s

Jo Jena‘s Rhythm ‘n’ Drones, from the test tube netlabel, could just as easily exchange that “‘n'” for an “or.” The album’s eight tracks are divided in two: half are titled “Rhythm I” through “Rhythm IV,” the other half “Drone I” through “Drone IV.” A standard rhythmic track, like “Rhythm II,” features crafty guitar counterpoint that evades a strict downbeat by suggesting many. To Jena, it turns out, this is what constitutes rhythm: something sharp and hard, of definite shape and pulsating with momentum. Other variations include scraped percussion and a moire pattern of pizzicato action, but the real keeper, “Rhythm III” (MP3), sounds, of all things, like ersatz African juju pop music, complete with sour bent notes. Jena’s drones are equally varied, including the industrial hum of “Drone I,” which is textured with scrapes, and the orchestral-sounding “Drone II.” The album is organized in a kind of broken symmetry: alternating rhythms and drones three times, and then reversing for the final pair. According to a note on Jena’s site, jo-jena.com, “‘rhythm ‘n’ drones’ consists of eight pieces which should be listened to without (even very short) pauses.” Get the full set at the test tube site, monocromatica.com/netlabel, and listen to them as you wish.

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Email Status

Any email sent to me between late afternoon yesterday, August 28, and this morning, August 29, may have gone missing, coincident with some backend changes at my webhost. If you sent anything important during that time, and don’t hear back from me within a week, you may want to send it again. Sorry for the hassle.

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Tangents (AudioFiles, Bumbershoot, Moog)

Quick Links and News: (1) The University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum will exhibit AudioFiles, with work by Celeste Boursier-Mougenot, Christian Marclay and Stephen Vitiello from September 9 through October 21 (usfcam.usf.edu). … (2) A woodpecker has been tentatively removed from the extinction list, thanks to analysis of field recordings taken in Arkansas (link, via boingboing.net). … (3) An overview of music-related activities at this year’s Burning Man, which starts tomorrow and runs through September 5 (via createdigitalmusic.com); (4) also via createdigitalmusic.com, using a railroad controller as a music interface. … (5) Experimental interface that recognizes sound waves inherent in specific objects (intriguing but not entirely clear, via gizmodo.com, Module Records). … (6) Jon Brion (Punch-Drunk Love) is still attached to score Paul Thomas Anderson‘s adaptation of Upton Sinclair‘s novel Oil!, but the film is now listed on IMDB.com as There Will Be Blood. … (7) A movie reviewer in the Framingham Tab (from Framingham, Massachusetts) used the phrase “visual music” to describe Wong Kar Wai‘s newest film, 2046 (link). … (8) Six days after he passed away, still no search return for composer Luc Ferrari, an early proponent of musique concrete, at news.google.com.

… Good Reads: (1) A Seattle Times overview of the sound art at this year’s Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle (link); among the participants are composers Janice Giteck, Marina Rosenfeld, Steve Roden, Stephen Vitiello and others. The festival runs from September 2 through 5 (bumbershoot.org). … (2) This is about a month old, but there’s a solid interview with sludge-metal king Dylan Carlson of the band Earth in the Seattle Weekly, noting a recent remix album with contributions from Jim O’Rourke, Justin Broadrick, Autechre and others (link). … (3) From August 25, the New York Times on a massive performance work, titled Patria, by sound ecologist and composer R. Murray Schafer (link). … (4) Also from the New York Times, a review of a performance of Terry Riley‘s In C that opted to drop the trademark “repeating C”: “That decision, though it made the piece sound slightly naked at first, allowed for an extra measure of fluidity in this already free-flowing score” (link).

… Select New Releases: (1) Library TapesAlone in the Bright Lights of a Shattered Life (Resonant) uses the piano as a starting off point for moody instrumental experimentation. … (2) DMX Krew‘s Wave arrives on Aphex Twin’s label (Rephlex). … (3) Rapper-producer Kanye West enlisted Jon Brion‘s assistance on Late Registration (Def Jam); expect plenty of instrumental 12″s. … (4) One-time rave regular BT scored Stealth (Varese Sarabande). … Also, (5) noise-meister DJ Scotch Egg‘s KFC Core (ADAADAT), (6) Sovacusa‘s Centrepoint (Expanding) and (7) Arvo Part‘s Lamentate (ECM) with the Hilliard Ensemble, Andrey Boreyko conducting SWR Radio-sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, and pianist Alexei Lubimov.

… Disquiet Heavy Rotation: (1) I’ve spent much of the past week trolling for audio in the growing repository of the Freesound project, freesound.iua.upf.edu, though as of this writing the web link seems to be dead. … (2) The CD that accompanies Katharine Norman‘s self-admittedly “quirky” book about sound as art, Sounding Art (Ashgate), includes tracks by Terre Thaemlitz, Paul Lansky, Francisco Lopez, Francis Dhomont and Norman herself, among others.

… Quote of the Week: Robert Moog, quoted posthumously in the Los Angeles Times (link), speaking of his namesake invention: “One of the many things you could do was imitate vocal sounds — make it go ‘Weeoooooww.’ That really upset [people]. The reaction was a bit like that of primitive cultures believing cameras could catch your soul.”

PS: This post initially had an account of the passing of film composer Elmer Bernstein, which apparently happened a year ago. Sorry for my error.

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