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.

tag: live-performance

Wire and Tin

An experiment in percussion, and a lesson in tagging

RP Collier of Portland, Oregon, makes spare and admirable use of tags on his SoundCloud account. It means one thing when a track of Collier’s is tagged “ambient” and another when it says “minimal” — and as for “percussion,” that seems to signify something else entirely. The work is “minimal” in the sense of limited resources, but it’s quite apart from minimal music otherwise, quite ecstatic and exploratory, pushing the tools in various directions, from springy resonance to abstract rhythmic opportunities. Collier explains the piece in this case was made with the following setup: “Pulling and plucking thin piano wire through tiny holes drilled in the center top and bottom of a medium-size cookie tin.” And despite being more a collection of sonic potentialities than a self-contained composition, a working out of a small set of equipment, the piece ends with a little flourish.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/rpcollier.

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Like a Robot Tuvan Choir

A live solstice performance by Gretchen Jude

Gretchen Jude’s “Midsummer Dark” track was performed live this year at Oakland, California’s annual Garden of Memory, an annual solstice event that takes place in a columbarium and invites a wide range of musicians. Her sole instruments on this appear to be a synthesizer made from a kit in the famed (at least famed in the maker set) Japanese magazine Gakken and a sampler from Roland, the SP-404. That isn’t intended as gear-hound talk, just as a recognition of the systems in play. The result is glottal, droning mass, the undulating layers like a robot Tuvan choir. For 16-plus minutes straight, she pushes at the drone, eking out impressive states yet never piercing the veil.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/gretchenjude. More on the Garden of Memory at gardenofmemory.com. More from Gretchen Jude at gretchenjude.weebly.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0143: Tuning the Hood

The Assignment: Play a live duet with the world outside your window.

20140925-window

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at Disquiet.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.

For the duration of the project new tracks will be added to this playlist:

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, September 25, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, September 29, 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 0143: Tuning the Hood
The Assignment: Play a live duet with the world outside your window.

The steps this week are straightforward, and fairly open-ended. You’ll be recording a live performance of between two and five minutes.

Step 1: Choose a single musical instrument that you feel comfortable performing on solo for an extended period of time.

Step 2: Position yourself near an open window.

Step 3: You’ll be recording your performance, as well as the sounds outside your window. Position the microphone in a manner so that, to whatever extent possible, the outside is at a volume level somewhat equal to that of your instrument. This might best be accomplished by using two microphones simultaneously, and adjusting the volume after the performance and recording process are complete.

Step 3: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 4: Listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow participants.

Deadline: Monday, September 29, 2014, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your finished work should be between two and five minutes in length.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and 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 “disquiet0143-tuningthehood″ 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 143rd Disquiet Junto project — “Play a live duet with the world outside your window″ — at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/09/25/disquiet0143-tuningthehood/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Photo associated with this project by Takashi M and used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/fgQjCP

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Autechre Live from Poland

A Kraków 2014 show for free download

20140923-warp25

There’s a specific nature to the sound of a concert bootleg. Foreground and background are reversed. The cheers of the crowd seem like they’re an elbow away, while the music recedes amid the audience, as if heard in snatches, bobbing between heads and shoulders, glimpsed over ears and beneath the rims of baseball hats. Such is this recording, reportedly of a live Autechre show from Kraków, Poland, taped by Martin Mohyla and posted for free download — there’s an FLAC and an MP3 (320 kbps) available — with the permission of Autechre member Sean Booth (half of the duo, the other half being Rob Brown). The brief liner note at neuralcorrosion.com, where the audio is hosted, says it was recorded in the front row, but that’s less meaningful at an amplified concert, especially an electronic one, than at, say, a solo acoustic set. The speakers at a show like this aren’t at the front of the stage, which is why the best seats, from a sonic standpoint, are often midway back near the mixing board. Still, it’s a bracing performance, the muddy sound lending a grit and minimal-techno dankness to the music, balancing the increasingly digital brittleness that has marked the group’s output in recent years. The beats are pounding, often subaural, thudding machinations from deep below. Other elements interject, as if from a separate train of thought, including jittering higher-pitched percussion, rough noises, and hazy synthesized cloud formations. The music changes continuously, from horror movie anxiousness to blank ephemera, from pop minimalism to desiccated EDM, club anthems left in tatters. Presumably this was the September 20, 2014, show at the Forum Hotel that also included Battles, Darkstar, LFO, Rustie, Hudson Mohawke, Patten, Bibio, and Plaid, the latter two in DJ sets. The event was one in a series to celebrate the Warp label’s 25th anniversary, more on which at warp25.net.

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The Radio as Divining Rod

Video of a live performance by Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello

Even had the Downstream section of this site not expanded recently to include non-downloadable music, it should long ago have paid more attention to video, if for no reason other than the fact that videos are often, such as this live performance by Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello taped back in February, intended for offline use. (That said, since this site was online for over a decade before running images, the lack sense of urgency was in the DNA.) The Roden-Vitiello set is an alternately tandem and tag-team project recorded at Eclats in Bourdeaux. They both have at portable sets of modular synesizer tools — plus radio, which Roden wields like a divining rod, and laptop, and a few other devices — in this nearly 40-minute piece. Small vocal snippets are heard amid characteristically slow-moving figments, more textural than melodic, the reluctant pace providing sly cover for just how much sonic material is being heard at any given moment.

More from Roden at inbetweennoise.com and from Vitiello at stephenvitiello.com. The video was shot by Etienne Coussirat. More from Eclats at eclats.net.

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