Despite a reputation for producing experimental electronic music, the prolific British label Ninja Tune manages to maintain a fairly high ratio of signal to noise. The group Up, Bustle and Out‘s Light ‘Em Up, Blow ‘Em Out is a perfect example. If the flute on a track titled “The Beautiful Lure” compares favorably with Ill Communication, don’t expect the association to let up before the record’s end. Though most of the UB&O’s previous releases relied on samples rather than on traditional instruments, this new record suggests that the group is attempting to stake its own claim for marrying studio wizardry with live performance; guests include a pianist, rapper, singers, and tabla and sitar players. The results are somewhat reminiscent of a certain trio of former rap parodists, what with the album’s ersatz downbeat grooves and heavy borrowing of Indian music, jazz, and street sounds. However, there are moments of admirable contemplation amid the party. A track titled “Rain in Tibet” is just that: a steady eaves’ drop of rain, backed by muffled, candid voices, and graced by so small an amount of melody as to figure more like a distant memory. And “Y Ahora Tu” does more with a splash of water and a funky drum loop than one has previously imagined possible.
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5 Most Recent Posts
• February 6, 2019: First day of the new semester of the 15-week "Sounds of Brands" course I teach once a year at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
• March 22, 2019: I'm giving a talk at the Algorithmic Art Assembly, two days of events in San Francisco: aaassembly.org.
• December 13, 2019: This day marks the 23rd anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2020: This day marks the 8th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• Ongoing: The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury, is now in its second printing. It has been translated into Spanish, and is due out soon in Japanese, as well. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
The Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects:
• 0367 / Trio Initiate / The Assignment: Record the first third of an eventual trio.
• 0366 / Ice Breaker / The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it.
• 0365 / 2018 Tracker / The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments.
• 0364 / Casting Drones / The Assignment: Use dice to determine your slowly shifting tones.
• 0363 / Gymnopédie Rats / The Assignment: Make over Erik Satie's "Gymnopédie No. 1" in your chosen genre.
... And there is a complete list of past projects.
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