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Half Gig of Netlabel MP3s

Today’s Downstream entry is less a review than it is a public notice, because its subject, at five hours or so in length, is too sprawling to be summarized meaningfully, or to be fully consumed any time soon. The release, Wein, Weib und Gesang, is a various-artists collection from the Kikapu netlabel, and it contains 34 tracks by as many artists, ranging in length from two minutes to 14. Rather than wait until the whole thing’s been absorbed, if that’s even plausible, consider this a simple notification of the set’s existence, along with some initial notable highlights.

First up: among the Wein, Weib und Gesang musicians who’ve made previous appearances in the Downstream are Pocka (also Kikapu’s founder, Brad Mitchell), whose 12-minute “Four Little Photos in a Row” begins with a (Steve) Reichian percussion loop and slowly builds its own dense aural gauze, and Raemus, whose 13-minute “Komori-Chambon” sounds like a glass harmonica built from some deeply strange alien crystal, these piercing shards of sound that glint and echo in mysterious ways. Those are just two of 34, so expect additional individual-track recommendations in the near future. The set is downloadable song by song, or as one giant (525 megabyte — no kidding) file, along with a color PDF (by one of the contributing musicians, Matt Borghi) that can be printed and trimmed and fit into a jewel case.

Also appearing on the ambitious collection — the word “album” seems insufficient — are Agnes High Quality, Algorhythm, Autistici, Caddis, Cypod, Dub Jay, EelFayGree, Effacer, Eric Laurence, Evil Jon, Gainforest, Introspective, Jason Sloan, Kaminari Synthesis, Kosik, Latency, Mar.ch, Mike Verde, Notech, Room, Sex Enemy, Souns, Space Plans, Spark, Stephen Philips, The System Boot, These Men Are Cowards, Veem, Vincent Parker, X41 and 518 vs. Joel. Download the compressed, half-gig file here, visit the album’s homepage here, or go straight through the front door at kikapu.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • 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

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