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Monthly Archives: February 2007

Juicy Japanese MP3s

Tokyo, Japan-based musician Moxuse (born Koichiro Mori) is the author of three lightly skittering explorations of tone and rhythm that comprise the latest release from the netlabel mirakelmusik.se. Uploaded late last year, Moxuse’s set, Ito-kumo, balances the stark distinctions between foreground and background, ranging from the video-game (pachinko?) quirks of the more garrulous “Moe9” (MP3) to the tonal halos of “Eda,” which is enlivened by gentle burbles (MP3). Coming somewhere in between, perhaps closer to “Eda” than to “Moe9,” “Moe6” opens with an earful of swell that subsumes a glitchy salvo, but soon settles into a surprisingly loungey groove (MP3). More info at his homepage, moxuse.org, where he hosts a Japanese forum for the software SuperCollider, and at his youtube.com page, which includes several videos of this “automatic painting” device he created, complete with rambunctious audio accompaniment that matches the Pollock-droid creations. There’s also footage of an experimental MIDI-controlled mixer. That’s mixer as in juices, not turntables. For real.

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End-of-Noise MP3s

Hmm, this sounds unfortunate. The latest release by the trenchant netlabel Noise Jihad (noisejihad.dk/netlabel) includes the following, less than promising statement: “These are the surviving recordings from the Noisejihad Festival, which marked some sort of end or break for Noisejihad.” Let’s hope it’s just a respite. In addition to a video of MaaletHelligerMidlet666 playing live for the first time in a decade, there are four lengthy performances, ranging from a quarter hour to a full hour. Eske Norholm turns in unfettered industrial maneuvers (MP3) and Dennis H. some orchestral synths that dissolve into full-frontal static (MP3). Interzone follows Dennis H.’s path from whisper to scream literally, using vocal samples as its primary source throughout (MP3). The highlight is the hour-long set by Christian S (featuring Tone), who turns in one of the quietest recordings Noise Jihad has ever posted (MP3). Sometimes, it turns out, ending with a whimper rather than a bang is a good thing.

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Songs About Buildings MP3s

Based out of Columbus, Ohio, the Abandon Building label has posted over a dozen tracks from its half dozen albums thus far. Highlights include Back Ted N Ted‘s “Opening Credits” (MP3), in which a mix of acoustic and digital drums provide a rough blueprint for tentative melodic play, and Crillix‘s “False Starts,” which follows a similar blueprint but at a quarter the volume and half the speed (MP3). Also recommended are Color Cassette‘s ventures into dreamy pop electro-acoustics, as in electro beats and acoustic guitars, “Here We Go Again” (MP3) and “Passing Time” (MP3). Several of those tracks employ vocals more for texture than verbal content.

The Abandon Building catalog is more varied than those tunes suggest. It also includes DoF’s plaintive new-folk, Michael Johnson’s remarkably Eno-id pop, the jokey hip-hop of Nimble and Set in Sand, and Sheveks Masada’s often club-ready electronica. More info at abandonbuilding.com.

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Work-in-Progress MP3s

Early last November, Richard Kamerman brought his Trace Being blog to a close, commenting on his frustration. It was an unfortunate decision not only for listeners to home-brew, workshop electronic creations, but especially those interested in explanatory annotation. In the posts he’d done throughout 2006, Kamerman showed a gift for clarifying the methods to his music, sometimes technically precise, as when laying out the materials involved, sometimes procedurally insightful, as when pondering his own compositional development. Interestingly, his blog was hosted by the netlabel homophoni.com, where it was listed as a release, right between sets by Asher and Joe Panzer.

Kamerman was also reflexively self-deprecating, as when he wrote, “Although this track isn?t the most musically inspired, the textures I got from the technique seem particularly cool as a sound source for live processing.” For his final post, he uploaded a “Duet for Cymbals and Hacked Electronics,” about four and a half minutes of ear-ringing bell tones and some sparkles akin to a circular saw in action (MP3).

