Free online downloads from major labels and long-running independent labels have decreased in regularity as pay-per-song services have gone mainstream, notably with Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Was a time, you could regularly surf through the sites of maverick electronic labels like Ninja Tune and Warp and find full-length songs, for free, as promotional items. Warp launched its own download service earlier this year, Bleep.com, and since then a number of labels have signed on to use Bleep as the main commercial conduit for their MP3s, including not only Ninja Tune but One Little Indian, Schematic, Mego, Def Jux and others. And while many of these labels still offer the occasional free downloads as well, the site of Ninja Tune, for one example, rarely if ever these days posts MP3s on its Downloads page, and when it does, they hang around for a long time. Right now, the Ninja Downloads page has tons of wallpapers and screensavers, and just one little MP3, but it’s a good one: the first track (“Intro”) off Amon Tobin‘s first full-length release as a DJ: Solid Steel Presents Amon Tobin: Recorded Live, which came out this past July. It’s one of a handful of tracks he composed for the compilation, a set from an Australian gig that also includes material by AFX, Dizzee Rascal and the Velvet Underground (“Venus in Furs,” in case you’re wondering). Tobin’s track is a hard, dense chunk of techno, less rhythmically resplendent than his best work, but still worthwhile for in its sheer thoroughness. Check out the Ninja Tune Downloads page at ninjatune.net/downloads, and download the Tobin track directly here.
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• December 13, 2018: This day marks the 22nd anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• 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 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:
• 0351 / Selected Insomniac Works Volume II / The Assignment: Rework some very quiet music by making it even more sedate.
• 0350 / Selected Insomniac Works / The Assignment: Make very quiet music for very late at night for very fragile psyches.
• 0349 / Got Glitch? / The Assignment: Help define "glitch" by glitching something, and explaining what you did.
• 0348 / Hot Mise en Abyme / The Assignment: Make a piece of music inspired by the art-historical term for fractal/recursion.
• 0347 / Remix Remodel / The Assignment: Update a track by one Junto participant by adding beats from another Junto.
... And there is a complete list of past projects.
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