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

Early-1990s Glitch (MP3)

Another treasure from ubu.com: the 1993 album by Bernhard Günter, Un Peu de Neige Salie. Well, four of the original album’s five tracks, judging by various discographic reference sources. Günter is a major micro-sonicist, and these tracks exemplify his detail-oriented approach, even if one of them is, by his own explanation, a real career anomaly. It is also a very early example of glitch, the sound of microscopic error, a sound that was arguably to then-nascent electronic music what the blue note was to jazz.

The piece is the one with which the album opens, “Untitled I/92”; it is, in its composer’s own words, “the only work using synthesized sounds I have ever released” (MP3).

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And it’s not just for historical reasons that the track is required listening. It is metronomically glitchy, drawing the ear in with ever so minute sounds. These little aural pin pricks set down the barest of rhythms, only to be upset by sudden shuddering — even giving in, somehow being subsumed by, a sound that by all measure save experience is even tinier still. It’s a high-pitched, dogs-worst-friend whine that’s filament thin and all the more compelling, attention-grabbing, for its near-non-existence. In the end, it’s like some figment particle fixated on by a sleep-deprived physicist.

Get the full set at ubu.com. More on Günter at myspace.com/bernhardguenter.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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