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

The Radio as Divining Rod

Video of a live performance by Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello

Even had the Downstream section of this site not expanded recently to include non-downloadable music, it should long ago have paid more attention to video, if for no reason other than the fact that videos are often, such as this live performance by Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello taped back in February, intended for offline use. (That said, since this site was online for over a decade before running images, the lack sense of urgency was in the DNA.) The Roden-Vitiello set is an alternately tandem and tag-team project recorded at Eclats in Bourdeaux. They both have at portable sets of modular synesizer tools — plus radio, which Roden wields like a divining rod, and laptop, and a few other devices — in this nearly 40-minute piece. Small vocal snippets are heard amid characteristically slow-moving figments, more textural than melodic, the reluctant pace providing sly cover for just how much sonic material is being heard at any given moment.

More from Roden at inbetweennoise.com and from Vitiello at stephenvitiello.com. The video was shot by Etienne Coussirat. More from Eclats at eclats.net.

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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