Beat Down(load)

A collection of early hip-hop instrumentals from Damu the Fudgemunk

Damu the Fudgemunk is a remarkable hip-hop producer, his cuts balancing 4/4 listenability with tasty confections of off-kilter grace beats and textural expressivity. Now the Redefinition Records label has collected 27 Damu cuts from the 2000s to create How It Should Sound Volume 1 & 2, a two-LP (and downloadable) collection. Much of the music predates Damu’s 2007 debut album, Travel at Your Own Pace. The earliest piece, “Gestation,” from 2003, puts a loping beat below melting horns and a low-slung bass guitar. Like DJ Premier, Damu favors jazz samples truncated for head-nodding loops. Listening to him at his best is to appreciate the malleability of the source material, both in its unintended reutilization and the way the transformations bear the imprint of the appropriating creator.

It’s available at

Your Own Personal Tape Music Festival

Six minutes of stereophonic assemblage from Amanda Chaudhary

Burred saw waves zig left and zag right and then zig left again through the stereo spectrum. Distant bells clang and then evacuate. Electric piano chords suggest a mood-setting mid-1960s film scenario. There is whirring sci fi noise and the deep dark clang of a gong and, later, the pitter patter of a cymbal meeting a brush head on. The cymbal seems to hover over your heard why the brush does its magic, attacking at numerous angles. This assemblage, of which those are merely a few of the constituent parts, is “ragged claws silent seas,” which Amanda Chaudhary committed to fixed recording as a submission to the annual San Francisco Tape Music Festival. Judging by the playbill posted at, Chaudhary nearly six-minute piece didn’t make the final cut, but it is available as a download for your own personal tape-music experience. What makes this “tape music” rather than, say, simply a collage, or simply a composition is less a matter of strict genre distinctions and more about a mix of literature and sensibility. Tape music is music that dispenses with both live performance and traditional instrumentation in favor of something that explores the experiential, spatial potential inherent in recorded sound.

Track originally posted at More from Chaudhary at and Chaudhary is based in San Francisco, California.

What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from

What fireworks look like, after the fact. Lunar New Year celebrations here in San Francisco have their share of noise, from bursts of fireworks at random moments day and night, to the loud drumming of Chinese New Year dragons. The dragons, actually small crews of men and women in a lengthy collective outfit, bring wishes of good fortune to neighborhood businesses, and provide teachable performances about diversity at elementary schools. The fireworks sound is itself generic, a modest martial ratatatat that suggests a confined gun battle. What marks the fireworks culturally is the detritus, the red paper strewn on sidewalks a visual echo of the annual clamor.

An ongoing series cross-posted from

The Vocal Layers of Sea Beau

One minute of feather-light strata from Toronto

This short burst of vocal simultaneity by the Toronto-based musician Sea Beau dates back a year, but I heard it for the first time this weekend while tracking various Canadian (and Detroit-based) performers and composers on SoundCloud. I go in and out of use of various streaming services. The past six months I’ve been much deeper in YouTube, in a way I never have before, for example, and Bandcamp has nudged up as well. One point of frustration with both YouTube and Bandcamp is they don’t foreground as well as SoundCloud does the musical connections of the posting account. Somehow these two services seem to think that we want to know what our fellow listeners listen to, but on YouTube we’re left to largely automated, algorithm-driven recommendations in terms of what the source audio might connect us to, and Bandcamp doesn’t even invest that many computing cycles.

On SoundCloud every account has a clearly marked list each of following and followers, which can make for a fluid series of forking discovery paths. (That’s “discovery” in the active sense of looking around, not the passive sense of “look what the music conveyor belt served up.”) With BandCamp, my “feed” tells me what the listeners I follow have purchased lately, and any individual album lists who it is “supported by,” but the service doesn’t allow, in the manner SoundCloud does, that the person who posted music might themselves listen to music. Some YouTube accounts show their subscriptions, but it isn’t consistent.

In any case, this piece by Sea Beau is an absolutely gorgeous, endlessly loopable polyphonic series of vocal intonations. It is all non-verbal, feather-light vowels produced as closely knit strata. The tones are alternately heavenly and nasal, in chordal harmony at one moment and set in deliciously sour contrast with each other the next.

Track originally posted at More from Sea Beau, who is based in Toronto, Canada, at

Disquiet Junto Project 0265: Kitchen Music

Record a piece of music that uses items from just one drawer.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required. There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 30, 2017. This project was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, January 26, 2017.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0265: Kitchen Music
Record a piece of music that uses items from just one drawer.

Step 1: Choose one drawer or cabinet shelf in your kitchen. If you don’t have a kitchen, then choose a drawer or cabinet shelf elsewhere in your home.

Step 2: Record a short piece of music using only materials from Step 1.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If you hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0265” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at please consider posting your track:

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 30, 2017. This project was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, January 26, 2017.

Length: The length is up to you, but two to three minutes sounds about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0265” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 265th weekly Disquiet Junto project, “Kitchen Music: Record a piece of music that uses items from just one drawer”:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this track is by Lyn Lomasi and used thanks to a Creative Commons license: