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Monthly Archives: December 2007

Nondenominational Holiday Drone MP3

Another bit of holiday-themed music for free download, in this case an eight-minute “holiday drone” by the OO-Ray, aka Ted Laderas. He bills this drone (MP3) as “nondenominational,” and I think that sums it up well — it’s removed from any specific cultural references, like the sampled holiday favorites torqued in the A Candle’s Golden Glow compilation I wrote about yesterday (disquiet.com), but still more than heavenly enough to suggest some sort of presumed spiritual context. Laderas builds his drones from his cello, though the instrument is looped and processed thoroughly beyond recognition.

It’s quite possible that drones such as this one register as seasonally appropriate because we absorb so much holiday music in public spaces, especially shopping malls, where it is filtered through walls, space, and other sounds — a filtering process that serves as a kind of realtime remix.

In any case, while we’re at it, here are two past entries of holiday-themed ambient MP3s: Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night,  disquiet.com; and remixes of the Peanuts Christmas music and of “Carol of the Bells,” disquiet.com.

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Holiday MP3s for a Darkly Silent Night

Looking for something seasonal yet electronically mediated to fill your holiday playlist? Sort of like a yule log, but musical? Try the new compilation, A Candle’s Golden Glow, from the Dark Winter netlabel (darkwinter.com). Its 15 tracks are ambient, droning, and entirely season-appropriate. Much of it would fit in well with Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night, the annual beatbox street-art ritual of overlapping atmospherics (unsilentnight.com, disquiet.com).

You can hear a familiar melody buried amid birdsong on Gurdonark‘s “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” (MP3), piped lightly above rhythmic static on Mikrodepresja‘s “Silent Night (nousarchive mix)” (MP3) and twisted gently in Ka-baalim‘s “Noel Melting” (MP3). Zenith‘s “Primordia Have Spoken” is a particularly beautiful and angelic haze (MP3). Get the the full set , compiled by Nathan Larson, at darkwinter.com. (I shot the above holiday image earlier this week in the Shimo-Kitazawa neighborhood of Tokyo.)

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Quote of the Week: Sound Ecology

From the website of the organization Ear to the Earth, eartotheearth.org:

Modern ecologists may have reached a limit on how effectively they can convey messages to the public, and they may now need to draw upon the emotional vibrancy offered by the arts.
The purpose of Ear to Earth is “to engage the public in environmental issues through environmental sound and sound art.” (Found via intentionalaudio.com.)

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Kurt Vonnegut Sine Fiction MP3s

Some netabels neither die nor go on an extended hiatus — they just reserve their releases to a modest few each year. Take the Sine Fiction series — housed at notype.com — which commissions soundtracks to classic and lesser known science-fiction novels. Last year saw three, including Hinyouki’s appropriately intense backing track for Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, and this year two, first Philip K. Dick’s Lies, Inc., by A_dontigny, who oversees Sine Fiction, and more recently Érick D’Orion‘s music for Kurt Vonnegut‘s Sirens of Titan. D’Orion doesn’t map a track per chapter; nor does he — harddrive forbid — try to match the length of the reading experience. Instead he provides 11 distinct, loop-reading cues, each between a minute and a minute and a half in length, and each thick with industrial rigor. Get the full thing as a ZIP file. Additional info at notype.com.

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Abstrakt Machine MP3

One of the ironies of netlabels is the prevelance of full-length recordings. The mainstream record industry (MRI? — maybe “mainstream music business,” MMB?) is slowly adjusting to an iTunes business model, in which songs are purchased individually. But so many aspiring netlabels — which are forward-looking enough to post their music online for free — persist in pushing multi-song releases.

There are occasional outliers, like the excellent, if less than prolific, Yo.yo pang (ambulatore.com/yoyo), which I wrote about back in October (disquiet.com) and which only releases individual songs. More often, an ongoing concern, like the ironically named netlabel top-40.org — a Moscow-based netlabel that likes its tunes dank and glitchy — takes a break from weighty albums for the occasional single, such as Abstrakt Machine‘s Motor (MP3), a through-composed survey of surface noise, distant voices and microsonics that suggests we’re evesdropping on a terrarium.

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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