The musician Toaster’s tagline on Twitter is “I make music by programming things.” However, the origin of his recent track “Beacon, for Marissa” is not a computer but, instead, a guitar. The piece is a nearly 20-minute solo drone, recorded live. Now, “solo” needn’t simply mean singular. There are several lines that thread through “Beacon,” overtones and grungy throbbing strings among them. And a “drone” needn’t simply imply steady-going. Various aspects of the track suggest a trajectory in the stasis, a direction to the flux. There are pause-like moments early in that focus the ear toward shrill bits of noise, and as the piece progresses its low-tide ebbing and flowing become recognizable, familiar, almost song-like in their patterning. “Beacon” is a beautiful, sedate, peaceful apparition — perhaps not music from programming, but certainly music for programming, and other cerebral tasks.
Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/toaster-1. More from Toaster, aka Todd Elliott of San Jose, California, at toaster.bandcamp.com and twitter.com/toddbert.