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

Early-1990s Glitch (MP3)

Another treasure from ubu.com: the 1993 album by Bernhard Günter, Un Peu de Neige Salie. Well, four of the original album’s five tracks, judging by various discographic reference sources. Günter is a major micro-sonicist, and these tracks exemplify his detail-oriented approach, even if one of them is, by his own explanation, a real career anomaly. It is also a very early example of glitch, the sound of microscopic error, a sound that was arguably to then-nascent electronic music what the blue note was to jazz.

The piece is the one with which the album opens, “Untitled I/92”; it is, in its composer’s own words, “the only work using synthesized sounds I have ever released” (MP3).

[audio:http://ubu.artmob.ca/sound/Muller_Gunther/Un_Peu_De_Niege/Muller_Gunther-Un_Peu_De_Niege-1-Untitled_I92.mp3 |titles=”Untitled I/92″|artists=Bernhard Günter]

And it’s not just for historical reasons that the track is required listening. It is metronomically glitchy, drawing the ear in with ever so minute sounds. These little aural pin pricks set down the barest of rhythms, only to be upset by sudden shuddering — even giving in, somehow being subsumed by, a sound that by all measure save experience is even tinier still. It’s a high-pitched, dogs-worst-friend whine that’s filament thin and all the more compelling, attention-grabbing, for its near-non-existence. In the end, it’s like some figment particle fixated on by a sleep-deprived physicist.

Get the full set at ubu.com. More on Günter at myspace.com/bernhardguenter.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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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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