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Processed Gamelan MP3s from Stasisfield’s Gregory Taylor

The two tracks that comprise Gregory Taylor‘s Two Maps of Danaraja, on the Stasisfield netlabel, are studies in contrast. The prominent features of “Seismic Profile” (MP3) are long drones while “Orbital Photo” (MP3) arrives as a series of small tones that resemble rung bells. The former takes geographic infrastructure as its title and metaphor, while the latter’s point of view is way up in space.

Both proceed at a glacial stride, but even then there are striking differences. In “Seismic” the passing of time is marked by the occasional rise in stature of one held tone, just as the previously dominant tone slowly disappears below the audible horizon. For “Orbital” the sharp bells play like a clunky lullabye, just slow enough for the listener to lose track of the melody, such as it is — imagine Harry Partch’s instruments applied to an Erik Satie composition.

In his liner note to the recording, Taylor explains how the works were accomplished. He processed recordings of gamelan, the Balinese instrument that has served as an inspiration to many contemporary composers. The processing is heavy, heavy enough that no remnant of the original is recognizable; such slate-cleaning change is part of Taylor’s attraction to the system: “the idea of spectral averaging as a way of modifying and smearing audio material in ways that emphasized their continuity and removed them frotheir normal timescales.”

Get both tracks along with cover art and the liner notes at stasisfield.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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