Participants in the Disquiet Junto will begin discussing this book, Derek Bailey’s Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music, in a Slack-based book club starting this coming Monday, October 5. The plan is to spread the discussion over the course of about seven weeks. Last time we did an online read, years ago (the subject was a Kim Stanley Robinson novel), too few people finished, and too many were at different spots when discussion occurred. This staged approach should keep us on the same page, so to speak.
Always keeping an eye out for how TV captions evolve. This one was, I think, new to me: different colors signifying different speakers. White is retained for the narrator. The still image is from the BBC TV series This Farming Life, which as (1) urban and (2) American I’d otherwise find utterly unintelligible.
You’ll need to check your speakers. Edgar Medina, who goes by Alejandro Morse, so damages the sounds that constitute the base level of the track “(Splendid View to) an Artificial Lake,” off the forthcoming album Aftermath, that you’ll wonder if something has gone haywire with your audio system. Even after being told, still you’ll find need to check your speakers, to make sure wires haven’t frayed, to make sure a cat hasn’t gotten in the house and scratched at your cones, to make sure water hasn’t taken its toll. None of those things have happened — well, not to your speakers. As for the audio on “(Splendid View to) an Artificial Lake,” it has been scraped like barnacles off the hull of a boat, like paint from an old bench, like unwanted truths from a Wikipedia page. In posting the track to SoundCloud, the releasing record label, Dragon’s Eye, attributed the tag #ambient to it, but that seems more like provocation than categorization. The mix of happenstance field recordings and genteel tonal elements is bonded under shared scrubbing, the disparate elements united as the objects of Morse’s destructive, exploratory intent.
If you follow YouTube musicians’ live recordings, you get a sense of their gear, and even occasionally register changes: new additions, sudden absences, swapped-out arrangements. Heck, even changes to the draperies and a new paint job. Sometimes such evolutions are announced in the form of “first patch” sessions or mini-tutorials of hard-won tips. Less frequently you’re alerted in advance, as is the case with this benediction from Michigan-based musician Orbital Patterns. A new central processing unit for his synthesizer is due imminently, and this video is, apparently, his last set with the current setup. It’s a beautiful, sprawling mix of melodic patterning and peculiar noises, elegiac drones and sonic coarseness, at once cinematic in its breadth, and at others as personal as a closely mic’d hush.
It was a pleasure to write liner notes (full text: “Palimpsests All the Way Down”) for Nathan Moody’s new album, de/Still, a “musical score” that he created as an aural interpretation of TJ Norris’ photography. All the more so, because the album was a proper physical release. My copy of the CD just arrived from the record label, Flag Day Recordings. Get the album at flagdayrecordings.bandcamp.com.