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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Polish Beats (MP3s)

The percussion flanging left to right, splintering into feedback. The vocal snippets put through the glitch equivalent of autotune. The beats blank and broken. This is how Eufoteouria, on its self-titled album, makes instrumental hip-hop. The set’s 10 tracks, recently released on the dustedwax.org, are loping ventures into Poland’s after hours (there are two with guest vocalists rapping in Polish). Highlights include the muffled piano of “Spinal Cord” (MP3) and the robot torch song that is “7 am Blue pm” (MP3).

[audio:http://www.archive.org/download/DWK080/Eufoteoria_-_03_-_Spinal_Cord.mp3|titles=”Spinal Cord”|artists=Eufoteoria] [audio:http://www.archive.org/download/DWK080/Eufoteoria_-_02_-_7_am_Blue_pm.mp3|titles=”7 am Blue pm”|artists=Eufoteoria]

More on Eufoteoria, aka Poland-based Amadeusz Szczerbowski, at myspace.com/eufoteoria.

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Past Week at Twitter.com/Disquiet

  • Morning sounds: hard drive/fan whirring, heater revving up, toilet tank refilling, fridge droning, baby cooing. #
  • First blue screen (of death) I've witnessed on this machine, almost a year to the day since I bought it. (Noting for future reference.) #
  • Android shoutout: PDANet (tether, SMS agent), Barnacle (wifi hotspot), OverDrive (ebook); widgets: Pure Calendar, Sticky Pad, Google Reader. #
  • Upton Sinclair is the John Muir of industry. #protophonography #
  • At the cafe, the flyer for the Textured Earring Workshop is tacked to the wall next to the flyer for the Digital Storytelling Workshop. #
  • [email protected] A pair of ebows for one of Blood Wedding people. One for one of Vertex guys. Vertex drummer's battery-power brush may count, too. #
  • Wondering if tech firms do anything that's the engineering equivalent of wearing sexy underwear in expectancy of @ifixit teardowns. #
  • Spoiler: As a paranoid fantasy of professional rivalry, Unknown is more entertaining than Black Swan. + Bruno Ganz :) – No Clint Mansell. :( #
  • Odd @nytimes piece calls Rothko Chapel, Satie & Cage "quirky, discerning picks"; it's syndicated @texasmonthly content: http://j.mp/g1A6C3 #
  • It was a three-ebow evening. #
  • Tonight's agenda: Blood Wedding and the Norwegian duo Vertex at the Luggage Store. #
  • Afternoon sounds: hard drives/fans (netbook, TiVo), sleeping six-month-old's breathing, distant dog, cars on wet street, typing. #
  • Read more »
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A Look Back in Advance of the Latest from Colorlist

Come April 5, the Chicago-based duo Colorlist will release The Fastest Way to Become the Ocean, an EP, on the Serein label. As a preamble to that collection, Serein has compiled a single-MP3 “forecast,” collecting tracks from previous releases, seven in all (MP3). It’s a sinuous showcase for what makes Colorlist exceptional.

[audio:http://www.serein.co.uk/files/forecast/mp3/cast005_colorlist-spotlight_(serein.co.uk).mp3|titles=”Serein Forecast”|artists=Colorlist]

The duo is comprised of two Charleses: Rumback (drums, synths, electronics) and Gorczynski (saxophones, harmonium, Monome), the latter of whom will be familiar to readers of this site from his participation on the excellent Spinach Prince album (“The Continuing Feedback Loop Between Jazz & Hip-Hop,” March 22, 2010). They emphasize a discerning quietude, layering rhythms, warping acoustic sounds with digital effects, the horn echoed until it become a choral section, the decidedly limited percussion gaining the appearance of semi-automation.

According to the brief information at claritymusic.net, the new album features Jeff Parker (Tortoise), Josh Eustis (Televon Tel Aviv) / Liz Payne (Town & Country, Zoo Wheel), and John Hughes (aka Bill Ding, aka Slicker). More on the forecast MP3 at serein.co.uk.

And here are two brief videos from 2008 of Colorlist performing live improvisations

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Upton Sinclair: The John Muir of Industry

If John Muir was the proto-phonographer of nature, the model of a writer who strives to capture the world of sound with his words, he arguably had his equal in a fellow activist several decades his junior whose professional life overlapped with his own. Upton Sinclar, in The Jungle, among other works of creative muckracking, proved himself Muir’s match, the distinction being that Sinclair was an industrial mouse to Muir’s pastoral mouse. Muir is likely more often cited because descriptions of verdant national parks make better yearbook epigraphs than does reportage from slaughterhouse killing floors. But there is no less poetry, no less insight, to Sinclair’s ear. By way of example, this is from an early scene in The Jungle:

Then the party became aware of another strange thing. This, too, like the odor, was a thing elemental; it was a sound, a sound made up of ten thousand little sounds. You scarcely noticed it at first — it sunk into your consciousness, a vague disturbance, a trouble. It was like the murmuring of the bees in the spring, the whisperings of the forest; it suggested endless activity, the rumblings of a world in motion. It was only by an effort that one could realize that it was made by animals, that it was the distant lowing of ten thousand cattle, the distant grunting of ten thousand swine.

The passage came to mind while listening, on repeat, to Luís Antero‘s Factory Music, a half hour of recordings made in a factory town in Portugal (MP3). The sound quality is high, and the range of captured audio is remarkable for the distinction and variety.

[audio: http://www.wanderingear.com/we016/we016-Lu%eds_Antero-01-Factory_Music.mp3|titles=”Lupita”|artists=Luís Antero]

These are some favorite moments:

03:24 downtempo routine 06:44 intense grinding 07:46 whole lotta buzzing going on 13:20 wash of whir with bell-like overtone 14:09 pneumatic rhythm of steamy minimal techno

More on the recording at its releasing netlable, wanderingear.com. More on Antero at luisantero.yolasite.com.

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Spaghetti Western Trip-Hop (MP3s)

Italianate guitar is heard between a creaky door and train-station bells, and just above a foundation bed of vinyl surface noise. Wells of low-pressure feedback and heavily echoed piano make themselves heard. This is “Rumore del Roma,” off Recollage by Erik Nilsson. The title track is no different: same spaghetti western trip-hop vibe, all silverware percussion and romanticly strummed guitar, bonded by a heavy, slow bass line and made all the more enticing by occasions of whirry electric currents. The effect — a kind of frontier steampunk, all gunslinger accents and electronica undercurrent, broken-knuckle castanets and backward-masked samples — reaches its greatest achievement here on “Old Piano/Bad Back,” in which the six string is put on a loop that has just enough of an overlay to mark it as artificial (deliciously so), and punctuated with snippets of dialog and clockwork. The whole collection is tremendous.

Get the full set of eight tracks as a free Zip archive. More details at archive.org and the releasing netlabel, luxusarctica.wordpress.com. More on Nilsson, who is based in Stockholm, Sweden, at soundcloud.com/apanmusic.

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  • about

  • 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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