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

The Happenstance Ambience of Corruption

The Japanese noise musician, that is

I went to Japan quite a bit in the latter half of the first decade of the 2000s, and I’m not sure when I’ll be back, but top of the list for some time now of musicians I would want to locate should/when I go again is Corruption, whose sprawling SoundCloud account — that’s soundcloud.com/corrption, minus the “u” — has accumulated a substantial (630 tracks as of this writing) and enigmatic (in a resolutely plainstated way) mix of messy, broken dubby noise music and snatches of everyday din, and at Corr(u)ption’s best it’s often difficult to tell into which of those two categories a given recording falls.

Take “170620_004lewe,” which surfaced a week and a half ago and plays like the score to a three-minute art film tracking some fleeting mid-morning moments of a dissolute urban life — and to be clear, should that ever need to be translated from English, the description is intended as the highest of compliments.

There are high-pitched noises that are either aliens among us or electrical interference amid an apartment packed with computer equipment, and hard clicks that suggest tape machines being manhandled, and for much of it a droning presence as if we’re listening in on someone else listening to something else the whole time.

There is, indeed, a voyeuristic aspect to Corruption’s work, in part because lacking any photographs of Corruption (the oeuvre comes across as deeply anonymous, at least from this side of the Pacific), everything that Corruption does seems to be from that individual’s point-of-view. This track’s title, resembling the timecode from a digital recorder, does nothing to diminish the impression.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/corrption. More from Corruption at corruption-scrapbook.tumblr.com, though by “more” is meant artfully affect-less city-dweller photography and short videos replete with hissy, happenstance ambience.

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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