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Album Preview as Form (MP3)

A teaser of the new Federico Durand LP serves as a composition unto itself

The album preview is a staple of commercial music, often coming in the form of collections of snippets of various tracks. In many cases, this is abbreviation in service of tantalization, but in the end it just causes frustration. The snippets are more teases than tastes, and the abruptness of the cuts between them has a stronger sensibility than do any of the assorted individual parts, let alone the collective whole.

But certain musics lend themselves more naturally to brevity. The preview of the album El libro de los árboles mágicos, due out from Tokyo-based label Home Normal label on June 15, is seven short ambient-infused slivers in sequence, each fading into the next. By all appearances, these individual tracks are more drone than song, and thus the segmented view serves to highlight distinctions between them — distinctions that might in fact be less evident when the work is listened to in the more immersive long-form situation of the full release. There is backward masked light noise, and looped bird song, and spectral guitar, and rain heard against what could be a child’s toy piano, and they all combine into a sonic slideshow. The intent of the preview is to forecast what is coming, but the subdued sounds of the music, not to mention the broader concept of an album itself in this day and age, lends the enterprise a lovely tinge of nostalgia. The music is by Federico Durand, and three of the tracks show him in collaboration: track 1 with Chihei Hatakeyama, 3 with Fuqugi, and 4 with Ian Hawgood.

Track, ten minutes in all, originally posted at soundcloud.com/homenormal.

More on Home Normal at homenormal.tumblr.com and twitter.com/homenormal. More on Durand himself at federicodurand.blogspot.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • 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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