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.

Monthly Archives: October 2011

William Fowler Collins, of Generation Drone, Live (MP3)

It will be interesting to read retrospective impressions, a decade from now, about the generation of musicians who gave themselves over to the drone — a generation of musicians who dispensed with the recognizable and memorable sequences of melodic elements of their recent predecessors, and instead distinctly favored a tonal bliss (and seeming stasis) whose unique properties divulge themselves only through close listening, deep patience, and side-by-side comparison.

There will be vast amounts of music to be revisited, ranging throughout genres, from doom metal gongs to rural country ambience to everday noises derived from the realm of European free improvisation. No doubt the work of William Fowler Collins will be considered. Perhaps drone scholars will focus on the recording of his live performance at the On Land Festival in San Francisco from 2009. An MP3 of it was posted earlier today for free download at the website of the record label Root Strata (rootstrata.com), which sponsored the concert series, and it is already circulating widely. (It’s enclosed in a Zip file and housed on the mediafire.com service.)

I was at the concert. In my review at the time, “On Land Festival, Opening Afternoon,” I noted how Collins, who performed solo, “evoked his adopted home of the southwest by producing rich, feedback-intense approximations of Ennio Morricone soundtracks; he patiently limned the delicate no man’s land between abstraction and melody.” As heard in the MP3, the concert was even darker than description at the time suggests. When the sound of a lap guitar arises, it’s as if a whole world of hurt has been unpacked from a single chord from an old Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys recording. When waves of feedback waft up, it’s like the the entire Neil Young catalog has been set afire. And on the occasion when rhythm dares to present itself, as a nascent chugga-chugga, the failure — the determined failure — to resolve into a deeper, more trenchant phrasing reveals the piece as an especially maudlin vestige of doom metal. The sense of ritual, of ceremony, makes a very strong impression.

Track originally posted at rootstrata.com. More on Collins at williamfowlercollins.com.

He has a new album, The Resurrections Unseen, out on the Type label, and it is streaming freely at soundcloud.com:

More on the new release at typerecords.com.

Tags: , / Leave a comment ]

Iowa City Ambient (MP3)

Earlier this year, this site’s Downstream department output was increased to daily from weekdaily, to seven days a week from five days a week. The goal wasn’t so much to increase the number of recommended free downloads, though that was an obvious result. The goal was to free up space for repetition. In other words, I wasn’t as interested in increasing the number of musicians I highlighted as I was in increasing opportunities to repeat appearances by specific musicians. The thinking was, the more slots available, the less stingy it will feel to focus on more than one occasion on the same musician.

Mark Rushton is such a musician. Based in Iowa City, Iowa, he has produced an extensive array of ambient music that has a rural intent, due in large part to its frequent rootedness in field recordings. A recent track added to his soundcloud.com/markrushtoncom account, two minutes and twenty two seconds titled “Machine Shine,” veers from the lush haze common to his work in favor of something, per its title, more mechanical. Despite which pulsing mathematics, it still retains a simplicity and elegantly threadbare quality that marks it as clearly his own.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/markrushtoncom. More on him at markrushton.com.

Tag: / Leave a comment ]

Revisiting Spanish Glitchpop (MP3s)

The first appearance of the word “bacanal” on this website dates from April 26, 2005. As with subsequent appearances here of that word, it related to a release by Bacanal Intruder, a wonderful laptop musician based in Spain whose music is routinely marked by a blippy breeziness, a winsome glitch that that suggests nothing less than Jacques Tati’s giggling at the absurdity of automation, a kitchen-sink approach that is like sonic clutter that suddenly snaps into place — if by “place” is meant an intricately coordinated, rhythmically ingenious, jubilantly playful compositional zone that the Intruder alone inhabits. He’s recently begun posting tracks to a soundcloud.com/bacanalintruder account, among them the six items that constitute a 2005 EP titled Just Kidding. In the posting he quotes a review that sums it up well: “this little masterpiece full of little hymns and transparent melodies. … [W]e find trumpets, trombones, clarinets, horns, harp, tuba, celesta, violins, congas, spoons … All perfectly seasoned with lively house brand rhythms.”

The EP was originally released by the Tokyo-based label Duotone as a 3″ CD-R (“for their ‘music for pleasures series'”). Get the full set, streaming and freely downloadable, at soundcloud.com/bacanalintruder. More on Bacanal Intruder at bacanalintruder.com and twitter.com/bacanalintruder.

Tags: , / Comment: 1 ]

Past Week at Twitter.com/Disquiet

  • RIP, Jimmy Savile (b. 1926), original Top of the Pops host and Britain's "first pop disk jockey" http://t.co/lKen0kYy #
  • Nice if @goodreads made API babies with movie/food/app services. Got enough books. Like to know what DeLillo fans are drinking. #
  • RT gregdavismusic: @disquiet my eventide harmonizer is broken and I can't fix it #fourthworldproblems #
  • Fans of Jon Hassell should reclaim the #fourthworldproblems hashtag from the science-fiction gags. #
  • Thought passing siren was part of this drone I was listening to. #fourthworldproblems #noiselife #
  • Pro tip: to increase volume of barber shop, close eyes. #
  • Remix contests are great because it's great to focus on the individual stems that are provided. Sometimes the submissions are good, too. #
  • Read more »
Tag: / Leave a comment ]

When Synthesizers Postulate about Interstellar Sheep (MP3)

When an album cover shows Minecrafty visions of interstellar pixel sheep, one shouldn’t be surprised that the music has the kind of canned bliss often associated with early digital synth music. There are two tracks on Le Voyage du quadrupède by Pecora Pecora, and the opening, “Vent ionique,” indeed has the pulse and sheen and automation of mid-period Tangerine Dream at its most pop-kosmische, but the second, “Las Valse de Gogol,” drops the metronomic activity in favor of something more sinuous and burbly and wavering. It still sounds primed to serve as the score to a midnight event at the local planetarium (a brief liner note provides the album’s program: “A quadruped takes off aboard the Pecora Pecora spaceship on a trip across the infinite and the discovery of a timeless planet”), but it’s also subtle enough for general use (MP3).

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Get the full set of Le Voyage du quadrupède, for streaming and free download, at notype.com. More from and on Pecora Pecora, which consists of Valérie Bilodeau and Marcello Marandola, at descaillouxetducarbone.com.

Tags: , / Leave a comment ]