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.

Scene from the Back Bedroom Window (MP3); When a Song Isn’t a Song

Just as the track comes close to reaching the two-minute mark, a voice cuts in. It’s a quiet voice, the sort of murmur you associate with artfully musty and independently financed film, or perhaps what Iron & Wine sounded like until we realized just how poppy it is, or maybe how Low sounds when it sounds least like Iron & Wine. The legibility, as it were, of the voice in the track — it’s echoed in a manner that suggests both technologically engendered and perhaps even human harmony — might mark the whole thing as a song, or as song-like, but the ear at this point is so far along into the haze of the opening, a lightly percussive interplay of texture and tone, that the voice sounds more like narration than it does like singing. This ability of the piece to retain its instrumental-ness even in the presence of a voice says a lot about the accomplishment of the instrumentation, a heavily reverberant hall of sonic mirrors in which guitar strings flutter endlessly.

The track is “Killer” off the EP Scenes from the Back Bedroom Window by the Declining Winter, aka British musician Richard Vincent Adams, more about whom at thedecliningwinter.blogspot.com. A video for the track was made by Brooklyn-based filmmaker Giacomo Belletti:

 

A series of still and near-still images filmed where exurbia and the rural meet, it matches the pace of the song, and it’s arguable that the gap between still and not-still, between pause and narration, matches the tension within the piece as to how much it is a song, and how much it is constructed ambience.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/secretfurryhole, video at vimeo.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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