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

Live Scanner (& Co.) MP3s

Last month, Scanner (aka Robin Rimbaud) pointed from his website, scannerdot.com, to a live set available for free download. His performance is, in fact, one of seven by different artists packed into a massive (nearly 100-megabyte) collection recorded as part of the Störung Festival 2.0, held in May of this year (download). The festival’s website, storung.com, also includes related video streams.

As an artist and musician, Scanner has many modes: dance DJ, storyteller, installation artist, drone-fetishist, remixer. The style of this performance might best be described as tour guide. It opens with familiar Scanner elements: introspective voices and filmic background synthesis, but soon a beat sets in, and that won’t be the last of the transformations before its 15 minutes have concluded, though it does settle into an extended period of tribal drumming.

As for the other pieces (each of which opens with the exact same digital-effluvia call signal, and each of which lasts for a quarter of an hour), Daniel Cortese and Stefabo Zati’s dives headlong into vibrant field recordings, which are then fuzted with in a variety of ways, digitally, before reverting to what seems to be “natural” analog sound.

Elufo uses scintillates that twinkle with the quiet assuredness of distant satellites; brief moments allow thuddy percussion to intrude, before the whole thing quite suddenly escalates at the end to wildly fluctuating white noise.

The highlight of Asférico’s minimal techno piece is a woodblock beat that serves as a lead “voice.” La Jovenc‘s sounds at times like a deeply sublimated remix of a Satie piano recording. Nigul‘s begins with horror-flick-ready atmospheres before moving to what are better termed atmospherics, disturbing aural set pieces of steam pipes and foreboding percussion. And Pygar‘s sounds like the score to a holiday in Second Life: an extended sequence of synthesized breezes gives way to excellent, glitch-seasoned, club-ready dub.

One note: the file is saved as an RAR archive, a Zip-style compression format that not every computer operating system readily unpacks. I believe that Apples are preset to open RARs, but for users of Windows (my primary operating system, though I do have an eye on that new EEE line of Linux-powered machines) I recommend the freeware ZipGenius zipgenius.it). Alternate software recommendations are always appreciated.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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