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: current listens

Current Listens: Halo Live + Aphex-ish Mansell

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. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)

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NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

Mike Weis translates grief into the beautiful, moving 49 Days (Music for a Transition), two quarter-hour tracks of bell field recordings pushed nearly beyond recognition. This is a record I hope to get around to writing about more soon, but I wanted to get a mention in sooner still, because I’ve been returning to it daily.

Lush and ambient all the way through, this 20-minute live solo performance by Laurel Halo was recorded at the Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães near Braga, Portugal.

Fahmi Mursyid, based in Bandung, Indonesia, ekes ripe atmospheres from a tape loop. The actual original tape is priced at $99. Four tracks derived from it comprise the album Satu, the digital version of which is set at whatever price the buyer wishes to pay.

There’s a lot of beauty in Clint Mansell’s score to Ben Wheatley’s new film version of Rebecca, much of it devoted to expertly old-school thriller grandeur. One standout track, “Côte d’Azur,” is to Aphex Twin’s solo piano “Avril 14” what Wheatley might have hoped his film would be to Hitchcock’s Rebecca: alternately hinting at and veering from the original, and offering its own pleasures entirely.

Also, covered with a bit more depth: Fadi Tabbal’s fifth solo album, Subject to Potential Errors and Distortions, + the Yumi Iwaki / Ryan J Raffa split Living Distances.

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Current Listens: Jóhannsson Tribute, Cole’s Synths

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. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)

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NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

Paul Hillier in this three-minute video talks about the work he and his fellow musicians in Theatre of Voices did with the late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, notably on the film Arrival:

When Lloyd Cole refers to his “day job” in the liner notes to his latest album, what he means by it is writing songs. Better known for the well-crafted British rock and pop filed in record stores under Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, he’s also a deeply engaged employer of synthesizers. For this album, recorded in June, he focused his efforts on a single module, the Dunst from Ieaskul F. Mobenthey, which emits chaotic yet nuanced noise (other modules were utilized as well, of course).

The company ModBap has released a new synthesizer module, Per4mer, intended to appeal to hip-hop musicians. Among the demos is this psychedelic beat from Ali the Architect. (Found via Synthtopia.)

Three field recordings from Dublin, Ireland-based composer Linda Buckley, including birdsong after the rain, and a prayer echoing in public (presumably in Astoria, Queens, based on the track’s title).

Also, covered with a bit more depth: harp player Mary Lattimore’s classical/ambient Silver Ladders, produced by Neal Halstead of Slowdive, and the dense drones of Havdis, aka O.A. Jensen

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Current Listens: Newly Sequenced, Windshield Filter

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. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)

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NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

I admit that if I’m not careful, this could end up being a new Jeannine Schulz album and a new Orbital Patterns video every week (I say that in the hopes that they discover each other’s music and team up). But so be it. My listening is my listening.

Orbital Patterns welcomes a new sequencer into his synthesizer rig, and the result is a super slow melody that’s part jazz sermon, part illbient atmosphere:

Glistening, blippy, pop-leaning instrumental piece performed live by S. B. Arweiler.

The highly talented Jeannine Schulz has been releasing a steady stream of music at a pace in inverse proportion with how slow and placid is the music itself. Much of that has been on her own Bandcamp page, but last week the label Stereoscenic, of Cleveland, Ohio, announced Ground . The Gentle, 10 tracks available for pre-order as a CD, but already streaming in full. Start with the aptly named “Heaven-Sent,” all cautious chords and dirty-windshield textures.

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Current Listens: Varied Pianos, Archival Afrobeat

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. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)

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NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

Erika Nesse makes music with fractal algorithms, in this case applied to the sounds of a piano. Get lost in the patterning.

Film composer Matija Strnisa slows the pace of the piano on “Tender Loneliness” to a near standstill, and then fills the spaces in between the notes with a drone that’s like cozy warm wool. A cue from the score to House of Hummingbird (벌새), from director Kim Bora (김보라).

The label Comet Records is reissuing classic albums by the late Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, including this pairing of two extended takes with Fela’s Afrika 70 ensemble. No Accommodation for Lagos was recorded in 1978. Allen passed away April 30, 2020.

The form of Matmos’ The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises in Group Form is 99 musicians’ tracks layered into an ever-shifting collage, the commonality being the tracks were all recorded at the same speed (99 BPM, naturally). The three-CD set comes with a map of the contributions, and that may be the best way to experience it — watching and listening for transitions and studio-yoked collaborations.

Ten tracks of sublime instrumental music: fragile surfaces that cover depth, tension, and resolve. This is the album Out of the Valley from composer n-So (aka Nick Angeloni). Music for slow mornings — or perhaps better yet, meditative music for anything-but-slow mornings.

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Current Listens: Questlove(s RBG) + Meditative Loops

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

This is my 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. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)

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NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

Friday night, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Questlove of the Roots spun three hours of Radiohead, chopped and screwed, as he put it, thick with reverb and delay, echoed to dubby extremes. He talked in between songs, and during them, about fending off stress-eating, and about his own political awakening during the Obama campaign, and how when he plays early Radiohead he has to remind himself that the band once employed what he calls “mortal instruments.” The screen displays details from his DJ software, confirming the mournfully slow BPM. (Thanks for the tip, Alex Hawthorn.)

Jeannine Schulz keeps up the relentless pace of slow-music releases with Unfolding Circles, five tracks of melty loops made from guitar parts and, of course, the textural quality of the degraded tape itself. (Based in Hamburg, Germany.)

Three lengthy tracks of music for meditation comprise the Zazen set by Insomniac Hotel. Dense, murky drones with melodic and percussive undercurrents. (Based in New Jersey.)

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