Janus-Faced MP3 EP

JANUS-FACED MP3 EP: Toward the end of April of this year, the Suicide in Installments netlabel posted its last (or, one hopes, simply its most recent) freely downloadable release, a six-track set by Mosca, titled Arcwelder. The EP alternates, quite consciously, between beatless exercises in background atmospherics (the angelic “Bolt,” the warped “Peeling Layers,” the nearly still “It’s Okay to Cry”) and tracks that put their beats front and center, only to often crinkle ’em in nifty ways (the gear-shifting “Bastard Generator,” the loopily funky “Preset,” the pleasingly rote “Mass”). Further evidence that Mosca knew exactly what he was up to in thus ordering the album, the set proceeds with sequentially longer tracks. So the first, a lush gauze, risks comprising its elegance by coming to a sudden close after barely a minute, and the last, a steady four and a half minutes built atop what sounds like someone rhythmically grounding a castanet into the floor with a boot, ekes out a zen state with its trance-inducing repetition. Arcwelder is available at the label’s website, suicideininstallments.com. And there’s more Mosca to be heard at retropublik.com.

Dubby Textone MP3 EP

In its first year of activity, the Textone netlabel has released 20 free downloadable sets, totaling some 100 odd tracks, and it celebrated recently with an EP featuring Textone cofounder Jay Haze at work with lauded minimal-dance figure Ricardo Villalobos, whose 2003 Alcachofa album was touted by many as one of the year’s best (though its charms are largely lost on me). Their collaboration is the six-track Prefer Summer [+ Remixes]. It collects the three-track Prefer Summer, whose vinyl pressing on the Contexterrior label has sold out, plus three remixes, one each by Jambi, Cabanne and Someone Else (aka Sean O’Neal). It’s all syncopated lounge music, with the glitchy equivalent of finger snaps, and touches of dub and trance effluence. The highlight is “Archive,” six minutes of watery reverb and after-hours zoning. Check the whole thing out here, and visit the Textone label at textone.org.

Dimuzio Remix MP3

DIMUZIO REMIX MP3: The initial noise doesn’t so much swoop up as it seems to simply proceed from that mysterious time before the track began; it’s as if by starting to play the song, you’re opting to enter into a cramped room where a rock band is in the final throes of a performance, that denouement during which riffs decay into texture, when the rigorous alternation of verse and chorus finds sweet release. And then, just as suddenly, the noise subsides, not into silence, or into the next track on the set list, but into a heady, steady controlled tone that is like an orchestra put on hold. If the volume has gone one direction, from loud the quiet, then the sense of space has gone the other, from rock club to concert hall, from cramped to spacious. The track in question is “Never Steven,” by the San Francisco-based electronic musician Thomas Dimuzio, and it’s the lead item on Slew, Dimuzio’s recent retrospective album, on ReR Megacorp/Gench. The album collects material he has released previously on compilations from such labels as Tzadik, Alku, Realization, Digital Narcis, Self Abuse and Cuneiform, and “Never Steven” is available as a free promotional download. The song, as if to emphasize its meta-compilation context, seems like three tracks in one: from that burst of noise, to that deep orchestral holding pattern, to a closing period of digital chatter even more compressed than the track’s opening. All the source material comes from Nick “Dr. Nerve” Didkovsky, and the track originally appeared on the Transforms: The Nerve Events Project compilation, which also featured Nerve-based work by Dave Douglas, Henry Kaiser, Neil Rolnick, Larry Polansky, Tom Erbe and others. Download “Never Steven” here, and visit Dimuzio at thomasdimuzio.com and gench.com.

Hendrix Cover Stream

The confluence of guitars and electronic production is nothing new. As on such recent Downstream entries as Accelera Deck’s “Fireflies” and System Boot’s “Madison,” there’s something downright retro about the digital transfiguration of stringed instuments. In part, this is because the guitar, to take one prime example, sounds like it’s rooted in the past. (Recent anecedote: Nuclear family wanders expansive floor of the Amoeba Music record store on Haight Street in San Francisco. Son looks bored out of his skull. Mom says, “Why don’t you look in the Used Rock aisle?” Son says, “I don’t like rock, Mom.”) But it’s also because so much early experimentation in the pop realm focused on the guitar. From the Beatles to Phil Spector to the Beach Boys, the guitar was a prime source of technological inspiration; it was the ant on which they focused their studio magnifying glasses.

That was especially true of Jimi Hendrix, who famously lit his guitar on fire, when he wasn’t looping it through era-defining phalanxes of feedback mechanisms. So it’s all the more appropriate that Four Tet (aka Kieran Hebden) has recorded a rendition of Hendrix’s “Castles Made of Sand” that’s more reconfiguration than cover. A tightly strung acoustic guitar plays the familiar melody, one of Hendrix’s most beautiful, and Hebden both tweaks the line (echoing it with premonitory snippets, whipping it up with mirrored shards) and provides a cushion of supporting instrumentation, including horns, percussion and unidentifiable field-recording effluvia. It’s easily the best electronic cover of a Hendrix tune since the Shamen did “Purple Haze.” And it’s available as a stream (sorry no MP3) in conjunction with Azuli Records in two formats: Real Media here, Windows Media here. The track is from the wide-ranging, Four Tet-curated LateNightTales compilation on the Azuli label. Previous LateNightTales have been compiled by Nightmares on Wax, Howie B, Rae & Christian, Fila Brazilia, Tommy Guerrero (who covered the Beatles’ “Come Together”) and others.