February 13, 2014, is the official release date for my 33 1/3 book on Aphex Twin's 1994 album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.


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Backward Masking the Back Catalog

A reverse homage by Blevin Blectum

If “Entrenched Walking” by Blevin Blectum seems like it could be an old Michael Jackson song — or something else of his era — played in reverse, the impression has some founding beyond the track’s sonics, beyond the mid-tempo gait that has the slipstream and blunted affect of audio that has been backward-masked, beyond the transitions between chorus and verse that are more sudden than the norm, beyond the funhouse-mirror of pop that the overall track suggests. While Blectum on SoundCloud simply annotated the piece as “from the ash heap of moderately ancient history,” an old Facebook post of hers fills in some blanks. The track was intended as part of something titled Silk Ears from Sows’ Purses, which as the name suggests was about turning something into something else, perhaps by way of improvement:

“these are things I made for friends out of their most / least favorite bad music ;)

“not sure where these will go / are going either. obviously, some copyright issues here…”

When the magazine The Wire included the track as part of a setlist back in June 2008, the audio was listed as “not yet released.” Blectum posted this to SoundCloud about six months ago.

Track originally posted to soundcloud.com/blevinblectum. Her home page is at blevinblectum.com.

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The Aphex Blimp Heard Round the World

And slowing a Drukqs track to 33 1/3 from 45


Yesterday word spread of an Aphex Twin blimp floating over London, following up a report on the We Are the Music Makers message board back in June that Richard D. James had said “New shit is imminent.” It was WAtMM that had Kickstarter’d that Joyrex (re)release earlier this year, and the blimp serves to support the “imminent” assertion. People celebrated in various ways, and Twitter was alive with commentary, among it this X-Files meme-ified version of the blimp, courtesy of Audio Damage’s Chris Randall, shown up top. I had some fun, too, joking “First ever hot air balloon inflated with a Ventolin inhaler,” among other things.

And over on SoundCloud, Vapor Lanes uploaded something that had been a favorite tweak of his for years: slowing down “Vordhosbn” off the Drukqs album from 45 rpm to 33 1/3. The track retains its flexible percussive action, but slowed down it’s more readily relaxed into by the listener:

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/vaporlanes. Found thanks to a soundcloud.com/leberger repost.

And, yes, speaking of “33 1/3,” I wrote the 33 1/3 book on Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II, released earlier this year to mark the album’s 20th anniversary.

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Alt-worldly Liturgical Music

From Tim Rowe (InnerVox) of London

InnerVox is Tim Rowe of London, and “End of the Day” is a brief bit of his alt-worldly liturgical music. Not “other worldly,” which would suggest celestial in origin and exotic in its differences from our own, but alt-worldly: just different enough to suggest a realm in close near parallel proximity to ours, but one where even if the laws of physics are the same, culture and technology have proceeded slightly askew. The breathy chords of “End of the Day” have the texture of a pipe organ, but the rough timbral presence goes far beyond that of standard instrumentation. Slightly off-kilter, near-miss phrasings bring to mind the disorienting, around-the-beat essence of carillon bells.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/innervox. More from Rowe at twitter.com/timgrowe and innervox.bandcamp.com.

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Xenobiological Field Work — and More

A unique vision of elegant dread, outta Sweden

If “A Small Gray Object” by Sweden-based Pythagora were just the opening segment of downtempo pneumatic clang, it would be a find bit of minimal techno re-envisioned as a purely acoustic pursuit. If it were just what followed, a more meandering and droning expanse of sound design, it would be fine a horror score. If it were just the documentarian sound of grave digging and chain rattles, it would be a sheer nightmare vision. If it were just the subhuman grunting, subsumed in the quoatidian noise, it would be xenobiological field work. But, at under eight minutes in length, it is all these things and more. Whether through-composed or improvised live, with Pierre Sjöbring bearing a co-credit, it is a unique vision of elegant dread.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/pythagora. Pythagora is Dan Henry Pålsson of Malmö, Sweden.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0137: Old-Time Electronica

The Assignment: Produce an original piece of music that fits the genre "old-time electronica."

Closeup of Babbage Difference Engine #2

Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

This assignment was made in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, August 14, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, August 18, 2014, as the deadline.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0137: Old-Time Electronica
The Assignment: Produce an original piece of music that fits the genre “old-time electronica.”

All Disquiet Junto projects employ constraint as a means to stimulate creativity and productivity. Sometimes this means limiting oneself to specific source material, other times to a conceptual approach, and there’s always the additional constraint of time: the deadline is approximately four days, depending on your time zone.

For this Disquiet Junto project, the constraint is a matter of terminology. This week we’re exploring how the concept of “genre” can itself serve as a restraint, and we’ll accomplish this by pushing back at genre conventions.

The project instructions are straightforward: Record an original piece of music that you feel belongs within the genre of “old-time electronica.”

Restrictions: You can use any source material, any instrumentation, except the human voice.

Deadline: Monday, August 18, 2014, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your finished work should be between 1 minute and 4 minutes.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0137-oldtimeelectronica″ in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 137th Disquiet Junto project — “Produce an original piece of music that fits the genre ‘old-time electronica’″ — at:


More on the Disquiet Junto at:


Join the Disquiet Junto at:


Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:


Photo associated with this track, of a working Babbage Engine, by Larry Johnson, courtesy of a Creative Commons license at:


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