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: February 2010

Past Week at Twitter.com/Disquiet

  • Reading book Cracked Media (MIT Press) by Caleb Kelly? My cited Oval interview isn't offline, per bibliography. It's at http://is.gd/8Niiz #
  • Florida sounds, morning: moving furniture above, distant cars beyond, unfamiliar birds in between. And new netbook's soft hard-drive noise. #
  • Belated RIP, Dale Hawkins (b. 1936), whose "Susie Q," as covered by Creedence Clearwater Revival, was an early drone-rock touchstone. #
  • Insanely massive MC Escher exhibit at Boca Raton Museum, minus installation score from Orlando 2005 Show. #
  • Increasing evidence that the ripples in man-made lakes look more CGI than the ripples in naturally occurring lakes. #
  • Gorgeous pinball machines on display at SFO, but since they're not plugged in they look like corpse machines. #
  • Breaking in new laptop, Toshiba netbook: 2.5 pounds, insane battery. Runs Ableton OK with a gig of ram. See how well it runs in coming week. #
  • First warm day in some time. Windows open. Passing sirens are perfectly in tune with the radio. #
  • Anything sound/art-ish happening in Miami (and thereabouts) this coming weekend (Feb 19-22)? #
  • Day's word: "clang-tint," type of sonic appeal per HL Mencken, quoted in @nytimes re: pleasure of phrase "cellar door": http://is.gd/8nR1w #
  • The Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely run on Batman & Robin: so cinematic, every time I come to the credits page I look for who did the score. #
  • Had no idea: DJ Food/Strictly Kev is on @soundcloud. Great, funky Brian Eno mix is at the top of his feed: http://is.gd/8mRtU #
  • Morning sounds: the quieter the world, the louder the hard drives. #
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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.

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WHY?Arcka’s 26th and Final Arckatron Exhibits MP3

Major congrats to Philly-based outward-bound hip-hop and soul-cutup producer WHY?Arcka, aka Shawn Kelly, who has completed his 26-track series of free downloads, Exhibits A – Z, which he launched last year at arckatron.bandcamp.com.

Each entry in the Exhibits series takes a few brief snippets of familiar songs and creates something new out of these little bits of horns and voice, drums and strings, beats and bass. He’s chosen to close the run with “IHT/Goodbye,” a tribute to Black Moses himself, Isaac Hayes:

<a href="http://arckatron.bandcamp.com/track/exhibit-z-iht-goodbye">Exhibit Z: IHT/Goodbye by WHY?Arcka</a>

The track invents a heavy back beat where there wasn’t one, and introduces a funky counterpoint by layering and juxtaposing material that was originally heard in an entirely different sequence. Not short on aspirations himself, Kelly pays tribute to Hayes’s affection for suites by cutting short the track close to the end and taking it an entirely different, loungey, downtempo direction.

Track originally posted at arckatron.bandcamp.com. Again, congrats to WHY?Arcka. Can’t wait to hear what he comes up with next.

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Bulgarian-tinged British Instrumental Hip-Hop (MP3s)

Back in the heady days of fusion, and later on repeat during the heights of acid-jazz, texture was perhaps the discernible feature distinguishing depth from froth. The rough, saliva-tinged exaltations of Miles Davis kept his electric-era work grounded — in contrast with the high-tone lounge music of his third-generation descendants. On the fifth and penultimate track of Innereyefull‘s EP of hip-hop-derived instrumentals, Blunted Soul, “Kickin Back,” a light bit of vinyl noise opens the track. What follows is a solid groove that edges into psychedelia, slowing the head to a nod, an echoed vocal sample occasionally punctuating the molasses-mode tempo. What makes the track stand out from the collection is how that surface noise comes to serve as part of the rhythm, part of what proves to be an especially addictive downtempo shuffle (MP3).

Likewise “Flipside,” with which the album closes — here it’s a horn, the standard signifier of jazz, that is the source of the track’s distinction. The horn is melodious, but warped, a slightly sour effect that finds a tasty parallel between the effect of a mute and of a slowed turntable (MP3)

[audio:http://www.archive.org/download/DWK049/Innereyefull_-_05_-_Kickin_Back.mp3 |titles=”Kickin Back”|artists=Innereyefull] [audio:http://www.archive.org/download/DWK049/Innereyefull_-_06_-_Flipside_feat_Violent_Public_Disorderaz.mp3|titles=”Flipside”|artists=Innereyefull feat. Violent Public Disorderaz]

Get the full release at dustedwax.org. More on Innereyefull, aka British musician Andy Kent, at myspace.com/innereyefulls. More on Bulgarian musician Dimitar Kalinov, aka Violent Public Disorderaz, who guests on “Flipside,” at myspace.com/violentpublicdisorderaz.

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Ambient-Leaning Post-Rock, or Vice Versa

The Unrecognizable Now have, of late, been up to their ambient-leaning, post-rock tricks (or perhaps it’s post-rock”“leaning, ambient tricks) in a recording studio, and are sharing some of what they’ve come up with. A recent track, posted an Unrec member Marc Fischer‘s unrecnow.com/dust blog, is five-plus minutes of what could be an early Terry Riley exploration of oceanic rhythms or, in more contemporary terms, a Tortoise practice in dronescaping (MP3). Despite the willfully fluid format of the music, there is a compositional quality to it, how nodes of harmonic specificity come to overlap, and how little rifflets suggest development that has aspirations to be as melodic as it is tonal.

[audio:http://unrecnow.com/dust/audio/02_11_10un.mp3|titles=”Vision+Hearing Piece”|artists=Unrecognizable Now]

More on the duo of Fischer and his partner, Matt Jones, who perform as Unrecognizable Now with live visuals by Rob Tyler, at myspace.com/unrecognizablenow, and at unrecnow.com, from which the below image is borrowed.

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