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Japanese Abstract Turntablism MP3 from DJ Sniff

There is DJ’ing, and then there is turntablism. The former lends context to existing music by putting pre-recorded sounds into a sequence, sometimes locating parallels through the creative use of layering. The latter takes the medium itself as its subject, working with familiar tools but often driving into abstract territory that provides a unique vantage point.

Take, for example, the bracing work of DJ Sniff (born Takuro Mizuta Lippit and pictured above), a Tokyo-educated musician who is associated with the experimental music labs at STEIM in Amsterdam. He has posted numerous files of his work up at djsniff.com, including “drum studies1” (MP3), which is an exemplary window onto his musical tactics.

The track bears the hallmarks of a DJ in action — the backward motion, the surface texture, the way that familiar sounds are distorted by tactile techniques, and the use of variable speeds. The result, though, is a work that at first sounds chaotic, yet slowly reveals its own sense of responsibility to the listener, building up bountiful noises that verge on the orchestral, but always bringing it back to the basics, rarified bits that bring to mind funky gears. More details, video, and music at djsniff.com (from which the above images is borrowed).

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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