He explained that this final entry on his musical diary was also something of a first, in that the track in question isn’t a live take but something edited together in post-production: “I created the best short statement I could from what I had at hand.” Here’s looking forward to his next venture.

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Tangents (Buddha, fiction, youtube)

Quick Links, News and Good Reads: (1) One promising aspect of the new service iJigg, where musicians are invited to post their tracks and await rating by their eager public, is that among its 21 initial genres is “beats/instrumentals,” right up there with folk and hip-hop (ijigg.com). … (2) That sound-art disguised as a cheap AM radio, the Buddha Machine has its own blog (fm3buddhamachine.com); recent highlights include an update on a ceramic model (“Let’s make a faux Ming-dynasty porcelain Buddha Machine!”), a lapel pin and (this is tremendous) transcriptions of the machine’s nine loops by the father of one of its two creators, Zhang Jian. … (3) Asahi Electric Co. of Japan has introduced the Elpa LED Dancing Balloon (kilian-nakamura.com), a globe that changes colors in response to sound. … (4) Anyone know where I can get the jigsaw puzzle posted in this picture of Kid Koala on ninjatune.com? I’ve corresponded with two major online jigsaw retailers, and neither had a clue. … (5) A toolkit for making public sound art using widespread, commonplace technology (tacticalsoundgarden.net).

Circuit benders, start your engines: (6) a spy car with audio and video capability (spygear.net), (7) a Mustang that blasts (and moves to) “Walking on Sunshine” (amazon.com), (8) the roadrippers.com series of audio-enabled brand-name cars, and (9) a series called Asphalt Audio that pairs die cast cars with 60 seconds of radio favorites, including “Bohemian Rhapsody” (I’ve seen several at Walgreens, but have found little information online, aside from one walgreens.com link), plus there’s (10) a new Rubik’s Cube that has sound and light (engadget.com) and (11) a toy called Zoundz (zizzle.com) that “creates a fusion of self-composed music with an accompanying light show.” … (12) In related news, the Ogg Vorbis audio format is reportedly becoming a favorite of the toy industry (slashdot.org). … (13) The slashdot message board discussants have had their way with that Jonathan Lethem Harper’s essay (“The Ecstasy of Influence,” harpers.org) I mentioned last week (slashdot.org).

(14) It closed as of December, but an exhibit by artist Stephen Prina at the Manhattan gallery Friedrich Petzel included the piece “Second Sentence of Everything I Read Is You,” a listening-booth project (nytimes.com). Prina had previously done art-history mashups under the aegis of the Getty Museum (getty.edu) and recorded with the likes of Jim O’Rourke and the Red Krayola. … (15) Other Minds is no longer listed in the archive.org topbar under Audio; it’s now a subset of the Music & Arts section (archive.org). … (16) News on sound-art grants to Asha Srinivasan and Douglas Henderson (newmusicbox.org). … (17) The sound engineer on such recordings as KronosGorecki Third String Quartet is the late comedian and sonic adventurer Spike Jones‘ daughter, Leslie Ann Jones (sfgate.com). … (18) Alex Ross on Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu (newyorker.com): “Above all, he prized the concept of ma — the ‘powerful silence,’ as he defined it, which is set in relief by a single, equally powerful sound. Most of his mature works begin with a tone materializing from silence, and end with a dematerialization toward silence again.” … (19) If you purchase a “season pass” for the show 24 through iTunes, you’ll receive three remixes of the series’ theme music. The first to be made available is by Crystal Method, who, as UPI reported (upi.com), composed the music for another show on the same network, Bones. (20) The Our Lives in the Bush of Disquiet compilation, a Disquiet.com project housed at archive.org, is hovering just under 950 downloads; it contains a dozen freely downloadable remixes of the Brian Eno and David Byrne album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. … (21) In sad, related news, the forum over at the website that hosts the raw files, bush-of-ghosts.com, is totally overrun with spam. … (22) I first discovered the new blog remixtheory.net thanks to a mention there of the Bush of Disquiet project; other recent entries include Nate Harrison‘s “Can I Get an Amen?” (remixtheory.net) and a cool turntable-PC (remixtheory.net, mogensjacobsen.dk). … (23) Lots of great stuff at Harrison’s site, nkhstudio.com, including a video tribute to the Roland TB-303 Bass Line (“Bassline Baseline,” 2005). … (24) The Village Voice posted its annual Pazz and Jop poll. My entry is up (villagevoice.com). Somewhere in the process, the reference to the latest Drumcorps album was changed from Grist to The Curious City. I’ve sent an email in to ask for it to be corrected. … (25) Is “dubstep” just another word for “illbient”?

