The temporal proximity of live music performances to their release online as audio documents, whether streaming or downloadable, creates a peculiar shift in the relation between audience and performer. For a long time, such a document was just that: a historic record of an event. But when just a few days pass between the live event and the dispersed recording, it feels more like the record is itself part of the event, that it’s less a recording than a distant echo, that it’s less an accounting of the sound and more of an emanation of the sound. To bask in that echo, to listen to it so shortly after the fact of the initial event, is still a form of participation. That image of a digital-media echo is especially appropriate for this set by wndfrm. A dub- and techno-infused performance he did on January 3 in Vancouver, British Columbia, it’s a prime example of grid music, a slight moiré of gently shifting rhythmic figures, barely a handful of beats heard in a slow, relaxed sequence of changes. There is a period, around 45 minutes into the 54-minute performance, when a tiny clank, like the chirp of some small bird, adds a side beat to the underlying lattice. It’s a moment of techno Jenga, as one more element is added to the existing structure. To wndfrm’s credit, the structure holds.
Here, for reference, are the two tracks that wndfrm cites as source material for his set:
Robert Hood’s “Detroit: One Circle”:
Autechre’s “Goz Quarter”: