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11 MP3s in Search of Ingmar Bergman

At the tail end of last year, the Praemedia record label spun off its own netlabel, focused on freely downloadable music. Named Lucescit, the netlabel (located at lucescit.praemedia.com) had as its first release a various-artists set titled Shimmering Green Bird: A Tribute to Ingmar Bergman, 11 tracks dedicated to the dour and introspective Swedish director (The Seventh Seal, Fanny and Alexander, Persona). Among the highlights of Shimming Green is “Mute Echo (In Honor of Persona)” by Agnes Szelag and Caroline Penwarden. It features overlapping vocals, like something the Roaches might have attempted during one of their least pop-minded phases. The moans, all vowelly glossolalia, are set to echo, per the title, into the background, occasionally achieving a tension in beading tones (MP3). Two “Sarabande” tracks by Lance Grabmiller, the proprietor of both Lucesit and Praemedia, take one of JS Bach‘s solo cello suites as its point of origin. “Sarabande 1” (MP3) opens with crackling old vinyl, the melody — the original was the pinnacle of hummable math — played out a la Wendy Carlos, the tones rudimentally synthesized, the pace as slow as a lullaby. Eventually there’s an intrusion of rambling percussion, something that’s played up even more in “Sarabande 2” (MP3). Robert Scott Thompson’s “Passagio” is the set’s most ethereal, structured as a series of ghostly reverberations (MP3). Other participants in Shimmering Green include A Million Billion, Phillip Greenlief, Encomiast, George Cremaschi, The Beautiful Room Is Empty, Nathan Hubbard, and Nina Deering. Get the full batch at lucescit.praemedia.com, available both as MP3s and “lossless” FLAC files.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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