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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

The Shoegazer Western

An EP from Not Close Nor Far

“Lo-fi guitar from a basement” is how the artist who goes by Not Close Nor Far describes the four-song collection that is Hiss, released this past week on Bandcamp.

The set, a bit over 11 minutes in length, opens with a second or so of actual hiss, the background noise of a guitar amplifier, before kicking into an exploration of sonic landscapes. The guitar will draw positive comparisons to an Ennio Morricone spaghetti western backing score. Those big, broad strums are further backed here by chilly synthesizer chords, lending some Angelo Badalamenti dreaminess to the goings-on. That track, which is splendid, is titled “Wandering,” and it introduces a combination of sedate pace and voluminous space that remains consistent throughout the EP. It’s evident on “Sit with Me,” which has the aura of a juke joint that specializes in shoegazer music, and on “Wait,” which doubles down on the Badalamenti-esque orchestrations with which the record opens.

There is a lot packed into this short collection, and while each piece is distinct from the others, it all works together as variations on a sensibility marked by big-sky expansiveness.

Album originally posted at notclosenorfar.bandcamp.com. Not Close Nor Far is based in Calgary, Alberta. Not other name is given.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • 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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