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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Taylor Deupree’s Sound-a-Day Project (MP3s)

The year is slowly coming to its end, and with it all manner of “[X] per day” projects, which seem to proliferate on the Internet. One such endeavor is the One Sound Each Day venture by musician and label owner Taylor Deupree. His little instances of sound have been the subject of Downstream entries in the past, most recently back in mid-August ( Among his October entries are field recordings and studio experiments. These four are among the month’s most quiet, and I’ve sequenced them here as a little suite, to allow for an extended listening experience. It opens and closes with “real world” sounds, one constructed (an airport games arcade: MP3) and one of nature (leaves being rustled: MP3), with two studio improvisations in between (a simple gamelan bell instrument: MP3; a loop of harmonium: MP3) — despite which differences in sourcing, all have a fragility that, when investigated, reveals endless audio details.

[audio:,,,|titles=”games arcade”,”gamelan bell instrument”,”harmonium”,”leaves”|artists=Taylor Deupree,Taylor Deupree,Taylor Deupree,Taylor Deupree]

Visit the project at

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Iranian Electronica by Sohrab (MP3)

The Iranian musician Sohrab keeps a sparse MySpace page, at There’s little more contextual information at the record label Touch, whose “Touch Radio” sublabel has this past week released a generous, free download — just one single, nearly 100-MB file (over 42 minutes in length), with the names of the individual tracks it collectively comprises (nine total), and details on when (this month), where (in Teheran), and how it was recorded: The rest is left up to our ears. Sohrab’s is at first a spacious music, a steady stream of cloudlike sonic formations that go through a variety of transformations — there are moments of rough effects, but the foundation, so to speak, remains the same: ethereal, lingering puffs of lightly dispersed audio (MP3).

[audio:|titles=”Tanhayi — Live in Teheran”|artists=Sohrab]
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Orchard & Ponds’s ‘Preparations’ (MP3s)

There are three short and one very long piece on Preparations, the recent album by Orchard & Ponds. The short ones range from barely a minute in length to just over two, and are entirely knowable: brief little exercises in low-slung, artfully maudlin sound. There’s a muffled recording of what is likely a mother singing to a child (“Lullaby”: MP3), heard as if through a thick wall; though always recognizable as a voice, on repeated listens it becomes a single melismatic sound, tracing the contours of the melody, and slowly dispensing with whatever words are involved. There’s an acoustic guitar ramble that brushes up against a rough harmonica (“The Drake”: MP3). And there’s a soulful mix of guitar and shards of roughly, lightly bowed violin that emphasizes the textural elements of both (“Bredoleau”: MP3).

And then there’s the title track, which at upwards of three quarters of an hour is not fully knowable (“Preparations”: MP3). Despite its title, there is no preparation for its extended near-silence, less a drone than an audio document of warm dust (for anyone who’s not an occasional or longtime reader of this website, that last description is intended as high praise). It’s a steadily paced investigation of quiet reverb, light static, and distant feedback, all given a semblance of structure thanks to some almost invisible looping, and the fact that the piece is bookended on the album by shorter, more concertedly defined works.

[audio:|titles=”Lullaby”|artists=Orchard & Ponds] [audio:|titles=”Preparations”|artists=Orchard & Ponds] [audio:|titles=”Bredoteau”|artists=Orchard & Ponds] [audio:|titles=”The Drake”|artists=Orchard & Ponds]

More details on the release at the releasing netlabel, More on Orchard & Ponds at

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Ian Hawgood, Sine-Curve Soundsmith (MP3s)

Once upon a time, there was a dynamic in pop music in which loud and quiet sections alternated within a given song. That scenario is often tracked back to the Pixies (and, a little later, Nirvana). In contemporary electronic music, there is a scenario in which a drone changes amplitude — or volume, that is — as if following the contours of a slowly undulating sine wave, moving up and down in a manner that from a distance might appear mechanical, but that retains a lilting feel. The end effect is more rocking chair than industrial churn.

This music, the rich and complex tone that generally goes by the name “drone,” moves from near-silence to an immersive breadth and back again, over and over, like clockwork, yes, but like a clock wrapped in something gauze-soft. Take “Before I Let the Sunshine Rot,” the opening, and arguably the best, track off Ian Hawgood‘s recent Phantom Channel album, with which it shares its title (MP3). While not all the music on the record adheres to this pattern as concertedly as does its title cut, the lilt does make itself felt throughout — in “The Latin Quarter,” there’s a tremulous reverberation (MP3) that’s far more aggressive than anything in “Before I Let the Sunshine Rot,” and crowd voices are mixed in, but the overall effect is the same. One other favorite, among the album’s eight tracks, is “Pirouette of Cotton 1,” which adds a thin female vocal, a light harmonic contribution, less a lead vocal than another ingredient in the drone recipe (MP3).

[audio:|titles=”Before I Let the Sunshine Rot”|artists=Ian Hawgood] [audio:|titles=”Before I Let the Sunshine Rot”|artists=Ian Hawgood] [audio:|titles=”Pirouette of Cotton 1″|artists=Ian Hawgood]

Get the full release at either or More on Hawgood at his website,

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MP3 Discussion Group: ‘Dustland’ by Gentleman Losers

This week, the MP3 Discussion Group extends its Finnish fixation, by focusing its collective ears on the album Dustland by the duo Gentleman Losers — this following up recent group discussions of two efforts by Finland’s Sasu Ripatti (the new Vladislav Delay album and the new Moritz von Oswald album).

The Losers are the brothers Samu and Ville Kuukka, and Dustland is the group’s second commercial release. Their first album, which was self-titled, was released on the Büro label the back in 2006. Dustland was released earlier this year on City Centre Offices. Like Gentleman Losers, Dustland is a melodic instrumental collection, in which lilting songs meet up with light studio inventions, such as deep reverb and mechanized beats.

More on the band at and Gentleman Losers recently remixed the Bibio track “Haikuesque” for a forthcoming Warp Records release.

Participating in this week’s discussion are:

Lauren Giniger: “I’m an occasional rock-centric music writer who enjoys the opportunity to flex a little mental muscle deconstructing ambient works.”

Julian Lewis: “I write much of Lend Me Your Ears, a UK/Spain-based MP3 blog that appreciates less obvious music.”

Alan Lockett: “I write music reviews and commentary on ambient/drone, the more adventurous end of techno/house, post-dub, and IDM. Based in Bristol, epicentre of the Dub-zone in the Wild West of England, I can mainly be read on and”

Matt Madden: “I’m a cartoonist, comics teacher, and sometime-critic living in Brooklyn. My first love was music and I try to keep a line open to the alternate-universe-me who became a musician. I’ll be channeling him here the next few days.”

Joshua Maremont: “I record as Thermal and pursue my musical and other obsessions in San Francisco.”

The conversation will play out in this post’s comments section. This is by no means a closed discussion, so do feel free to join in.

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website 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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