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

A Turntable and a Koto Record (MP3s)

With its echoes of Wagon Christ and Funki Porcini and DJ Krush and Kid Koala, Pendulum by San Jose, California-based Hypoetical builds old-school hip-hop beats from hazy fragments of melodramatic found sounds — an association Hypoetical engages with directly by titling the album’s 21st and final track, a three-minute rhapsody for thumping beat and a handful of piano notes, “Elevator Music” (MP3). Reissued recently online for free download by the great netlabel, the album dates from 2001. Its best tracks, like “Elevator Music,” keep their source material relatively unmolested. “A Turntable and a Koto Record” (MP3) sounds like pretty much exactly that, though the koto’s strings are heard to make curt, terse repetitions, much like those in “Elevator Music,” that the instrument never would in its traditional setting. Likewise the murkily orchestral “The War Within” (MP3), which makes much of a briefly bowed cello. Other favorites include the eerie children’s melody of “Staring at My Eyelids” (MP3), the romantic whorl that is “Reminds Me of Dennis” (MP3), and the overtly cinematic “Flow Job” (MP3).

[audio:|titles=”Elevator Music”|artists=Hypoetical] [audio:|titles=”A Turntable and a Koto Record”|artists=Hypoetical] [audio:|titles=”The War Within”|artists=Hypoetical] [audio:|titles=”Staring at My Eyelids”|artists=Hypoetical] [audio:|titles=”Reminds Me of Dennis”|artists=Hypoetical] [audio:|titles=”Flow Job”|artists=Hypoetical]

Get the full set of 21 tracks at If this weren’t already a decade old, much of it would be on my “likely” list for best netlabel releases of 2011. More on Hypoetical at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , , , / Comments: 2 ]


  1. courtney
    [ Posted January 4, 2011, at 10:14 am ]

    琴 ;)

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted January 5, 2011, at 10:41 am ]

      My kanji is so limited, it’s silly. Thanks for the koto!

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  • 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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