There’s a six-degrees quality to sleuthing for MP3s across the web. That’s six degrees of separation, not Six Degrees the record label. Sure, there are the standard sources for free music, among them: established record labels (Ninja Tune, Matador, etc.), netlabels (Kikapu, Stasisfield, etc.), copyright-enlightened musicians (Scanner and Matmos come to mind immediately) and the grey- and black-market mp3blogs and so-called ipodcasts, which generally post other people’s music as a kind of cultural commentary.
But far more prevalent are the caches maintained by independent, under-recognized musicians, people who post their own music and, in the process, link to colleagues who do the same. As a result, one can move from musical act to musical act, bedroom label to bedroom label, across a web of relationships that is simply and foremost a natural flowering of the sort that so-called social-network applications (Friendster, etc.), perhaps futilely, attempt to literalize. This week is one such example: Monday started with a new set of tracks from Christopher Willits (here), a laptop+guitar musician who noted the MP3s’ availability in his recent email newsletter. One of those tracks was sourced from a compilation that included an unfamiliar name, Sebastien Roux, a bit of searching for whom yielded Tuesday’s Downstream entry (here). That led, in turn, to another compilation on another label, and another unfamiliar name: an artist called Deep. Understand, of course, that for every link that yields MP3 gold, there are a half dozen searches that go nowhere and an equal number that go nowhere of interest.
As for Deep, like Willits he uses tools from rock’n’roll to make rich ambient-leaning music. On his webpage, hosted by the Dhyana record label (here), he’s posted six files. The meatiest chunk is an opaquely titled track, “Deep on ‘Flache und Raum’ (Prion Music 2003),” that makes a fantastic 20-minute voyage between the earthy digital ambience of Muslimgauze and the sludge metal of bands like Earth and SunnO))) — it’s as if you’re listening to a time-lapse recording of rebar warping slowly over a century. The shorter pieces include: the molasses-slow “8 Basses,” which may very well be that, but if so they’re playing it tighter than a fleet of Blue Angels fighter pilots; “Concombreak,” which exposes the true density of “8 Basses” by focusing on a mere two, whose lightly reverberating interplay recalls the spacious minimalism of Andy Summers’ early post-pop recordings; “Downhill,” which ups the pop quotient with a rhythm out of the Cure’s best work; “Kfz,” which pots down the pop and up the noise; and a “Sasha Mueller” remix that’s a fine bit of minimal techno done up with stroboscopic stereo effect. Download them here.