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Tactile Ambience (MP3)

Music for touch-tone phone

The musician gaapiiiii, aka G P, of Kobe, Japan, has posted a compact, six-minute track with no explanatory text aside from the broad-strokes “experimental electronic” tag and the piece’s more opaque title: “reflexive. antisymmetric.” It is, nonetheless — or perhaps in part thanks to the tabula-rasa delivery system — especially recommended. Structurally, it is a series of evenly paced, pad-like gestural sounds. It is as if the audio includes not only the intended music but also the live performance aspects: the documentation of tactile activity on the part of the musician. The seeming causality between the subdued push-button material and the tonal material grounds the track, lending it a sense of purpose despite its sub-downtempo pace and exquisitely limited palette. Halfway through, it veers in another direction, as the music is reduced to a mere whisper of static before touch-tone phone sounds appear. Even on its own, those phone sounds in this context would be a nice touch, since they embody the place where tactile and tone meet. But better yet, the track uses them as the starting point for short explorations of their sonic content, extending the tones, glitching them lightly, letting them echo. It’s a pleasure that no one on the other end ever answers.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/gaapiiiii.

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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