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

Repetition Is a Forum for Change (MP3)

John Dombroski submits a locked groove for remix

The track is rhythmic, like a municipal light rail passing in steady rain on a quiet street. There’s a crunch to it, the leaden beat of something hit repeatedly yet resilient enough to show little if any resulting damage. Through headphones, the noise expands; it comes to span the sonic periphery despite its inherent delicacy. You hear the beat, but you listen through it as well, first to the broader, textural noise, and then to the beats within the beat, to the shape of the beat. In time, the beat regains its centrality, and new questions emerge: Does the beat give a little, sway a little, on occasion? Is there a nudge toward development? What in fact is it?

It’s the sound of a locked groove on a vinyl recording, taped by John Dombroski not only for posterity, enjoyment, and analysis, but also with the intention that others might rework it, might make music from the absensce of music. We know from Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies card deck that “Repetition is a form of change.” In Dombroski’s gambit, it is also a forum for change. In his brief accompanying note he states:

Record player needle in locked groove repeats (~1.8 seconds) 55.5 times and resolves. NOTE: (If you would like, go on and make a remix of this sound and share it – I’d love to hear).

Track originally posted for free download at More on Dombroski, who is based in Richmond, Virginia, at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Comments: 5 ]


  1. Lee R.
    [ Posted July 25, 2012, at 4:08 am ]

    sounds a little like George Benson at the end…

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted July 25, 2012, at 7:38 am ]

      It does, indeed. I did a search for the text that appears in the image associated with the track, and it seems to correlate with the Shaft theme song. See

  2. Larry Johnson
    [ Posted July 25, 2012, at 8:06 am ]

    Here’s remix (per the artist’s invitation):

  3. Lee Rosevere
    [ Posted July 26, 2012, at 9:24 am ]

    Ah.. clever, the label is the a-side but the clip at the end is actually the b-side… “Cafe Regio’s”.

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted July 26, 2012, at 9:24 am ]

      Ah, that makes sense. Yeah, that is it.

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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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