It’s Jamuary, which, if you take note of the switch from “n” to “m” in the month, helps explain why YouTube is even more jam-packed with uploaded music tracks than usual. Like National Novel Writing Month (which takes place each November) or the somewhat lesser-known February Album Writing Month (which helpfully follows on the creative sparks of Jamuary’s heels), but more performative, more in-the-moment, Jamuary is a celebration of musical activity to kick off each new year. Jamuary is, in many ways, what is best about hashtag culture — about the way a communal rallying cry can provide an asynchronous-but-coherent sense of dispersed collaborative experience.
By way of example, there’s this reworking of various samples by the musician who goes by Keurslager Kurt. Piano and other sounds are layered, filtered, looped, and otherwise tweaked on the Digitakt (from the Gothenburg, Sweden, company Elektron) over the course of six minutes. Kurt credits another musician, Oscillator Sink, for having introduced the technique employed. (Also credited is the source of the piano sample: the Leo Svirsky album River Without Banks.) Oscillator Sink explains in his own tutorial that what he’s doing is using the Digitakt for — rather than the standard triggering of beat samples on a clock — “manipulating an ongoing sonic event.” That approach lends both the Oscillator Sink and Keurslager Kurt pieces an ambient quality, one that emphasizes stasis and texture rather than rhythm and percussion.
Jamuary is by no means a YouTube-exclusive pastime. It’s flourishing on Instagram, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Twitter, and elsewhere.
This is the first video I’ve added this year to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine live ambient performances. Video originally published at YouTube. More from Keurslager Kurt, who is based in Belgium, at keurslagerkurt.bandcamp.com and at tindie.com, which has a collection of synthesizer kits for the AE Modular system, including a take on the excellent Sloth, originally created by Non-Linear Circuits.