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.

tag: classical

“Some Arranging”

(sign on community bulletin board at burrito shop)

“Some arranging” (sign on community bulletin board at burrito shop)

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New OO-Ray, Slow and Haunted

A track for organ and cello

It’s been around a year or so since Ted Laderas, who plays electronically enhanced music under the name the OO-Ray, last posted something to his SoundCloud account. Or at least it was until this weekend, when we were treated, out of the blue, to “Floe,” a Renaissance-inspired piece for cello and organ. It moves, per the title, at a stately pace, the classical vibe in play against drone-informed, slightly sour and artfully ambivalent tunings.

Longtime listeners of Laderas will be intrigued by the relatively low density of the track. The individual lines are quite distinct, rather than buried in the trademark OO-Ray shoegaze layering. It may be Laderas’ first public recording in some time, but its openness, the way the lines invite attention and seem firm in their individual presence, feels promising and hopeful, even if the piece is, as he describes it, “slow and haunted.”

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/ooray. More from Laderas, who is based in Portland, Oregon, at 15people.net. His most recent album is Tiny Fugues, which came out on the Audiobulb label (audiobulb.com) back in July 2018.

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The Experimental Organ

A recent work by Lauren Redhead, also featuring Alistair Zaldua

Lauren Redhead’s “Phosphorescent” is a composition for organ (herself) in combination with violin and electronics (her collaborator, Alistair Zaldua). This recording was made at the Canterbury Festival last October, and uploaded to Redhead’s account a couple months back. There’s been an explosion in experimental work for organs in recent years, thanks to folks like Anna Von Hausswolff, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Claire M Singer, among others. In Redhead’s piece, the organ and violin congeal to form a treble-rich, soaring-in-slow-motion backdrop of vast spaciousness. Amid this all, Zaldua’s bow is heard to trace an exploratory path, like a satellite zigzagging across the heavens.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/laurenredhead. More from Lauren Redhead, who is based in the United Kingdom, at laurenredhead.eu.

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Uprooted on CD

My latest liner notes

Did I mention I really enjoy writing liner notes? Just got these copies of Uprooted, the new Michel Banabila album, for which I had the pleasure. Much of my early music education came from reading liner notes, especially on jazz albums. When I started working as an editor, it was the writers of those liner notes I would sometimes find myself reaching out to when assigning stories, extending my education further.

You can listen to Banabila’s album here: banabila.bandcamp.com. You can also read the essay in full at the initial post: “The Uprooted Orchestra.”

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The Uprooted Orchestra

Liner notes I wrote for a new album by Michel Banabila

This past week a new set of liner notes I wrote went live. They accompanied the pre-release announcement of a tremendous new album by Michel Banabila. I’ve collaborated with Banabila, who is based in Rotterdam, in various ways over the years, and this new album from him is one of my favorites. Here is my brief essay that accompanies the record, titled Uprooted. The album is available digital and on a limited-edition CD. Tomorrow mark’s the album’s official release.

“The Uprooted Orchestra”

“Orchestral.” The word’s an adjective, certainly, an unambiguous one. It depicts amassed instruments working in synchrony according to a fixed document prepared in advance.

But what if “orchestral” were uprooted? What if “orchestral” referred to what we heard, not how it was recorded? What if “orchestral” welcomed electronic instruments not just into the pit, but into the compositional process?

For that is the sound of Michel Banabila’s Uprooted, this album of beautiful, striated, patient music — patient on the surface, deep with turmoil underfoot. When bass clarinet and harmonium rise above a misty string section halfway through “Breathe,” that’s orchestral. When woodwinds trill and pulse against piano on “Dragonfly,” that’s orchestral.

Over the years, Banabila has made his share of experimental ambient, wherein future roots cultures are foreseen through a low-tech looking glass. On Uprooted, the tech is transparent. The album has touches of Fourth World, most notably on “Collector” and “Breathe,” but Uprooted is orchestral, full stop.

It’s also an album entirely forged of material sampled by Banabila from improvisations by invited musicians. Those samples were then constructed into a whole by Banabila, layered sinuously rather than triggered on a rhythmic grid. The fixed orchestral document here is the recording, and it marks the close of the composer’s efforts, not the start of the performers’.

The Uprooted album features contributions, by way of the samples mentioned in my essay, from Peter Hollo (cello), Alex Haas (synths & electronics), Gareth Davis (bass clarinet), Oene van Geel (viola & stroh violin), Stijn Hüwels (guitar & electronics), and Gulli Gudmundsson (el.bass, double bass, e-bow), with Banabila on MIDI instruments, sampling, and electronics.

Get Uprooted at banabila.bandcamp.com. More from Banabila at banabila.com.

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