The name Boduf Songs is the moniker of a single guy, Mat Sweet (not to be confused with pure-pop maven Matthew Sweet), who makes space-folk like few others. At least, like few others alive. There is a taste of John Fahey’s Zen minimalism in his simply plucked lines, and of the recently deceased Syd Barrett in his intense insularity. (There’s also an echo of early Paul Simon, but that’s the maudlin, introspective 1960s icon, not the world-pop artist we know today.) Sweet milks light feedback for its electric magic and sings (mumbles, really) with the quotidian dread of high-grade slowcore: he talks as if to draw attention to his meaning, but his voice is so quiet it’s more texture than text. The Kranky label, which he calls home, has posted a 40-minute live set (MP3), recorded at the radio station VPRO in the Netherlands.
Just about every week, Aaron Ximm uploads a new sound recording to his quietamerican.org-based series, One-Minute Vacations. They’re submitted by travellers who are as likely to carry MiniDisc recorders as they are cameras. Among the recent entries are a nightscape from Zion National Park (MP3), by Joshua Manchester; an Easter ceremony from Vietnam (MP3), by Eisuke Yanagisawa; and a typical morning in Lima, Peru (MP3), by Kathy Kennedy. There’s a podcast subscription for the series (XML), which includes, as a separate track, a narrative explanation for each week’s MP3.
Another month, another fine free MP3 from the kracfive.com collective. This time around it’s a nearly six-minute exercise in aquatic orchestration that brings to mind Gavin Bryars’ The Sinking of the Titanic. “A Green Wall of Eyes” by Kettel opens with the bubbly real-world sounds of oceanic life before introducing held tones that gather in intensity as they rise up the scale, eventually to sink again into the watery depths (MP3).
The Other Minds catalog of free listening at the Internet Archive, aka archive.org, now includes a fascinating interview with Russian-born microtonal composer Ivan Wyschnegradsky (1893-1979), in discussion with OM guru Charles Amirkhanian. It was recorded in Wyschnegradsky’s Paris home in early 1976. There isn’t much music, though toward the end he plays examples on his alternately tuned piano (MP3).
Once upon a time, the website of Ninja Tune Records, ninjatune.net, could be expected to serve up a half dozen fine MP3s at any moment. Then came digital retail, and MP3s went from promo items to merchandise. But now Ninja has revived its free-music program, this time in the guise of podcasts. The label has three regular feeds, one of its estimable Solid Steel radio show (MP3), another from label founders Cold Cut and a third from its hip-hop arm, Big Dada. More info at ninjatune.net/podcasts. To be fair, the Ninja site does host the occasional free download, but they tend to be from Big Dada rappers, not from the likes of Amon Tobin, Funki Porcini or Kid Koala.