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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

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The Two Minimalisms

As merged by Loscil

There are many minimalisms. In electronic music, two key ones are the capital-m Minimalism, a movement/school of classical music whose founders include such composers as Steve Reich, Phillip Glass, Terry Riley, and La Monte Young, and the lower-case minimalism, an approach employed by musicians like Taylor Deupree, Steve Roden, and others. The capital-m school has, over time, become a genre, and now counts folks like Max Richter in its ranks. The lower-case one is more of an aesthetic, one felt in ambient music, techno, film scores, and various other realms. There’s significant overlap between the two minimalisms, which are both marked by an attention to rudimentary elements and repetition, and Loscil, aka the Vancouver-based Scott Morgan, merges them formally on the forthcoming Monument Builders, due out in early November on the Kranky label. The title track was posted this week as an advance listen, and it’s a satisfying work in which orchestral instrumentation, notably a horn section around the three-minute mark and a choral part earlier on, emerge from an underlying glitchy drone.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/kranky. More from Loscil at loscil.ca.

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Audio Obscura’s “Artist of the Week” Playlists

The first one features Yasutica Horibe, of Hiroshima, Japan.

SoundCloud has done something of a net-zero adjustment to its social aspect over the past few years. On the one hand, it diminished the presence of discussion groups to the point of making them nearly non-existent. On the other, it increased the means by which non-musicians can contribute. It accomplished this by making reposting a means by which someone can add something to a feed. The reposting has its demerits. Some rampant reposters — and they know who they are — can clog up your feed all too easily. The functionality is the equivalent of Twitter’s “retweets,” though of course it takes a split second to read a tweet, whereas a retweeted hour-long EDM DJ mix or audiobook sample can mess up your afternoon background listening. It’d be nice, as with Twitter, to turn off those retweets — or, in SoundCloud parlance, “reposts.” (It’d also be nice to have another Twitter feature, “lists,” both public and private, but that’s a whole other subject.)

In any case, whether or not reposts have expanded the SoundCloud user base’s sense of collective participation, another feature, used less frequently than reposting, provides a great means by which a listener can contribute to the listening of others. This is the “playlist” functionality. It’s the same tool used by musicians to collect tracks into albums, and it’s a way to make digital mixtapes of material from multiple accounts, too. A great example of the functionality is a new project by Audio Obscura, aka Neil Stringfellow of Norfolk, in the U.K. He’s begun producing short “Artist of the Week” playlists, the first of which features Yasutica Horibe, of Hiroshima, Japan. Horibe records as Stabilo-Speaker-Gain, and his music is a collage of tiny materials, scrapes and drones, threadbare waves and gentle percussives, just beautiful stuff. Stringfellow is onto something here.

More from Stabilo at soundcloud.com/stabilo-speaker-gain. More from Audio Obscura at soundcloud.com/audio-obscura-music, where he’ll post more Artist of the Week playlists, along with is own music.

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Elliptical Techno

From Daiskue Tanabe

So often minimal techno tracks quickly forgo the ear-catching intrigue of their opening moments, and then they simply give themselves over to the expected routine, as pleasurable as that routine may be. Not so the elliptically titled “…..” by Daiskue Tanabe. For “…..” doesn’t just end where it begins. It maintains that sensibility throughout, slightly off-kilter glitch of nanoscale gears that sound like they’re one dust-particle event away from pure chaos.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/daisuketanabe. More from Tanabe at facebook.com/pages/Daisuke-Tanabe.

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Ambient Anxiety

From Sofia, Bulgaria

“Mildly Shallow” is an artfully discomforting bit of ambient anxiety by Mytrip. About four and a half minutes long, it is the sound of dastardly activity heard down a long corridor, voices and actions at once both magnified and muffled. Clanks, once hard instances, yield subtle rhythmic chaos and nuanced tonal haze. Conversation take on the effect of fully composed choral parts. The first mention on Disquiet.com of Mytrip was back in the first half of 2011, and that track has since gone offline. The sense of eternal presence inherent in digitally distributed media is an illusion. Listen to “Mildly Shallow” while it’s still readily available.

Mytrip is Angel S. of Sofia, Bulgaria. More at ijustwannabeabetterman.blogspot.com and twitter.com/angelxgodfree.

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