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

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Monthly Archives: August 2004

Three Post-Rock MP3s

The act Run Return has three free tracks on its website, two examples of post-rock folk-chamber music with a pop touch, and one unapologetic pop ditty. The pleasure in “Thoughts Broken by Footsteps” isn’t merely how the acoustic guitar, plucked slightly off the mark, splits with the metronomic shuffle of the underlying machine beat, but how the beat itself is upset by the merest of microsonic impulses, little fissures that tweak the pattern ever so slightly, making the piece far more than a standard act of analog/digital contrast. Another track, “Tributary,” trades one such acoustic element for another: in the place of guitar we have a lightly bowed instrument, likely violin, its tender physicality — the raw feel that is the distant dream of digital texture-mappers everywhere — set against the tight harmony of electronic pulses, which after a short while are girded with what sounds like an actual drum kit; a later mallet part, inevitably, brings to mind Tortoise’s gamelan-like moire patterns, as canned orchestration (perhaps that original violin, now multiplied digitally) hovers lushly in the background. A fissure-like sound serves as the retro-1980s drum pattern on “Yah, Chilly,” with its analog-synth melisma of a melody, all goofy-sad electronic new wave, at best a gothy pop melodrama; of the three tracks, it’s the only one worth even considering bypassing. “Thoughts Broken” and “Tributary” are both must-hears. All available at runreturn.com.

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Three Adelaide MP3s

Live, in performance, the Portland-based quintet Adelaide leavens its post-rock minimalism — all heady, light song form with a decidedly introspective bent — with 16mm films, giving the audience a series of dreamy visuals cues by which to follow the group’s non-verbal pop. If you can’t catch their current summer 2004 tour (more info at adelaidesound.com), you can download three tracks (with and without complementary visuals) from the band’s website. “Green Horizon” and “Bones of Things” are delightful, but it’s “Games Without End” that will entrance ambient/electronic fans, because it’s on that song that the digital nuances are most pronounced, notably a gentle surf of electric piano.

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Sing-Song Ambient MP3 EP

Marsen Jules‘ free online EP, Yara, on the Autoplate netlabel as of May of this year, is caught in a blissful limbo between the Cocteau Twins’ hypnotic chamber stews and Julee Cruise’s dub-tinged torch songs. The six-song set is both light and thick, elegant and rapturous. Much of it has the rich, formless, sing-song ambience of a tugboat’s midnight hymn. But what’s particularly amazing is how a seemingly neutral tonal field can fully subsume rhythmic clutter. This is certainly the case on the second track, which starts with a looped snippet, marked by the anti-percussive gap, or seam, where the sample is cued to repeat, but which gives way, effortlessly, to lush drone. The tracks are simply labeled “Yara 1” through “Yara 6.” Number four balances field-recording randomness with a deep, spacious blanket. Number five hangs out in a higher register, but with the same languorous pendulum swing that distinguishes many of the other tracks. Apparently the source material comes (permission granted) from a live performance by a group named Trio Yara — hence the mix of tonal and found sound. Trio Yara and Jules hail from the same city: Dortmund, Germany. Download the full Yara set from the Autoplate website, at autoplate.org. More on Marsen Jules at marsenjules.de.

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Orbital’s Farewell Stream

Is this really the case? Have Orbital, granddaddies of rave music, oft conflated with the Orb and William Orbit, called it quits? Well, they apparently did so last week on John Peel’s radio show. Their farewell, encore performance of “Rewind, Rewind,” recorded July 28 at the BBC’s intimate Maida Vale studio, is streaming, in RealAudio format, here. John Peel’s radio homepage, here.

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Slovakian MP3 EP

Victor Tverdochlebov, a musician from Slovakia who records under the name Karaoke Tundra, has released nine free MP3 tracks with the dimensions of haiku, the static-laced fissures of microsound experiments, and the overall feel of a pop demo tape. The songs are as short as they are spare, from just over a minute in length to just under two. But if you’re picky about your downloads, then be sure to at least grab “Damn You,” with its combo of two very different retro sounds (a taut jazz trumpet riff against an oscillating analog synth wave), and “Ministry of Fishing,” which introduces its tasty rudiment of a beat with an electric piano hook (is that sample from Steely Dan or Genesis?), and then wanders away until the momentum has pretty much evaporated, only to start it up all over again — imagine the off-kilter funk of James Chance or Jon Spencer or DNA, but played out at small scale on a laptop. The EP is titled Residence, and it’s available from the Kikapu netlabel, at kikapu.com (it’s the label’s 68th release). More info on Tverdochlebov/Tundra at his website, here.

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