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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Monthly Archives: September 2005

Noisejijad MP3

The name of this band is (Sound of Impact). Those parenthesis are part of the name, the reference likely to how the crash of a plane is registered in the transcript of black box recordings. At least that’s what Big Black, the rigorous minimal hardcore band, intended when it used the term for the title of one of its albums. (Sound of Impact), judging by its recent release on the noisejihad netlabel (MP3), is rigorous, minimal and hardcore, though not in any of the ways that Big Black was. The release, a half-hour life recording from a festival held this past summer, is a harsh noise-feast that dispenses with the standard noise m.o. (drones) in favor of an ever-shifting litany of detritus. The root element is the kind of sound a standard microphone records in the wind, that shuddering randomness your ear can’t quite get a grip on. Inserted throughout are sound clips, radio signals, glitches and tones. More info at noisejihad.dk/netlabel.

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Glass-sans-Cocteau Concert Review

My review of a performance of Philip Glass‘ opera La Belle et la Bete, by the Oakland Opera Theater, is just up at classicstoday.com. For La Belle et a la Bete, Glass, who’s done as much to bring synthesizers into the world of classical music as any other living composer, achieved a different kind of electro-acoustic symbiosis. He transposed the dialogue from Jean Cocteau‘s 1946 film La Belle et la Bete, with the intention of singers performing the music live along with the movie. The Oakland company has taken Glass’ transformation of the Cocteau one step further, dispensing with the projection entirely in favor of a stage production.

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Freesound Remix MP3s

Another interesting remix thread at the Freesound project, at freesound.iua.upf.edu. The first file, “bewonderen.aiff,” is a brief sample of a spoken Dutch phrase, translated “to admire,” contributed by Hans Timmermans. Then an Anton Woldhek showed up, attempting in his words “to remove some of the low end and other rumble.” A few weeks ago, dropthedyle arrived and “elongated and mangled” the Woldhek file. Why not join in and fiddle about yourself? There is much to admire at Freesound, an open-source soundfile-sharing project hosted at the website of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

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Game Boy MP3s

There’s so much bippity boppity lo-fi, lo-tech electronic music out there, it’s almost too easy to take comfort in the abstraction of beatless atmospheres. At least with music like soundscapes and field recordings, you can take refuge in your own imagination. The Gainlad netlabel is pumping out exactly the sort of music that should fall short of even low expectations, yet so much of it is addictively listenable. Case in point, Jon Bro‘s three-track Cleanser EP, which appears to have been constructed on a Nintendo Game Boy, or an equivalently underpowered chipset; not only does it sound like the soundtrack to some chaotic Wario adventure, it has these irascible little melodic lines that skip around with an assuredness that much video-game-indebted netlabel pop sorely lacks. Check it out at gainlad.gameboymall.com. Oh, and the label currently has a call out for contributions to a Halloween-themed compilation. Entries are due October 25, so if you’re up for the challenge, then get thee to an arcade, pronto.

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Edible Matthew Herbert MP3

Here’s a puzzle of a recipe. What do the following ingredients yield: Dry coconut, Eden organic grape juice in a glass bottle, organic peanuts in a plastic bag, Mount Hagen decaffeinated organic coffee in a glass jar with a plastic top, and two out-of-season apples? Well, if you’re Matthew Herbert, and those food goods were delivered to your small Brixton studio by representatives of the BBC, then they yield a tidy little upbeat track titled “Esme’s Waltz” (MP3), a chock-a-block wind-up toy of countless little percussive elements. As on Herbert’s new album, Plat du Jour, all of those individual sounds were derived from contorted samples of edible items. The BBC page where the file is housed also includes streaming video of Herbert constructing the track (bbc.co.uk). Esme’s is the name of the store where the goods were purchased.

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