SoundCloud: Esbie Hits the Bottle (MP3)

This week on, all five daily Downstream entries are going to be culled from the great resource I’m at

One person’s sonic experiment is another’s everyday listening. “Petron” by Esbie (aka Sarah Brown) is just that: “the sound of an empty Petron bottle, pitch shifted over 3 octaves in Reason.” The raw material is a great one to fiddle with: a taut popping noise somewhat akin to someone making a bubble sound with their lips. From that audio object, Esbie has produced a little melodic fun. As evidenced by the extensive striations in the piece’s waveform, the song is heavily percussive. Spread over three octaves, that single sound plays varied roles, including a kind of bass line, and a rapidfire mode that brings to mind a wooden xylophone.

The SoundCloud waveform is, if not a score, then at least a map. Note how the first third is less dense — that’s when Esbie is first introducing the sounds and the basic melodic formula; after that, layers are added for a bit of contrapuntal play.

One of the many great things about SoundCloud is how you can discover new acts by looking at who is following and followed by the people you listen to. I came upon Esbie through just such a circuitous route — which is to say, I can’t remember exactly what chain led me to her work.

The file can be downloaded using the little down arrow in the above SoundCloud interface. More on the track at, and on Esbie/Brown at There’s a lot of neat, if brief, experiments at her SoundCloud page, including some vocal layering, some remixes, video-game music, and a handmade piece for music box.

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