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

The Beat in the Haze

A light rhythm from A Scanner Darkly

If percussion is small enough, if its interplay is varied and random-seeming enough, it can pass through the appearance of percussion and become ambience. To listen closely to the first half of “Coldwave 1” by A Scanner Darkly, all soft rhythmic patterning, it’s like taking a keen glimpse at some gossamer sheet hanging in midair. Sure, there’s a fairly recognizable grid of thread, but between the breeze and the light it might as well be cumulous. This lasts awhile for “Coldwave 1,” but eventually rhythm trumps atmosphere, and a thrilling little microbeat gets underway, the martial spirit of some nanotech army. The transition is well done, especially because both sides — the soft and the hard, the generative and the regimented — are equally balanced.

More from A Scanner Darkly, who’s based in Vancouver, Canada, at There isn’t much information on the musician, but there is in the brief accompanying bio a little statement of purpose that is intriguing: “All sounds are one take, no overdubbing recordings.”

By Marc Weidenbaum

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