My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

Live, if Mechanized

An automated place by Tobias Karlehag

It’s simply plastic, wood, and metal, with the midday world just outside a clear plate of glass, and yet the sound is that of a welcoming place, perhaps a fictional one, perhaps one in a sonic terrarium, structured just right, so as to have the desired effect — peaceful, inviting, blood-pressure-reducing — but a place nonetheless. This is Tobias Karlehag’s 12-minute automated recording, a synthesizer set to work and not once intruded upon by human hands. There’s depth here, tiny sounds echoing space while in the near we hear textured washes and melancholy tones. Though this is a live, if mechanized, performance, it could virtually be a still image were there not occasional bits of movement: a passerby, a light going on and off and on again, a small display dimly registering change. But change happens, in the music and the visual alike, more often than it might initially appear.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine live performance of ambient music. Video originally posted on YouTube. More from Tobias Karlehag, who is based in Gothenburg, Sweden, at and

By Marc Weidenbaum

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