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Bill Laswell, Bandcamp, and Interiority

A dub project with Barton Rage

Just yesterday I typed “Bandcamp” into the recipe book at IFTTT, the service that interconnects a broad range of software and, increasingly, hardware. There is plenty of music-connection available via IFTTT. SoundCloud can be set to automatically share songs with other services, like Tumblr and Twitter, and even sync with Spotify. Spotify, in turn, can save information to a Google document, send out a weekly email of the list of songs you’ve liked, and set “smart home” lights to match the color of the album you’re currently listening to (well, it’s a little more complicated than that, but such is the Internet of Things). There are tools to have music services turn off when your doorbell rings, to funnel record-album discussion to a playlist, and to text your friends recommendations.

In any case, Bandcamp has no IFTTT presence, and the absence left me wondering if that’s part of the reason I only just sorted out there’s a Bill Laswell page on Bandcamp. It’s not necessarily IFTTT specifically that nestles the service inside a less digitally connected cultural sphere. It’s that the broader employment of the sort of tools that make IFTTT function are essential to the flow of information — the sort of thing that makes a cultural object of the Internet, rather than simply on the Internet.

This isn’t to question Bandcamp’s general awesome-ness. It’s to wonder, simply, if it could be more awesome. Awesome enough that I would have known sooner that there was, for example, a Bill Laswell Bandcamp page. Bandcamp doesn’t connect accounts as fluidly as SoundCloud does, so when an album or track ends on Bandcamp, you aren’t immediately treated to something else you might not have heard before — thus limiting what has, for better and worse (more worse), “discovery.”

In any case, there is a Bill Laswell Bandcamp page, naturally at billlaswell.bandcamp.com, and highly recommended among the material there is Realm I, which teams the eminent bassist, producer, and future-dub explorer with producer and multi-instrumentalist Barton Rage. It’s a dubby treat, percussive enough to have a club-oriented pulse (a particularly subdued club), but still emphasizing echoing atmospherics. It has a welcoming interiority — which is to say, the music can be praised for exactly the sort of self-enclosed spaciousness that Bandcamp can be critiqued for.

Album originally published at billlaswell.bandcamp.com.

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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