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Kikapu Netlabel Closes with Mikronesia MP3 Album

The latest Kikapu netlabel release, Mikronesia‘s vxvii, is one of its best ever — nine tracks of Satie-esque electronica. The Mikronesia set is also Kikapu’s last. Kikapu was founded in 2001 by Brad Mitchell, who records as Pocka. In the intervening years, the label has released, for free download, over 100 singles, EPs, and albums. The Mikronesia set is the label’s 109th.

While Kikapu wasn’t the first (Thinner and Monotonik, just to name two, opened for business in the late 1990s), it has been a steady and substantial presence on the netlabel scene. Mitchell has much to be proud of, and a search for “kikapu” on this site will bring up several recommended recordings, as well as a Mitchell interview from 2004 (“Shawnee for Laptop”). Since its recent closing, the kikapu.com website has been elegantly reduced to a single page, linking from a list of the releases to the individual pages at the Internet Archive (aka archive.org) where the music is stored.

The Mikronesia collection serves as a fitting endpoint for the label, which has long emphasized gentle atmospherics, field recordings, and light glitch. (Kikapu also hosted its share of melodic, beat-driven electronica, which is virtually absent on this album.) The comparison to Satie is particularly strong in the watery piano on the opening piece, “She Brings” (MP3), but it’s reinforced throughout due to an approach by which every track, no matter how loudly it is played, seeps into the background. Haunting voices are filtered through bells and reverb on “Hibersea” (MP3), and other high points include the textural white noise of “Moke Cene” (MP3) and the insectoid field recordings worked into “Part” (MP3). Get the full set at archive.org. More on Mikronesia, aka Michael McDermott, at mikronesia.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • 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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