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

Current Listens: London Beats, Robot Piano

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

A 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. I hope to write more about some of these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them.

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NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

London-based Vigi Beats delivers five brief instrumental hip-hop tracks, the loops expertly balancing a downtempo pace with a frenzy of sped-up samples. The set is titled Just Some Chops.

Hard to imagine the new Thys / Amon Tobin collaboration wasn’t initially conceived as the score to an unidentified video game or film project, so thick is Ithaca with scene-setting, rhythmically amorphous sonic experimentation.

John Schaefer’s New Sounds hosts two piano performances by Icelandic musician Olafur Arnalds. Arnald’s new album, some kind of peace, involves his algorithmic Stratus software (“intelligent custom software that could trigger self-playing, semi-generative ‘ghost’ pianos — his ‘robot writing partners'” per the software company, Spitfire Audio, that released it). Listen to the interview at newsounds.org.

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Grace Notes: Organs, House Style, Endless Now

From last week

Some tweet observations (twitter.com/disquiet) I made over the course of the past week, lightly edited:

▰ Watched an old British TV mystery in which the damning evidence turned out to be the church organ was heard without use of pedals, meaning some kid had been asked by the organist to unwittingly provide an alibi during the murder. For the record I discovered the plot while watching the episode. I didn’t watch because someone had told me the plot. That said, had someone told me the plot, I almost certainly would have watched.

▰ Pretty sure that’s the last time I’m gonna all-caps the title of the new Autechre album

▰ Chrisjen Avasarala from The Expanse books gets our current moment. (This is from Babylon’s Ashes, volume six in the series.)

▰ “The host has another meeting in progress” (Who can’t relate?)

▰ This tweet will have a small audience, but I’ll mention it was a letdown in the final episode of Fast and the Furious: Spy Racers that right after one of the characters names an op Operation Mindcrime the song we hear isn’t by Queensrÿche but instead by Age of Menace. There was a fun little Hamilton/@reneegoldsberry Easter egg (she plays Ms. Nowhere) toward the end of the episode. (Probably a lot more of those that I missed.)

▰ Me: Kinda wish we could push fast forward a bit.
Star Trek: Discovery: How’s 950 years sound?

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Friday Ambient Harp Drop

From Mary Lattimore, produced by Neil Halstead

Right in time for another pandemic weekend, the great harp player Mary Lattimore has released a Friday drop, a full album of music that is at once lush and austere, fragile and full-bodied. Such are the wondrous contradictions in her hypermodern (improvisational and digitally enhanced) employment of an instrument generally associated with dusty antiquity. The seven tracks are quite varied. Some, like “Silver Ladders,” sound like gentle machine augmentation of the familiar harp sound, while others layer in pronounced additional instrumentation (notably the heavily delayed guitar on “Til a Mermaid Drags You Under”), or suggest the sort of complexity only a much larger ensemble could accomplish (“Sometimes He’s in My Dreams”). That guitar part comes courtesy of Neil Halstead, best known as a member of the band Slowdive. Halstead hosted Lattimore at his Newquay, Cornwall, studio for over a week and produced the resulting album, which is titled Silver Ladders.

Get the record at marylattimoreharpist.bandcamp.com. More from Lattimore, who is based in Los Angeles, at marylattimore.net.

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The Search for Intelligent Life

Between the notes

All held chords and cinema-ready dramatics, calculated shimmers and barely perceptible shifts, “OUT∃R WΩRLDS” by composer Dolores Catherino represents a search for intelligent life between the notes. The result bridges the gap between 20th-century classical modernism and classic synth space music. Track originally posted art soundcloud.com/dolores-catherino. More on Catherino at newmusicusa.org.

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A Cello Transformed, and Transformed Again

When Henrik Meierkord met Marco Lucchi

“Flacholet” is described by its composer-performer, Henrik Meierkord, who is based in Stockholm, Sweden, as “An organism of cello.” That is apt. The track is as if the cello has taken on a life of its own, a life enabled by some sort of electronic assistance. The slow sawing of the strings is rendered with depth and warmth, and the droning that it yields becomes as much a part of the composition as the originating tones. Halos of sound appear, and textured moments yield brief, sharply defined cameos before fading into the lush lull.

And as it turns out, the track itself has taken on a life of its own, as well. It was picked by by Marco Lucchi, of Modena, Italy, with Meierkord’s consent, and pushed even further into atmospheric realms. “Separasjon” builds on the drone-like qualities of the original, reducing the highs and lows of the drama in favor of something hushed but no less powerful.

“Flacholet” originally posted at soundcloud.com/enrikeierkord. More from Henrik Meierkord at henrikmeierkord.bandcamp.com and soundbread.se. “Separasjon” originally posted at soundcloud.com/marcolucchi. More from Marco Lucchi at marcolucchi.bandcamp.com. (Meierkord was the cellist featured in the score to the 2018 Oscar-nominated stop-motion animation Negative Space.)

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