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Sounding out technology.
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tag: forum-digger

Stones Throw Beat Battle MP3s

Last week’s Beat Battle at yielded a victory for a newcomer to the ongoing audio-mixing throwdowns. The participant named biz20 had only joined the boards on June 17, a few days after the battle began. Nonetheless, his slurry, loping entry won best in class. Perhaps he got extra credit for having done what so few other beatmakers do, especially in contests such as this one, which is that he crafted an opening and a close to the track: it begins like a piece of vinyl slowly being brought up to speed, and ends (in a mirroring moment) as if someone had yanked the plug from his turntable.

Streaming audio and direct-download MP3 links aren’t functioning, but you can check out the original sample and over four dozen entries, including biz20’s, at; the initial discussion at; and the final votes at

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Tangents: Remix Thesis, Museum Music, 8-Bit, …

Recommended reading, news, and so forth elsewhere:

New Online Remix Community, and Its Founder’s Thesis ( One initial impression: in a neat act of playing egg'n'chicken, on the website's navigation bar, the "Remixes" category precedes the "Songs" category. Gotta appreciate a user-interface that’s that philosophically grounded. The website's founder, John Arroyo, has a master's degree in electro-acoustic music (from Dartmouth), and his thesis ("Evolving the Remix," PDF, detail below) reads like a template for Its emphasis is on "iterative," or multi-generational, remixes.

Aukland Museum Invites Musicians to Score Its Collections ( The Aukland Museum brought in composer-performers to produce original music for the institution’s major exhibit spaces. Samples of each of the tracks are available online. Participants include Tiki Taane, Tim Coster, Don McGlashan, Richard Francis, Rachel Shearer, Phil Dadson, Chris Adams, Rosy Parlane, and Nathan Haines. (Via

Call for Submissions: Only 8-Bitters Need Apply ( Aspiring, self-restricting, retro-minded computer musicians, take note: the video-game hub has a call out to 8-bit composers to help put together a score for some vintage, but currently silent, footage of "an anonymous Atari Computer Camp excursion." Me, I never attended an Atari camp. Trying to remember if there was a TRS-80 equivalent at the time… (Via

Grey Market: Scott Tuma and Mike Weis "On Cox" ( A link to the eminently attenuated folktronic track "On Cox", off the limited edition album Taradiddle by Scott Tuma (Souled American, Boxhead Ensemble) and Mike Weis (Zelienople): MP3. According to the releasing label,, its run of 300, vinyl-only copies is sold out.

Among the Subjects at August’s Edinburgh Interactive Festival: "Sound-Only Games" (, via

Over a Dozen Artists to Lead June 7 Public "Soundwalks" in New York City (

Toronto’s Contact Ensemble Plays Brian Eno‘s ‘Discreet Music’ (

Today, May 23, Is Radiophonic Creation Day (

More online resources at

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Spoils of a Beat Battle (MP3s)

The message boards at, like those over at, are filled with up’n’coming beatcrafters, sharing their productions and looking for feedback.

Looking to battle, too. Like the forums, hosts ongoing Beat Battles, in which entrants take a communal sample and make something new from it. The most recent battle, number 115 (you read that right), had over 50 participants (you read that right, too).

The house rules are simple, and purposefully restrictive. You’re allowed that one sample, which you can cut’n’splice as you please. There’s an admonition against keyboards, and you can submit only one mix per contest.

There are some masterful little productions among the submissions in contest 115. Dubman‘s upbeat “Chicken of the Sea” (MP3) is an organ-crazed, uncharacteristically upbeat affair, while AJ‘s “stmb bb 115” uses some backward masking to bring a turntablistic flair to the work (MP3). And while most of the productions have a rap-ready appeal, there’s some abstraction afoot: the cut’n’paste “kvu_STMB115” has some extended breaks that are downright leftfield — for fun, call its creator S. Burroughs (MP3).

While they’re enjoyable on their lonesome, the best way to appreciate a Beat Battle like this one is to listen to the whole group, which provides a broken-kaleidoscope view of the original track. That organ so central to the Dubman track (which won the battle vote), for example, is reduced to a halting cadence on Saphyre‘s “Stonesthrow15” (MP3)

[audio:|titles=”Chicken of the Sea”|artists=Dubman] [audio:|titles=”stmb bb 115″|artists=AJ] [audio:|titles=”kvu_STMB115″|artists=unkown] [audio:|titles=”Stonesthrow15″|artists=Saphyre]

The original post is at, and voting closed this past Friday at The full set is at (the track titles veer toward the unintelligible, and I’m not sure which of them is the original sample). There appears to be an expiration date built into those MP3 URLs, but it’s not clear when it is, so if you find the material of interest, download sooner than later.

The next Stones Throw Beat Battle, number 116, is based on “The Paisley Window Pane” by late-1960s folk-pop duo Wendy and Bonnie. This time around, the source is helpfully titled “This Is What You Need to Sample” at the drop site, (The song was apparently sampled previously by Super Furry Animals on the opening track to their 2003 album Phantom Power, titled “Hello Sunshine.”)

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Homebrew Beats from DJ Kong (MP3)

The forums at remain one of the best places to check out new tracks by aspiring beatmakers, who post their music for peer feedback. One recent highlight is DJ Kong (born Darrell Kelloway), who linked last week to his page, which hosts a couple dozen of his homebrew backing tracks, the best of which are listenable unto themselves. Kong has an acknowledged debt to hip-hop producers who bridge the gap between old-school sampling and radio-friendly hooks. But he isn’t just about RZA, Pete Rock, and Timbaland. His “For Duke” (named for Ellington, naturally) samples some classic jazz piano, suffused with loping beats and muted strings, and occasionally spurred on by a call-out (MP3). The young Canadian is definitely someone to keep track of.

[audio:|titles=”For Duke”|artists=DJ Kong]

Original forum post at

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5 Most Downloaded Free MP3s of September 2008

This is a list of the 5 most popular Disquiet Downstream entries on free recommended MP3s from last month, September. They’re listed in descending order:

  1. Composer David Stutz‘s quasi-Gregorian a capella musical accompaniment to Neal Stephenson‘s novel Anathem (
  2. Two DJ sets by Wobbly (aka Jon Leidecker) of mixes from his appearance at a recent Cluster concert, including a century-spanning collection of music related to birdsong, featuring work by David Tudor, Wendy Carlos, Florian Hecker, Christina Kubisch, and others (
  3. A release by smohm from the netlabel Hexawe, which focuses on music made on the free audio software Little Pig Tracker (
  4. Music made on Automaton, a piece of commercial software (from the company Audio Damage) that applies the cellular automata of Conway’s Game of Life to sound. One of the entries, by Kent Williams (aka Chaircrusher), glitch-ifies Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music”(
  5. Closely mic’d eggshells, courtesy of Steve (Subscape Annex) Burnett  (

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