… Video Treats: (1) DJ Olive put his dub-honed turntable skills to work on some politically informed spoken-word audio (inventingzero.net). … Two Terry Riley videos: (2) Plastic Acid Ensemble performs “In C” on December 18, 2006, in Vancouver (youtube.com) and (3) Riley himself is heard live at the Detroit Institute of Arts from July 2001 (youtube.com). … (4) If the search function at YouTube has any merit (that’s a big if), Janet Cardiff may mistakenly become sound art’s one-hit wonder. All three entries for her are of the 40-Part Motet (youtube.com). … Two via the Palm OS music blog the-palm-sound.blogspot.com: (5) Playing with Pocket DJ (youtube.com) and (6) the miniMaxa software in action (youtube.com). … (7) Tokyo-based mol-sound‘s “audio visual standard unit project” in action (youtube.com). … (8) Squarepusher performing “Hello Meow” live (youtube.com) and (9) interviewed as part of an episode on BBC2’s Culture Show (youtube.com); in the latter clip, Andre 3000 of OutKast appears, saying he wants to work with Squarepusher: “It’s kinda like just taking a computer and just busting the computer open and just making some music out of it.” … (10) Some freestyling work on the Nintendo DS music game Electroplankton (youtube.com) recorded for the Rapid Composers Consortium (midiwarez.net), plus (11) Electroplankton combined with melodica and put through guitar effects pedal (youtube.com) and, the most impressive of the batch, (12) Electroplankton ported through another touch-screen music-making device, a Korg Kaoss pad (youtube.com). … (13) Contrary to appearances, youtube.com isn’t bottomless; a search for Boxhead Ensemble yields a null result.

… Heavy Rotation: (1) “Pianorama” from the CD included in the book The Secret Hotel by art collaborators Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller (Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2006); it purports to be a session in which a male pianist composes music for a film while being given advice by a female director, but the only drama may be the one you hear recorded. … (2) Gescom‘s MiniDisc was reissued late last year on CD. Gescom is a pseudonym for the British electronic duo Autechre, and MiniDisc was originally only available on MiniDisc when it was released in 1998. The format allowed the album’s 88 segments, when set on random, to play out myriad musical permutations. Those pieces range in length from four seconds to just over four minutes and in sound from analog zaniness to clippy digital noise. I owned the MiniDisc version, but loaned it to a friend, who never returned it. It’s also available for $9.99 as a collection of MP3s at bleep.com (or $12.75, for “lossless” audio). … (3) The dubby remix of Jem Finer‘s gossamer Longplayer project by si-cut.db, the Disquiet Downstream entry of the week (MP3, disquiet.com) … (4) And that Electro-Kaoss video mentioned directly above. … Quote of the Week: Paul Auster‘s new novel, Travels in the Scriptorium, released this month, is a work of surveillance paranoia, like Samuel Beckett’s take on The Conversation or a rarefied riff on the manga Old Boy. Early on in Scriptorium, the narrator states the following, while describing the room in which the protagonist is held captive: “It should be noted that in addition to the camera a microphone is embedded in one of the walls, and every sound Mr. Blank makes is being reproduced and preserved by a highly sensitive digital tape recorder. The least groan or sniffle, the least cough or fleeting flatulence that emerges from his body is therefore an integral part of our account as well.”

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