Thanks to the sort of dark, nearly sub-aural thuds that make speaker cabinets rumble with pulmonary might, the dozen tracks on Products of Passed Days by .at/on (born Anton Holota) contribute to a realignment of the category “headphone listening.” Holota’s emphasis on subtle aural effects, such as the highlights on “Roadside Picnic” that resemble flickering fluorescent bulbs (MP3), not to mention the church-organ-like wavering that opens “Sad to Leave” (MP3), entices the listener’s ears deep into the mix. But the presence of heavy bass patterns — less beats than structural undulations — reminds you that a true musical experience is often a full-body affair, as likely to resonate in the chest cavity as in the noggin.
The contrast between Holota’s delicate sounds and his deeper ones isn’t likely to cause anyone any ear damage; there’s no bait and switch at work, no come-hither quietude followed by a brass-knuckle roar. The kitchen-sink field recordings that are laced through “Western City (Remote View)” don’t suddenly give way to broken-dish cacophony, just to a slowly reverberating drone that is more complex, more organic, than an initial listen might suggest (MP3).
The pace of Products of Passed Days is sedentary, a far cry from the ebullient rhythms of hip-hop. But there is some suggestion of hip-hop’s influence, especially in how percussion is employed. As with many of the best beats emanating from rap-friendly car stereos, the ones heard here are difficult to reconcile with foot-tapping. They are placed far apart and they intrude at odd, often counterintuitive intervals. They’re too insistent to serve as decoration, yet too disperse to ever be considered a proper downbeat. For succinct examples of how Holota plays with percussion, listen to the tripled pattern that runs through “How to Turn Urban Noise into Music (Part 2)” (MP3), to the dappled pads that surface in “Morning from Childhood” (MP3), and to the extended shudders that ripple continuously in “Undreamedof” (MP3).
Get the full set, including front and back cover images, at the releasing netlabel, Complementary Distribution (bitlabrecords.com/cod). More info on .at/on at myspace.com/antonholota.
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5 Most Recent Posts
• October 13, 2016: This day marks the start of the 250th weekly Disquiet Junto project.
• November 16, 2016: I'll be sharing the mic at Adobe Books in San Francisco with my fellow 33 1/3 author Evie Nagy for an evening hosted, from 7pm to 10pm, by Marc Kate (facebook.com).
• December 1, 2016: A likely speaking engagement. Details to come.
• December 13, 2016: This day marks the 20th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 5, 2017: This day marks the 5th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• Ongoing: The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury, is now in its second printing. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
disquiet juntoThe Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects: • 0273 / Alarm Clocked / Make music for a (new! improved!) slow-waking alarm clock. • 0272 / Exoplanetary Intervals / Use music to express the relationships between planets. • 0271 / Prison Sky / Mark the 5th anniversary of open-source software engineer Bassel Khartabil's detention. • 0270 / Just Duet / Record the second half of a duet live. • 0269 / Duet Portion / Record half of a live duet.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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