My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

Straddling Experimentation and Accessibility

Stringbot's "Shapeshifted"

One of the great things about Stringbot’s music is that even as it ventures into noisy areas and explores the automated patterning made available by modular synthesis, it retains an inherent pop appeal. “Shapeshifted” is a great example of how he straddles these two ends of the continuum, between experimentation and accessibility. The beat here has a vaguely random feel, not the rhythm itself but the way it plays out, how filters alter the relation of the foreground and the background, and how the foreground sound itself is modulated. At times it is pinched, at others deeply echoed; it can feel like a handmade instrument one moment, and a machine-tooled automaton the next. All the more interesting is how the beat moves, in a nuanced manner, from one such stage to another. That main percussive element is steady, with an enjoyable bounce to it. It has the feel of something Laurie Anderson might intone over.

The track is a trial run of a new piece of gear that Stringbot obtained, something called the Shapeshifter, a collaboration between the companies Cylonix and Intellijel. In the image accompanying the track, it’s the one with the lit-up rectangle on the bottom half of the shot. More on the module at intellijel.com and cylonix.com.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/stringbot. Stringbot is Joshua Davison, who is based in Chicago, Illinois.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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