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

Ukulele Ambience (MP3s)

Brian Biggs puts the slack – and a bit of glitch – in slack key

Brian Biggs has posted three experimental duets that appear to have grown out of last week’s Disquiet Junto project. The project, the 42nd in the ongoing weekly series, involved participants employing the oldest and newest instruments in their practice to create a “naive melody.” Taking a cue from Talking Heads, the melody was accomplished by employing the oldest, more familiar instrument in the production of the backing track, and the newer one — on which the performer was, by definition, still something of a novice — in the production of the foregrounded melody. By coincidence in advance of the announcement of the project that led to that piece, Biggs had tried out a variety of modular apparatuses and approaches, in addition to his saxophone and ukulele, yielding three varied tracks:

He explains in brief:

Tracks created with a ukulele, a Harvestman Tyme Sefari (version 2), and a MakeNoise Phonogene. A little four-note strum in F went to the Tyme Sefari, another simple uke thing in A went to the Phonogene. The outs of the two samplers went to the audio input of a Cwejman MMF-1 filter, and then output and recorded to a Zoom H4N with reverb from the Motu 828 interface.

I was on the fence regarding keeping both the Tyme Sefari and the Phonogene until these tracks. The end-of-loop output of each module kept the other in “time” and being able to fool with each independently of the other is worth keeping both.

The technical information aside, especially recommended is the first of the three duets, which uses backmasking to create a sense of timelessness that merges well with the acoustic intonations of the instrument.

Set originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/dance-robot-dance. More detail on Biggs’ process at dancerobotdance.com, where the above image is sourced from.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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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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