This is my weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)
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▰ A standout track on Nika Son’s new album, To Eeyore, is “Fake News,” built from slowly diverging and coalescing wave forms, to which she then adds disturbingly emotionless vocals, processed to create a sonic uncanny valley. In an interview at kaput-mag.com, Son, also known as Nika Breithaupt, explained a bit about the piece: “I don’t normally work much with my own voice, but for this piece I used it deliberately. As with the computer voices I am interested in experimenting with real languages, with words that by manipulation become a fantasy language, an uncontrolled instrument.” There’s also a video for the track, directed by Helena Wittmann. The album is on one of my favorite labels, Entr’acte.
▰ Afrorack, aka Brian Bamanya, is a Uganda-based electronic musician who works primarily with DIY instruments. This live, 20-minute set ably traverses the common ground between noise and techno. It’s of a concert from the tail end of January 2020. (Peter Kirn re-upped this recently at cdm.link.)
▰ This is a Zoom call we all wish we’d been on. In an online conversation, Simon McBurney hosts Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno, and Nitin Sawhney on the broad topic of “ways of listening,” talking about sound and art during the pandemic. Anderson describes bird-watching as a social distancing sport, and Brian Eno extols a favorite smartphone app (Radio Garden, to which Sawhney immediately agrees with a big thumbs up). There’s even screen sharing, when Sawhney (experiencing some now universally familiar complications, including the stream eventually freezing) displays a work in progress. McBurney describes, following his experience staging The Magic Flute, his belief that Mozart felt that music can change people’s state of consciousness. And those are just a few of the subjects. It’s a wide-ranging and highly enjoyable conversation. (Hat tip to synthtopia.com.)