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.

Slo-mo Steam Whistle MP3

There are certain real-world references that often serve as descriptors when it comes to electronically mediated music. There’s the robotic cycling of the cicada, the semi-sentient hum of an aging refrigerator, the proto-minimal-techno rumble of the subway, the piercing cry of the tea kettle.

As the poster at santafesound.blogspot.com reminds us, those overly familiar sounds mask hidden and mysterious depth. He’s taken a recording of a tea kettle as it reaches the boiling point, for instance, and slowed it to one quarter its original speed. The result is an at times harrowing, and at times warm, series of noises and undulating drones, the complexity of which suggest that more than a single sound source is involved (MP3).

In fact, a car does reportedly pass by at one point, adding “a cool little something,” as the poster puts it. But the core of the 12-minute track is just water being brought to a boil. As a result of his little experiment in process-music, he’s made us slow down and smell the coffee — or, more to the point, he’s slowed down the tea kettle and made us listen.

This same website was the origin of the dying Buddha Machine of last December (disquiet.com).

By Marc Weidenbaum

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