My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Monthly Archives: May 2009

Perfect Folktronic MP3 Gem from UV (Matthew Stenning)

The keeper on Matthew Stenning‘s new EP, The UV EP as he calls it — his music pseudonym being UV — has a clear-cut keeper. There’s much to recommend the collection of seven songs, but it’s the track “Burn” (MP3) that’ll have listeners taking notice. That is, once they notice it, because it’s such a gentle stroke of a song, such a sweet confection, that it’s all the more likely to get lost amid the big beats and fanciful atmospherics that make up much of The UV EP.


“Burn” is a gentle gesture of a song, just a bit of acoustic guitar, echoing heavily, some struck-matchstick and flipped-lighter percussion (“Burn” — get it?), a little stereo play, and that’s about all he wrote. Just modest pieces that fit together ever so perfectly. While its vibe is groovy ’60s beach-side folk-pop (complete with spacey backward-masked sounds, reminiscent of early Beatles studio experiments), its metronomic pulse is totally post-hip-hop, entirely based on the premise that the music-box-like curation of these individual sound objects will hold up for three perfect minutes. And it does. There’s also a cool little locked-vinyl-groove gimmick at the end that’s just right.

Get the full set at

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MP3 Discussion Group: Jon Hassell’s ‘Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street’

For the next few days, three ardent listeners will join me in discussing the new album by ambient-music figure Jon Hassell, Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street, released on the ECM Records label. Most if not all of the individual tracks being discussed are streaming at For additional information, visit the websites and Back in 1980, Hassell collaborated with Brian Eno on the album Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics. That term, “Fourth World,” has come to be Hassell’s description of an imagined futuristic music that brings together “ancient and digital, composed and improvised, Eastern and Western.”

Introducing the Last Night the Moon discussion participants:

  • Colin Buttimer publishes, a website dedicated to the sublime in music design. His background is in fine art, and he’s now a photographer and webbie. He writes reviews for BBC online and used to do same for Signal to Noise, e/i, Jazzwise, The Wire, Absorb, and Milkfactory. His online life is at
  • Richard Kadrey is a writer and digital artist living in San Francisco. He has written extensively on technology and culture for publications such as Wired, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Discovery Online. His new novel, Sandman Slim, will be published in July 2009 by Eos.
  • Michael Ross uses a career as a music journalist to support his other career as a musician and producer. As the former he writes for Guitar Player, EQ, Sound On Sound, and, among others. As the latter, when not playing funk, country, and blues, he composes and performs guitar/laptop electronica under the monicker prehab.

The conversation will play out in the comments section below. This is not a closed discussion, so do feel free to join in.

Some additional details about the album, before we proceed. The lineup is: Jon Hassell (trumpet, keyboards), Peter Freeman (bass, laptop), Jan Bang (live sampling), Jamie Muhoberac (keyboard, laptop), Rick Cox (guitar, loops), Kheir Eddine M’Kachiche (violin), Eivind Aarset (guitar), Helge Norbakken (drums), Pete Lockett (drums), and Dino J.A. Deane (live sampling). Track-specific personnel are listed at the Last Night the Moon album’s entry.

The track listing is:

    1. Aurora 2. Time And Place 3. Abu Gil 4. Last Night The Moon Came 5. Clairvoyance 6. Courtrais 7. Scintilla 8. Northline 9. Blue Period 10. Light On Water

The album was produced by ECM Records founder Manfred Eicher, and co-produced by Hassell and Freeman. Cover photo by Gérald Minkoff. Cover design by Sascha Kleis. The album title comes from a poem by 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi. Last Night the Moon was released February 3, 2009, in the United States, and March 6 in the European Union. Read more »

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Image of the Week: Grand Theft Audio (2004)

This Wacky Package dates from 2004, the first year the parody trading-card series was brought back after having been retired in 1991.

Wack Packs, in they years they appear, provide a cultural parallel to the lists of new words added to dictionaries. That same year, the Oxford English Dictionary added “cyberwar,” “cybercrime,” and “infowar.” And that year, the New York Times noted words such as “mash-up” and “podcasting,” as having come to prominence ( I’ve had this sticker on my file cabinet, and am only getting around now to posting it. All things Wacky Packs at

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Tangents: Remix Thesis, Museum Music, 8-Bit, …

Recommended reading, news, and so forth elsewhere:

New Online Remix Community, and Its Founder’s Thesis ( One initial impression: in a neat act of playing egg'n'chicken, on the website's navigation bar, the "Remixes" category precedes the "Songs" category. Gotta appreciate a user-interface that’s that philosophically grounded. The website's founder, John Arroyo, has a master's degree in electro-acoustic music (from Dartmouth), and his thesis ("Evolving the Remix," PDF, detail below) reads like a template for Its emphasis is on "iterative," or multi-generational, remixes.

