The MPC series, from the electronics manufacturer Akai, is best known for its employment in hip-hop, but tools have purposes beyond their initial intention, even beyond their general use. In the hands of Sander van Dijck, of the Netherlands, the beat machine becomes a trigger system for percolating ambient music. This is a performance video not a tutorial, so it doesn’t begin to document the preparation that went into the sounds we hear. The guitar and keyboard in the background hint at some of the origin points, and in addition there are snatches of spoken information that balance the music’s dreaminess with a certain amount of portent. The beauty of a performance video like this is correlating the movement with the sound. So much is happening in the service of such a placid affect, the individual cues eventually lost in the full mix of activity. The track is credited to van Dijck’s Casilofi moniker, and is titled “SNDSKP” (that is, “soundscape”).
It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.” Entries in the Disquiet Downstream post series are usually of recent vintage but as I’ve been fleshing out the Ambient Performances material I’ve let the time restriction relax; this video is dated almost four years ago, to July 14, 2016, though the image filter suggests it’s from the 1970s.