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

Putting Aside the Concept (MP3)

A concept album’s concept isn’t necessarily as essential as the resulting sounds. There is an enormous amount of music made from field recordings, as well as music that focuses in on the cagey aspects of technology that turn everyone into both observer and observed. Knowing that Scanner’s early work sourced audio captured from unprotected communications did loan it a certain amount of moral-gray-area frisson, even giving it a political undercurrent, but it worked as music primarily because, well, it worked as music. The three tracks that comprise m_area, a new EP by Humeka, reportedly derive their source material from various forms of communication, but you needn’t know the facts of the music’s origins to enjoy it. The brief liner note explains, in part:

All the samples in this release were captured through some kind of communication device (i.e. mobile phone, answering machine). From the streets of Paris to the private messages …

But the fact is, on m_area those sounds are so reduced to their rhythmic essentials that it scarcely matters to the listener from whence they came. What matters is “Ecotone.” That is the set’s second and central track, which brings to mind the Mille Plateaux label’s fabled Clicks and Cuts series at its zenith: it makes delectably percussive music from brittle little samples (MP3), their cold, hard sounds belying just how nimble they prove to be in Humeka’s hands.


The other two tracks are fun, too, notably for the aridly glitchy opening of “De Barbes a Ordener,” before a more orderly melody kicks in, and the humorous funk (or funky humorousness) of “Mum Phoned Me Tonight.”

Get the full set at More on Humeka at and Also visit the releasing netlabel,

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comments: 2 ]


  1. papernoise
    [ Posted August 4, 2011, at 10:14 am ]

    “A concept album’s concept isn’t necessarily as essential as the resulting sounds.” Or you could also say: the concept must be carried by something, if the music doesn’t, what else should do it?

    I’m really intrigued by this album, especially by how it was made… the interesting thing is, you can somehow feel the concept behind it, which goes in stark contrast to ho how you are often supposed to perceive it, i.e. rationally. The best part of the album (and of similar projects) is probably that, they get out of the rationalist, verbocentric contemporary-art way of doing conceptual music and take a different, more perceptual and intuitive approach.

  2. humeka
    [ Posted June 26, 2012, at 4:32 am ]

    I’ve just discovered this review… Thanks again for those nice words =)

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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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