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Month: March 2007
Tweaked Reality MP3s
Been a while since the Downstream has included an entry from the ever expanding “Remix! Tree” at the Freesound website, freesound.iua.upf.edu. The site is a trading place for recorders and admirers of raw field recordings. The Tree is where folks go to tweak sonic reality more to their liking. Take, for example, a trio of tracks that begin with eerily dripping water drops (MP3), then loop a segment to distantly musical effect (MP3), finally warping the material until it sounds entirely synthesized (MP3). And, as it turns out, even the original track involves some slight of ear; what appears cavernous was, in fact, recorded inside a washing machine. More info on the original and resulting tracks at freesound.iua.upf.edu. They’re all attributed to a user who goes by the handle roscoetoon, whose Freesound member profile reads, “I couldn’t hold a tune if it had handles on it.”
Morr Documentary MP3s
The Morr label’s podcast (link) offers an opportunity to peek inside the laptops, and brains, of its musicians. Most recently, Bernhard Fleischmann spoke in detail about the recording of the two long live sets that comprise his most recent album, Melancholy/Sendestrasse. (“I like very long, very repetitive tracks a lot.”) Regarding “Melancholy,” he shows how a few basic electronic chords grew, through accrual and collaboration, to a piece rich with heavily mediated cello. The making of “Sendestrasse” is likewise a narrative of musical sublimation, as a Franz Schubert composition is slowly masked by various production techniques. Throughout, Fleischmann provides musical examples, in the background and foreground, to illustrate his descriptions (MP3).
That blending also blurs the line between documentary and performance for an earlier Morr-cast, in which Radical Face (aka Ben Cooper, aka half of Electric President) describes the two-year development of his recent Ghost album, his voice echoed for effect (MP3). More info at morrmusic.com, bfleischmann.com and radicalface.com.
Pointillist Russian MP3s
There’s something a tad antiseptic and just a little maudlin, and yet altogether compelling, about Luxurious, a collection of music attributed to Polina Voronova, said to be a young Russian musician. The album ends with its best piece, in which small bell-like tones repeat over and over against the sort of gauzy synthesis that is the content of much of what came before it. That track, titled “Landing” (MP3), first appeared earlier this year on a compilation set, Arrivals and Departures, released on the Electro Sound netlabel, excentrica.org, that has now brought us, under its Musica Exentrica line, Luxurious (excentrica.org). With it come new favorites, like “This Sky,” in which the melody, so to speak, has the lurching of something slowly spoken rather than sung (MP3), and “Deep Outdoor,” a pointillist lullaby that picks up where “Landing” left off (MP3). One note of thanks to excentrica: kudos for providing the files at 320kbps, double the compressed bit rate of many netlabels. More info at excentrica.org and myspace.com/polinavoronova.
Salt Mine MP3
Here’s some salt that’s good for the diet. The listening diet, that is. The latest raw field recording from the wanderingear.com netlabel is a 20-minute exercise in cavern tourism. The recording was made in the Salina Praid salt mine, located in rural Romania. The entry’s title, “Subterranean Salt Echoes,” notes its most telling feature and richest attraction, a voluminous sense of space that takes all but the most adjacent conversation and transforms it into audio as swollen as a wet sponge (MP3). More info on the locale at salinapraid.ro.