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

Chiming MP3 from Chris Herbert

It seems like forever since the excellent record label Kranky has updated its free MP3 page. But a Kranky artist, Chris Herbert, whom many heard for the first time courtesy of a Kranky MP3 posting back around August 2005 (disquiet.com), has recently posted one at his own website, chrisherbert.net. The track, “Quiet Sun,” starts off quietly enough, a chiming figment of lush-ness that feels, on each cycle of its most prominent rhythmic swell, like it may burst into a proper song (MP3). (The file’s name, “autumn.mp3,” refers to the season of its release.) Instead, what it does is slowly fade — how much it fades isn’t particularly evident unless you put the thing on repeat, and then the difference between its quiet close and that opening haze is quite evident. It’s a somewhat rare occurrence of “scream-to-a-whisper” composing, and a delectable one at that.

I corresponded with Herbert about what he called “a peek at the ever-bubbling gumbo,” and he provided some additional details, which he said were OK to reproduce for the general public:

the mp3 is really a little test snippet, no biggie! it’s an offcut (and lord! are there hours of those – i seem to have a real talent for starting tracks that wither on the vine) from what turned out to be an hour-long drone piece which was really just an experiment, it’s not likely to turn up on anything or be documented so i thought i’d post a couple of minutes. the source was originally a track sent to me by a friend called andie who had recorded her bass and voice, i took a short phrase from that and expanded it. we may try and collaborate at some stage so i guess on some level it may have been a ‘proof of concept’.

The Andie in question is identified in the track’s data fields as Andie Brown. Several more Herbert MP3s are downloadable from his myspace.com/chrisherbert page.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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