Aukland Museum Invites Musicians to Score Its Collections ( The Aukland Museum brought in composer-performers to produce original music for the institution’s major exhibit spaces. Samples of each of the tracks are available online. Participants include Tiki Taane, Tim Coster, Don McGlashan, Richard Francis, Rachel Shearer, Phil Dadson, Chris Adams, Rosy Parlane, and Nathan Haines. (Via

Call for Submissions: Only 8-Bitters Need Apply ( Aspiring, self-restricting, retro-minded computer musicians, take note: the video-game hub has a call out to 8-bit composers to help put together a score for some vintage, but currently silent, footage of "an anonymous Atari Computer Camp excursion." Me, I never attended an Atari camp. Trying to remember if there was a TRS-80 equivalent at the time… (Via

Grey Market: Scott Tuma and Mike Weis "On Cox" ( A link to the eminently attenuated folktronic track "On Cox", off the limited edition album Taradiddle by Scott Tuma (Souled American, Boxhead Ensemble) and Mike Weis (Zelienople): MP3. According to the releasing label,, its run of 300, vinyl-only copies is sold out.

Among the Subjects at August’s Edinburgh Interactive Festival: "Sound-Only Games" (, via

Over a Dozen Artists to Lead June 7 Public "Soundwalks" in New York City (

Toronto’s Contact Ensemble Plays Brian Eno‘s ‘Discreet Music’ (

Today, May 23, Is Radiophonic Creation Day (

More online resources at

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Past Week at

  • Crud. Did I totally miss Jim Jarmusch’s Limits of Control? It doesn’t appear to be playing anywhere in or near San Francisco any longer. #
  • Saturday morning sounds: whirring laptop fan means laptop is dying means much file-transfer effort ahead this weekend. #
  • New Cliff Martinez film score! ‘In the Beginning’ (‘A l’origine’). Review isn’t high on the music: But I’m eager to see. #
  • If you Twitter, it’s #followfriday: new-music ensemble @eighthblackbird; Throbbing Gristle’s @chris_carter_; netlabel @stasisfield. #
  • Got a new “MP3 Discussion Group” together for next week. Should be good. #
  • Some of my favorite proto-“math rock”: the opening of “Superstition.” The bar’s playing what sounds like, maybe, Stanley Jordan doing it. #
  • Freaking HP laptop is dying. That moaning fan meant something. Any recommendations for actually quiet Windows PC, laptop or desktop? #
  • RIP, David Ireland. #
  • Last day of Disquiet group-yap on Burial/Four Tet 2-song release, “Moth”/”Wolf Cub”: Today: lo-tech & willful scarcity. #
  • Bought ticket to Mason Bates San Francisco Symphony tomorrow. Paid 25% service fee, to hold the ticket at will call. Great start to evening. #
  • Feeling Web 2.0. feeds my tangents/bookmarks. Digging Twitter. Hosting Burial/4Tet discussion @ #
  • The temperature dropped 35 degree since this afternoon, and now the foghorns are out in force. #
  • Catching up transcribing musician interviews. Express Scribe is great stop/start software. CallGraph records Skype calls. Both are free. #
  • Great old video of Pete Rock at work: “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle when you’re making a song: #
  • 18 is the number of J Dilla production credits since he passed away, in February 2006: #
  • Enjoyed disconnect y’day afternoon, watching @rhawtin display tracks he was DJing across the globe, while I celebrated a kid’s 5th birthday. #
  • Gym music: recent Jon Hassell, then old Metallica, Buckcherry, Alec Empire, Rage Against the (Nautilus) Machine #
  • Best sound yesterday: six kids at a five-year-old’s birthday party, all squawking on little paper horns, like a junior John Zorn brigade. #
  • Sunday morning sounds: fridge humming along, typing from across the house, laptop set to stun. No birds, no cars: Bay to Breakers to blame? #
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