New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • Disquiet.com F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

Digital Variations on Harp, Guitar, Flute

If the 17-minute A-side of Colin Andrew Sheffield and James Eck Rippie‘s Variations (Elevator Bath, 2003) seems to shimmer, credit that scintillation at least in part to the source material: this lengthy ambient piece is apparently built from the sounds of a harp, once the mood-setting instrument of courts and kings. Likewise, the vinyl LP’s cut B1 is built upon a guitar, and B2 upon a flute. The album is a half-hour-plus trio of aural-for-aurality’s-sake ruminations on singular instruments. Sheffield and Rippie dig deep into their raw goods, so even when the instruments are less than recognizable post-production, their core sound — their aural aura — remains present in some form. The tone, if not the technique, sings through: the guitar splayed into slowly ringing sine waves, the harp a crystalline surface extending into the distance.

All of the work on Variations was reportedly recorded live with Sheffield on sampler and Rippie on turntables and guitar. Of the three tracks, the least static of the variations is the one that closes the album, the one based on a flute. There’s much more than a flute in that cut — a wash resembles nearby surf, and there’s a downright eerie granularity at times — but it’s the occasional bit of tentative embouchure that grounds the atmospheric goings-on. The flute track, although eight minutes in length, is listed on the sleeve as an “excerpt,” and one can only imagine where it might have gone had it extended into double digits. The guitar piece, at close to ten minutes, ends quite suddenly, just a whisp and then dead air; perhaps the finality is on purpose, but more than likely it’s single bum moment in an otherwise epiphanic live improvisation. It’s also worth mentioning that the Elevator Bath label, which never skimps in its productions, released the album on heavyweight, 180-gram vinyl.

This album review appeared, in slightly different form, in the autumn 2003 issue of e|i magazine.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Leave a comment ]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

Subscribe without commenting

  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe



  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)

  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

    Recent Projects

  • 0561 / Samplelicker / The Assignment: Rework environmental sound recordings with Aphex Twin's new software.
    0560 / Sonic Disambiguation / The Assignment: Help the Wikimedia Foundation develop a sonic logo.
    0559 / Yes Exit / The Assignment: Compose your personal entrance and exit cues for conference calls.
    0558 / Chore Progressions / The Assignment: Use a routine activity as the map of a composition.
    0557 / Condensation Is a Form of Change / The Assignment: Interpret a graphic score that depicts four phases.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 561 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts