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: Sampled Sources, Roadside Tuba

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

Warp & Weft is a lovely, free, six-track release posted by Scanner (based in London) of delicately reworked samples from kalimba alongside soft synth lines, lightly glitched and filtered. The first two tracks (“Wefte,” “Wevan”) and sixth (“Weave into Time”) are especially sedate and gentle. The album was recorded live and released this past Friday, August 7.

The free Reel Feels (Sound Pack), by Frankfurt-based musician Jogging House, is the source audio from which Scanner derived his Warp & Weft album, but you don’t need to be a musician to take advantage of it. The first five tracks are beautifully torqued recordings of kalimba (or mbira), turned into pure atmosphere, each a minute or longer. Put them in a playlist and set them to loop on random. You’ll lose track of time happily.

Sometimes an instrument is just as useful on the receiving end of sound, such as this great ongoing series in which a tuba amplifies nearby audio, here rendering deep metallic reverberations from passing traffic.

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Current Listens: Ugandan Synths, Eno/Anderson Chat

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

A standout track on Nika Son’s new album, To Eeyore, is “Fake News,” built from slowly diverging and coalescing wave forms, to which she then adds disturbingly emotionless vocals, processed to create a sonic uncanny valley. In an interview at kaput-mag.com, Son, also known as Nika Breithaupt, explained a bit about the piece: “I don’t normally work much with my own voice, but for this piece I used it deliberately. As with the computer voices I am interested in experimenting with real languages, with words that by manipulation become a fantasy language, an uncontrolled instrument.” There’s also a video for the track, directed by Helena Wittmann. The album is on one of my favorite labels, Entr’acte.

Afrorack, aka Brian Bamanya, is a Uganda-based electronic musician who works primarily with DIY instruments. This live, 20-minute set ably traverses the common ground between noise and techno. It’s of a concert from the tail end of January 2020. (Peter Kirn re-upped this recently at cdm.link.)

This is a Zoom call we all wish we’d been on. In an online conversation, Simon McBurney hosts Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno, and Nitin Sawhney on the broad topic of “ways of listening,” talking about sound and art during the pandemic. Anderson describes bird-watching as a social distancing sport, and Brian Eno extols a favorite smartphone app (Radio Garden, to which Sawhney immediately agrees with a big thumbs up). There’s even screen sharing, when Sawhney (experiencing some now universally familiar complications, including the stream eventually freezing) displays a work in progress. McBurney describes, following his experience staging The Magic Flute, his belief that Mozart felt that music can change people’s state of consciousness. And those are just a few of the subjects. It’s a wide-ranging and highly enjoyable conversation. (Hat tip to synthtopia.com.)

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Current Listens: Total Hassell, Davachi’s Organs

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

Much of my week’s listening involved playing the new Jon Hassell on repeat, enjoying the pre-release privacy a bit before meaning accrues around it after the set reaches a broader audience. Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two) was released on Friday to an audience awaiting its portal-like function, how it opens a window into the Fourth World, and it is everything they might hope for, filled with glitchy atmospherics, futurist fusion, and field recordings from alternate realms.

The minimalist setup of Russian musician Pavel Milyakov derives transcendent techno from live manipulation of held guitar drones. It’s part of the excellent Patch Notes video series from Fact magazine, and this time it in fact does include patch notes, if you want details of what Milyakov is up to.

Sarah Davachi’s next album, Cantus, Descant, isn’t due out unil mid-September, but the first track, with an accompanying video, is already online. The album appears to be a collection of music for organs, and was recorded on a variety of them in Amsterdam, Chicago, Vancouver, Copenhagen, and Los Angeles. The initial track, “Station II,” is a series of slowly evolving chords that overlap, layer, and transition with an eerie grace.

As the name suggests, the exp​[​MTL] EP from Vigi Beats is experimental: brief sketches of how beat music could be. All but one is under two minutes in length. The five tracks, labeled A through E, pursue alternately frantic and loungy beatcraft, breaking pre-existing recordings in the service of forging artfully erratic new ones.

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Current Listens: Noctural Tokyo, Philly Beats

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

Deborah Walker’s Starflux, on the Elli Records label, ends with a spectral reworking of the prior tracks, committed by Emanuele Battisti, who also mastered the record and, thus, knew Walker’s work intimately. The metronomic rhythms of the source audio are re-rendered with a halo effect, the earthy original material turned into something intergalactic.

This isn’t music, per se. It’s an hour-long video someone took while walking around a neighborhood in Yokohama, Japan, at night. There is sound, however, the associated field recording of overheard chatter, and footsteps, and crosswalk signals. I usually have something like this running at half speed on a second screen when I work. Even better in black and white.

An added treat: the recorder of these videos, who goes by Rambalac, posts a map of the route. Here’s the one for this footage:

A couple months ago I highlighted a set of Small Professor’s instrumental hip-hop, and then missed the arrival of a subsequent downtempo hip-hop collection, A Jawn Supreme (Vol. 1). As the title might suggest, Small Pro, who traffics in expertly reworked samples, is based in Philadelphia. One highlight is the fractured piano lead on “Reflection,” in which the producer’s hand is just as light yet present as that of the original pianist.

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Current Listens: Philadelphia Beat Tape, Spacious Score

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

Minimalist patterning. Atmospheric score. Philadelphia beat tape. Fripp’s quietude. 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

Gorgeous little pre-release taste of Memory Loops, an album due out July 31 from Arms and Sleepers (aka Mark McGlinchey and Mirza Ramic). The soft repetitive patterns and descending melodic riff sound like the start of something, which makes sense since the track is the first of the album’s projected 14.

Cello, violin, voice — spare elements are the building blocks for the roomy music Martha Skye Murphy composed for a film titled The Late Departure, by Ivan Krzeszowiec. Listen for the entrancing electronic touches, like the glitchy delay midway through “Connecting Flight.” (Felix Stephens on cello, Murphy on the remainder.)

David Evan McDowell, aka Philadelphia-based musician æon, started 2020 with Rebirth, a dozen downtempo hip-hop (mostly) instrumentals full of jazz samples, surface noise, rhythmic play, and a remarkable sense of space.

Robert Fripp continues to make good on his promise of 50 straight weeks of “Music for Quiet Moments” instrumentals. The latest, “Skyscape (Chicago 12 Oct 2005),” number 11 in the series, is more synth-driven than some of the others, though his guitar certainly makes itself heard.

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