It seems like forever since the excellent record label Kranky has updated its free MP3 page. But a Kranky artist, Chris Herbert, whom many heard for the first time courtesy of a Kranky MP3 posting back around August 2005 (disquiet.com), has recently posted one at his own website, chrisherbert.net. The track, “Quiet Sun,” starts off quietly enough, a chiming figment of lush-ness that feels, on each cycle of its most prominent rhythmic swell, like it may burst into a proper song (MP3). (The file’s name, “autumn.mp3,” refers to the season of its release.) Instead, what it does is slowly fade — how much it fades isn’t particularly evident unless you put the thing on repeat, and then the difference between its quiet close and that opening haze is quite evident. It’s a somewhat rare occurrence of “scream-to-a-whisper” composing, and a delectable one at that.
I corresponded with Herbert about what he called “a peek at the ever-bubbling gumbo,” and he provided some additional details, which he said were OK to reproduce for the general public:
the mp3 is really a little test snippet, no biggie! it’s an offcut (and lord! are there hours of those – i seem to have a real talent for starting tracks that wither on the vine) from what turned out to be an hour-long drone piece which was really just an experiment, it’s not likely to turn up on anything or be documented so i thought i’d post a couple of minutes. the source was originally a track sent to me by a friend called andie who had recorded her bass and voice, i took a short phrase from that and expanded it. we may try and collaborate at some stage so i guess on some level it may have been a ‘proof of concept’.
The Andie in question is identified in the track’s data fields as Andie Brown. Several more Herbert MP3s are downloadable from his myspace.com/chrisherbert page.