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Temporary Guitar

The ephemeral music of Cousin Silas

“Bell Pit” is Cousin Silas of Huddersfield, England, on “ambient guitar.” That’s the very tag, hence the quotes, associated with many of Silas’ tracks posted on SoundCloud. Like other musicians mentioned here this week, Silas appreciates SoundCloud as a “staging” ground. Posts he makes to his account are, he warns in his brief bio, eventually replaced with other things. This likely isn’t an economically determined decision, as Silas has a Pro account, allowing plenty of room for uploaded music. More to the point, it is simply a recognition of the nature of SoundCloud, as a waystation, not a back catalog, a work-in-progress, not a done deal.

The ephemeral quality of that posting process of his has a nice parallel in the music itself, which in this piece is all silken swells and plaintive modulations. There are multiple lines for the ear trace, sometimes overlapping with a momentary balance, but usually one given significant prominence over others. And there is a sense of roominess that is never remotely filled. Quite the contrary, Silas makes his music light by providing a significant illusory space in which it transpires.

The track is also available for free download, something of a declining norm in this age of streaming-first listening. That’s an invitation from Silas, who writes, “If anyone wants to use any of my music, no problem. Just ask.”

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/cousin-silas.

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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