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As many have noted, the one major detraction of the Nintendo DS game Electroplankton, designed by Japanese media artist Toshio Iwai, is that you can’t save the musical compositions you make. (The other one is it pauses when you close the DS, so you can’t walk around listening to it like one might an iPod.) This hasn’t kept individuals from outputting the audio from their DS into a computer. The person who runs the website randomambient.com has posted two such clips. The first has a somewhat Christmas carol-ish feel (MP3), but the second buries those chimes beneath an estimably hazy drone (MP3).
For instructions on how to output audio from the game, visit makezine.com; the author of the post, Phillip Torrone, uploaded his own clip, a slow scalar exercise that suggests watery mallets (MP3). Also for your listening pleasure, the official Electroplankton site (electroplankton.nintendods.com) includes a track of that bubbly loop that provides the game’s immediate sense of immersion (MP3).
Earlier this month, Charles Amirkhanian uploaded another of his archival nuggets: a 1971 radio broadcast focused on analog synthesizers. According to the write-up at archive.org, where the file is housed (MP3), the Mills College Electronic Tape Music Center hosted an event that year inviting San Francisco Bay area residents to drop by and play with various synthesizers, among them Moogs and Buchlas. Don Buchla himself brought some of his inventions, and Amirkhanian reports live from the event, in between what sound like field recordings from the sets of science fiction films. The event, organized by Tom Zahuranec, is titled “Bucket-Ful Mercury Walk.”
The freaky thing about speaking in tongues isn’t how meaningless all that gibberish sounds. The freaky thing is how, despite the fact that it’s all nonsense syllables, glossolalia seems to contain meaning, like an ancient forgotten language, or something other and paraphysical. Transfer that sort of meaning-through-meaninglessness from words to beats and you have some sense of the rhythmic disjunction that is “Away” (MP3), the latest free monthly download from kracfive.com. Credited to Nepracww, a name that seems like a snippet of glossolalia itself, the piece plays like several different songs simultaneously, snippets of percussives never quite meshing, each one straining for your ear to identify it as the root rhythm. Despite which chaos, it sounds very much like a song.
Talk about a short-lived blog. Perhaps throttleclark.com will find a second life, but with its third posting it’s pretty much fulfilled its charter agenda. Clark, a prominent artist on the Warp label, has posted three tracks at the site over as many weeks, in advance of the release of Body Riddle, his forthcoming Warp album. As an appointment in appointment-downloading, it’s been a success. Furthermore, it’s done more than just whet our appetites. Sure, the first track was from the album itself, but the subsequent entries haven’t been, which has made listeners all the more curious about what’s to come. (Sure the tracks can be streamed, in 30-second chunks, at bleep.com, but that requires patience and a blind ear when it comes to the seams between chunks.) And the final of the three free downloads, “Dusk Raid” (MP3), may be the best so far, less rhythmically succinct than what came before, and rich with plucked instrumentation and broken beats that suggest DJ Krush’s machine-molested shamisen, not to mention muddled horns that bring to mind Robert Wyatt’s solemn art-pop. If these are the leftovers, one can only imagine what the main course will bring. The album will be released the first week of October.