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

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
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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Vocal Confection

A new track from Brooklyn-based Lanx

Layers of vocal elements combine to form “As We Fall,” some of them hazy and textural, while others feature a restrained but formidable coloratura one might listen for in opera. The track, just over five minutes in length, moves through several phases, in a suite-like fashion, each punctuated with occasional pneumatic beats, chimes, and other percussive elements.

The track is by Lanx, who is based in Brooklyn, and who I believe is Christine Papania of the ensemble Pantree Owl.

Bonus: There’s video of a vocal track-in-progress on vine.co:

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/lanx-music. More from Lanx at twitter.com/__Lanx. More from Pantree Owl at pantreeowl.bandcamp.com.

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The Drone & the Drone

Guitar feedback — perhaps straight outta Miéville-land

Radio Free Ul-quoma is the somewhat imposing name under which Andrew Gladstone-Heighton of Gateshead, England, posts his material at his soundcloud.com account. Perhaps the “Ul-quoma” part is intended as a reference to Ul Qoma, the twin city of Besźel in China Miéville’s great novel The City & the City. Gladstone-Heighton’s most recently uploaded track, “Codeine,” is a rich, slow-motion wave of what appears to be guitar-based improvisation and tonal exploration. There is a foregrounded chordal guitar whorl, like Glenn Branca cooling down at home after a night of intense guitar-multitudes frenzy, or Lou Reed testing out a newly arrived effects pedal with dual the intent of clearing pigeons off the roof. Emanating from that rough noise is a sonic after-image, a combination of dense echoes and hazy feedback. It’s the heavy metal equivalent of chamber music, a fuzz etude.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/radiofreeul-quoma. Come upon thanks to a repost in the SoundCloud stream of Jmmy Kpple.

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Drone Month at AudioMo

A participant in the June-long music-making event

There’s a month-long audio challenge in June called AudioMo (more at twitter.com/AudioMo and audiomo.net). The intention appears to be to get music-makers making music, along the lines of National Novel Writing Month and February Album Writing Month. Here’s a description of AudioMo from its website:

AudioMo is a month long audio challenge, normally held in November. In 2013 just to spice things up it was held in July.

In 2014 and the future the month of AudioMo will be June. Yep June will be the home of AudioMo.

All you do is record audio every day during the month. Tweet the link to that audio and add #AudioMo hashtag.

Yep it really is that simple.

AudioMo started as an audio challenge for the month of November over 5 years ago. This site is the official source of all things AudioMo.

Thank you in advance if you are taking on the AudioMo challenge.

Among the participants is the SoundCloud member sklawlor, who has been uploading a series of daily drones, that latest of which is quite intense and engaging. Hovering and plaintive, it’s slow-moving yet rich with details and tension:

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/sklawlor. The name sklawlor is that of Scott Lawlor from Corinth (presumably in Mississippi), United States.

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Reworking “Radiophonic Satie”

A remix by L-A-J

Larry Johnson has again done me the honor of reworking something I posted, in this case my ukulele-modular piece “Radiophonic Satie,” which he has extended into a stretched ambience of unearthly qualities. He calls it a “Halo Remix,” a choice that I interpret to mean he’s taken my project description at its word and made good on my intent. The note accompany my original piece explains how the ukulele is being treated by the modular synthesis in a manner intended to “introduce a varying, random range of sonic responses to — halos around, reflections of — the inbound signal.” Here’s what Johnson made of it. I found it quite lovely, at several times the length of the original, and marvel at how despite the aggressive attenuation key moments, such as the sonic lens flare at 2:34, are still recognizable:

Originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/l-a-j-1.

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