New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

New Essential Instrumental Hip-Hop (MP3)

As he promised on Twitter a couple months back, Philadephia-based producer Y?Arcka, aka WHYArcka, aka Arckatron, aka Shawn Kelly, has posted a slate of his recent instrumental tracks for free download and steaming. Kelly’s modus operandi is to dive deep into a single track, to extract a small part, like the riff or hook equivalent of a chromosome, and to then extrapolate from it an entirely new song. Generally speaking, Y?Arcka favors the less prominent chromosomes. Most producers of hip-hop instrumentals, which is, broadly speaking, how his music might be categorized (though it could just as easily be called plunderphonic), would favor, say, the hook equivalent of the chromosome for a strong chin. Kelly instead goes for the chromosome that is to blame for the patient’s slight instep. (As he tweeted back in May, “samples are where u never expect them to be.”) In one Jackson 5 remix, for example, he removed Michael in favor of two of the less popular brothers.

The new album turns another Jackson rifflet (a surprisingly prominent shard of “Rock with You”) into an estuary, but that’s just when it’s getting started. The collection is titled Blew Off the Burner Kinda Dusty, and its seven tracks show Kelly to be stronger than ever. Some of his earlier work emphasized ingenuity and off-kilter beats over compositional wholeness, but each of the seven tracks on Blew Off are full songs — not thoroughly conceived backing tracks awaiting a vocalist to complete them, just full songs.

The term “instrumental,” by the way, means a whole other thing in hip-hop, since a solid chunk of Kelly’s sample archive is vocal, if not verbal — vocal in factual terms, but no more or less textural and rhythmic than the rest of his source material. Perhaps the finest moment on Blew Off exemplifies this: “Swth,” which despite its Autechre-like title is a restlessly smooth affair, an endless give and take of hushed moans and rippling beats, bringing to mind some of the more subtle moments off Common’s under appreciated album Be.

The cover shows Kelly apparently blowing dust off his MPC beat machine, but if you ignore the set’s title, it’s also possible to think he’s about to give it a kiss.

Get the full set for free at And I’m honored that the artist link on the album’s webpage goes directly to this interview I conducted with Kelly back in 2009: “Young Communicator.”

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , , , / Leave a comment ]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Subscribe without commenting

  • about

  • 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

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe

  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly ( at Gray Area (
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at

  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

    Recent Projects

  • 0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.
    0543 / Technique Check / The Assignment: Share a tip from your method toolbox.
    0542 / 2600 Club / The Assignment: Make some phreaking music.
    0541 / 10BPM Techno / The Assignment: Make some snail-paced beats.
    0540 / 5ive 4our / The Assignment: Take back 5/4 for Jedi time masters Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 544 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts