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

Funky Conceptual Art from WHY?Arcka (MP3)

Philly hip-hop producer WHY?Arcka has uploaded one of his strongest beats yet, the elegant dissection of rhythm and soul that is “Street Walkin’ (Gone).” The track has been entered in as Exhibit G at arckatron.bandcamp.com, his ongoing A-to-Z of abstract instrumental beats, deeply felt crate digging, and all around metric ingenuity.

As is WHY?Arcka’s mode, he takes a small slice of a pre-existing song — nowhere near as nanoscopic as would be an experiment in granular synthesis, but neither is it as reductive as a P. Diddy pop production — and inspects the fragment until it yields something akin to a funky piece of conceptual art.

The track opens with a quick loop, all rhythm and moan, a moan so sublimated it might be mistaken for a nuance to the bass line, which is exactly what it becomes as “Street Walkin’ (Gone)” takes shape. Then comes a smattering of guitar, hinted at before it’s allowed to be heard fully. And then the vocal, a tantalizing snippet of the song’s title. And then the whole thing goes into breakdown mode, even more spare than at the opening, a slim mash of beat and vocal, allowed to go about its own staunch business.

Forgive the play-by-play appreciation, but this review is really just mimicking exactly what WHY?Arcka himself enacts upon the sample at hand: teasing out the encoded beauty.

The excellent bandcamp.com interface provides its own proprietary mode of sharing and providing free download, encapsulated in this tidy widget:

<a href="http://arckatron.bandcamp.com/track/exhibit-g-street-walkin-gone">Exhibit G: Street Walkin'(Gone) by WHY?Arcka</a>

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , , , / Comments: 2 ]

2 Comments

  1. mHead
    [ Posted October 1, 2009, at 7:02 am ]

    Thanks for the reminder on WHY?Arcka’s project. I’ve already downloaded A through E, so obviously I need to go back and get the new downloads.

  2. Marc Weidenbaum
    [ Posted October 1, 2009, at 2:33 pm ]

    Yeah, the guy really has it. He and Diego Bernal are two of my favorites currently.

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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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