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.

Don’t Listen So Much as Submerge

A brief aquatic setting by Sweden-based Pythagora

Part squishy aquarium gurgle, part off-kilter rhythmic patterning, part droney melodic quaver, “Nord” by Pythagora is a brief glimpse at a synthetic sound world. Its component parts are so distinct from each other that the finished piece feels more like sound design than like a musical composition, in that it seems more about setting a sense of place than about expressing a narrative — which, come to think of it, is a fine alternate definition of ambient music. Now, virtually any music can be said to suggest a place, whether through direct or indirect association, through genre or lyrical content. What makes a piece like “Nord” ambient is its emphasis on place and mood above all else. (Presumably it is part of a larger construction, because it ends quite suddenly.) There is no development, per se, though some elements do appear to shift in relative importance. What there is is a depth that situates the listener amid the composition. You don’t listen so much as you submerge.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/pythagora. Pythagora is Dan Henry Pålsson of Malmö, Sweden.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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