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Listening to art.
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Sounding out technology.
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Monthly Archives: April 2009

8-Bit Video Game Remix MP3 (Super Dodge Ball)

Just over 20 years ago, Nintendo released Super Dodge Ball for the NES system. Not only have gaming consoles evolved since those 8-bit times, but so too have the passions of gamers. There are entire online communities devoted just to outdated tech like the NES, something Nintendo has acknowledged by packaging classic games, and putting titles like Super Dodge Ball up on its virtual Wii store for inexpensive downloadable fun.

There are also communities devoted to the music of those old-school games. One such community is Overclocked Remix (at ocremix.org), where members post reworked versions of video-game theme songs. Case in point, a mix by Avaris (aka Shaun Wallace) of a tune from Super Dodge Ball (MP3), which adds field recordings to the original, cuts it up into something new, and plays with what Avaris/Wallace himself describes as “the most stereotypical representation of China in sonic form ever created.”

[audio:http://ocrmirror.iiens.net/songs/Super_Dodge_Ball_Breakbeat_Market_OC_ReMix.mp3|titles=”Breakbeat Market”|artists=Avaris]

There are, as of this writing, not one but four Super Dodge Ball remixes up at Overclocked, including a second, earlier “Theme of Team China” revision (see ocremix.org).

More at on Avaris’s mix at ocremix.org.

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Serenade for Six German Sirens (MP3)

If you’ve ever experienced the phenomenon when a distant siren takes on an enjoyably melodic quality, then “Russando” (2008) by Hallgrimur Vilhjálmsson is a must listen. When the sonic aggression of such sirens is diminished by space — that is, when civil-service sounds are rendered civil — what’s revealed is a taut melodic cycle, an inherently minimalist patterning that is immediately comparable to the compositional stuff of Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Those composers’s works echo in “Russando,” which Vilhjálmsson (who is from Iceland) describes as a “Serenade for six German Sirens” (MP3).

[audio:http://mediamogul.seas.upenn.edu/pennsound/authors/Valjalmsson/Valjalmsson-Hallgrimur_Serenade-for-Six-German-Sirens-Op-43.mp3|titles=”Serenade for six German Sirens”|artists=Hallgrimur Vilhjálmsson]

It helps, of course, that the sirens have that toy-like quality that European sirens often do, at least to an American ear, but even tone aside, Vilhjálmsson’s playful settings and use of stereo to exaggerate contrasts is highly pleasurable.

More information at ubu.com, where the audio is housed.

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Mystified’s Self-Remix MP3s

About a year ago, Thomas Park, who records as Mystified, released a five-track collection of atmospheric synthesis, titled Altered Signals, all of it sourced reportedly from broadcast sound, and then transformed by Park’s musical alchemy. The music was meditative and rich; seemingly quiet, but when played loud it revealed serious depth. Now Park has updated the collection, adding beats to each of the five tracks, which makes for an entirely new listening experience, and for a study in contrasts.

For example, the slowly roiling “Science of Change” now has a pixel-perfect beat running through it (remix: MP3), and the white noise of “Bell Cloud” has this static-electric techno added in (remix: MP3), which lends tension and form.

I’ve set up the following five channels, so that each pairing can be heard in parallel. Note four of the five tracks are the same length in both the remix and the original, but the original of “Science of Change” was an outlier originally, at half an hour, and was trimmed by Park in the production of the remix. In each, I put the original version of the piece first, and Mystified’s self-remix of the track second:

[audio:http://www.darkwinter.com/dw046/dw046-Mystified-01-Altered_Signals.mp3,http://www.archive.org/download/Altered_Signals_2/01_Altered_Signals_Remix.mp3|titles=”Altered Signals”,”Altered Signals Remix”|artists=Mystified, Mystified]
[audio:http://www.darkwinter.com/dw046/dw046-Mystified-02-Bell_Cloud.mp3,http://www.archive.org/download/Altered_Signals_2/02_Bell_Cloud_Remix.mp3|titles=”Bell Cloud”,”Bell Cloud Remix”|artists=Mystified, Mystified]
[audio:http://www.darkwinter.com/dw046/dw046-Mystified-03-Vocal_Tremors.mp3,http://www.archive.org/download/Altered_Signals_2/03_Vocal_Tremors_Remix.mp3|titles=”Vocal Tremors”,”Vocal Tremors Remix”|artists=Mystified, Mystified]
[audio:http://www.darkwinter.com/dw046/dw046-Mystified-04-Octavepus.mp3,http://www.archive.org/download/Altered_Signals_2/04_Octavepus_Remix.mp3|titles=”Octavepus”,”Octavepus Remix”|artists=Mystified, Mystified]
[audio:http://www.darkwinter.com/dw046/dw046-Mystified-05-Science_Of_Change.mp3,http://www.archive.org/download/Altered_Signals_2/05_Science_Of_Change_Remix.mp3|titles=”Science of Change”,”Science of Change Remix”|artists=Mystified, Mystified]

Read about the initial release at disquiet.com. More on Park/Mystified at mystifiedmusic.com.

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Classically Sourced Solo MP3s

The shskh.com netlabel was founded a few years back by Jody Pou and Igor Ballereau, Manhattan-based musicians. Their latest is a compact anthology of experimental music that takes classical instrumentation as its starting point. For fans of electronic music, the best entry point may be “January 21, 2009,” by Kenneth Kirschner, who treats flute electronically (originally performed by Erin Lesser) until it becomes his own characteristic spectral glare (MP3).

[audio:http://www.shskh.com/uploads/290vol3_track1.mp3|titles=”January 21, 2009″|artists=Kenneth Kirschner and Erin Lesser]

“Monochrome pour Igor” by Giuliano D’Angiolini sounds like stripped down Ligeti (MP3); cautious lines horn lines (that’s Benjamin Herrington on trombone) overlap in stereo in short segments that are more Webern-like koans than full compositions. (Speaking of which, the forthcoming shskh.com release will be Webern-related. It’s due out this summer.)

[audio:http://www.shskh.com/uploads/279vol3_track4.mp3|titles=”Monochrome pour Igor”|artists=Giuliano D’Angiolini and Benjamin Herrington]

The double bass (performed by Tom Blancarte) that serves as the origin for sounds in Igor Ballereau‘s “Noctis Labyrinthus” (MP3) plays a similar game to the trombone in the D’Angiolini: short bursts of tonal play and modest riffing are interspersed with framing silences. (Suggesting the Igor in D’Angiolini’s title is Ballereau and not Stravinsky.)

[audio:http://www.shskh.com/uploads/435vol3_track3.mp3|titles=”Noctis Labyrinthus”|artists=Igor Ballereau and Tom Blancartel]

And Joe Bergen provides the timpani for Aaron Siegel‘s “Our Reluctance Is Overstated” (MP3), a work of subliminal passion, all muted tribal beats.

[audio:http://www.shskh.com/uploads/682vol3_track2.mp3|titles=”Our Reluctance Is Overstated|artists=Aaron Siegel and Joe Bergen]

The interface at shskh.com is absolutely beautiful, by the way. There’s a playful table of contents for the releases (this is the label’s fourth thus far), and the in-browser audio player shows waveforms of the current track. (There’s even a full-screen view.) It’s unfortunate, though, that for all the website’s stylish presentation, you can’t find all the information about a single release on a single page, and must tab through.

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Past Week at Twitter.com/Disquiet

As of today, this site will automatically post on Sunday afternoon the posts I’ve made during the past week at twitter.com/disquiet. It won’t do all of them — not personal “direct” Twitter posts, nor (at least for the time being) posts that are intended as public direct replies to (or public direct posts aimed at) individuals (those would be the ones that open with an @ sign). And for an ongoing attempt to collate ambient/electronica-related (and sound-art) Twitter accounts check out this post: disquiet.com.

  • Dang. Biz Markie ! is playing at the 1st anniversary of Hard Knox, blocks from my house on Thursday, and I’ve got a ticket to Jews on Vinyl. #
  • I rarely sign Internet petitions. Google Android discussions are less petitions than tallies. Support external keyboards: http://is.gd/uFZn #
  • Sunday morning sonic singularity: laptop purring not wheezing, birds outside tweeting not shouting, fridge in momentary quiet mode, no cars. #
  • I have a sound-art piece @Crewest Gallery (in Los Angeles). Closing party is tonight (Saturday, April 25). More info: http://is.gd/uBpL #
  • Gym music: recent Metallica, again — and stuff from unfamiliar netlabels. #
  • Saturday morning sounds: laptop fan, fridge hum, distant cars, a bird that may think it’s Thom Yorke. #
  • Pondering: Duplicity on small screen, old Soderbergh on smaller, San Rafael for pizza, extended trumpet in Oakland… What to do tonight? #
  • Wiped last night, and only made it through half of Throbbing Gristle, but it was great. (Genesis P-orridge has become Marianne Faithfull.) #
  • #followfriday: Portugal netlabel @pedroleitao; music crit @gsandow; NYC art-song @dargel; laptop-guitar @willits; “Radio” killer @trevorhorn #
  • Spending too much time with my Nintendo DSi fiddling with instrumental of the Timbaland/Danja-produced Xzibit track “Hey Now (Mean Muggin).” #
  • For folks interested in Steve Reich’s Pulitzer-winning Double Sextet, here’s video of eighth blackbird recording it: http://is.gd/tAqp #
  • DSi first impressions: embedded sound tools = insanely cool. I taped the bus on the ride home, and turned it into a whistle. Much potential. #
  • Steve Reich wins the Pulitzer: http://www.pulitzer.org/awards/2009. Don Byron and Harold Meltzer were runners-up. #
  • Four days until Throbbing Gristle at Grand Ballroom in San Francisco. After Cluster & now TG, what’s my next “band I never thought I’d see”? #

PS: The Trevor Horn entry above has since been learned to not be by Trevor Horn himself, but by a parodist.

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