New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • Disquiet.com F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

tag: i-hop

Current Favorites: Guitar Samples, Instrumental Hip-Hop, Surround Keyboards

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.

▰ There’s one track up thus far from the self-titled Sweepsculp, the remainder due out on the Nous’klaer Audio label May 7 (I’ve seen it listed as late April elsewhere; May 7 is the date on the Bandcamp page). Sweepsculp is a pseudonym for Dutch musician Thessa Torsing, best known as Upsammy. Apparently the EP is “using only an acoustic guitar besides drums.” The first track, “Plaudable,” is laudable for its tight groove, its punchy, low-key beats, and its playful exploration of slight variations amid minimalist repetition.


▰ On Bandcamp Day, Los Angeles producer Jansport J uploaded the instrumental tracks to rapper Quadry’s mid-2020 album Don’t You Weep. It’s seven soulful cuts, the tidy beats rich with backing vocals, old-school electric keyboard, dubby percussive effects, and occasional double-speed samples.


▰ Vancouver, B.C.-based musician Scott Morgan, aka Loscil, has a new record, Clara, due out on May 28. The production process is fascinating: “[It was] sourced from a single three-minute composition performed by a 22-piece string orchestra in Budapest. The subsequent recording was lathe-cut on to a 7-inch, then ‘scratched and abused to add texture and color,’ from which the entirety of Clara was sampled, shape-shifted, and sculpted.” The first track is all glimmering grainy heavens above a scratchy rhythm.


▰ If you dig Nils Frahms’ live setup, an indie-studio reimgaining of Rick Wakeman’s surround-keyboard mode, then this video of Hania Rani may appeal, especially when, at 7:15, she puts a stone on her Prophet sythesizer to hold a note.


▰ The dental drill wind tunnel noise of “Exhalation” and the lost, dubbed-out spaciousness of “Lost Race” were our first two tastes of the 13 tracks that will comprise End of Trilogy, before it was released this past Friday. Now out on the excellent Room40 label, it collects pummeling sounds from Yuko Araki. She’s a force to be reckoned with.


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2020 HindSight

An instrumental hip-hop set from Philadelphia's Nex Millen

February, July, September, and December were my favorite months this year. Not this year meaning this year, but this year as memorialized in a dozen tracks, one for each month, on Philadelphia producer Nex Millen’s 2020 HindSight Millennium Beat EP. From tightly clasped hi-hats to loungey keys, jittery atmospheres to nearly subaural bass line melodies, refracted guitar samples to vocal playfulness, stereo hijinks to ratatatat percussion, those four tracks are among the album’s moodiest. Each, presumably, map’s Millen’s state of mind over the course of 2020’s countless horrors. Now his instrumental hip-hop is something to relax to, to recuperate to. There’s much more to 2020 HindSight than just those four tracks, but they’re the ones helping me make it through the last few weeks of the year.

Album originally posted at nexmillen.bandcamp.com. More from Nex Millen at twitter.com/nexmillen.

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Current Listens: Instrumental Hip-Hop, Non-Performance Samples

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

Caminauta collaborates, on “ambient piano,” with cellist Federico Motta for the lilting “Distance Memories.”

Chris Herbert reworked the non-musical moments from live performances into a pair of extended atmospheric tracks: “transformations of fragments of dead air, non-performance squeaks, hiss, hum, and stray organ notes.” (Available for free download, too.)

Anwar HighSign (formerly known as Has-Lo) did listeners the favor of including the instrumentals on their recent hip-hop EP, Fleece, two of which were instant favorites, both downtempo tracks featuring beats from cut-up organ and drums (“Whole Lotta Trouble,” “When I Write”).

Carl Stone renders two very different avant-pop tracks (“Ganci” and “Figli”) from the same set of samples, both heavily altering a pre-existing vocal line.

A highlight of Olivia Block’s three untitled tracks of music for piano, organ, and unspecified objects is the first, its spare chords bringing to mind Morton Feldman. The album was made available as a digital download this past week, though it was first released back in 2017 (on the Another Timbre label).

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My Back 12″s

Let the summer games commence

Summer chores include collating and culling old records, beginning with the hip-hop instrumentals (mostly 12″s, but some full lengths as well). There will be little if any culling.

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Old Ways, New Tools

A video from London-based Dustmotes

One of the great pleasures of listening to an active electronic musician for an extended period of time is observing how they bring new equipment into their orbit. There is the question of how that equipment, in turn, informs their work. There is also how they achieve their now familiar sounds with unfamiliar tools. The musician Dustmotes’ adoption of a new percussive-oriented sampler is a case in point. The London-based Dustmotes, also known as Paul Croker, has been making elegantly gritty instrumental hip-hop at least since 2011, which is the earliest credit on his discogs.com page, and also the first year I wrote about his music. His music often features a slightly drifting rhythm, a beat missed here, a tempo ebbing there. He regularly explores gentle sounds on well-circumscribed repeat against muffled beats. Playing with a new tool, the Elektron Digitakt, he recently posted a short video, which he dubbed a “Spontaneous live performance” in the brief accompanying note. It has all the modesty of his earlier work, with a newfound level of grit and glitch. The video was shot overhead, so you can watch as he goes. Even if you’re not familiar with the Digitakt’s interface, you can infer correspondences between action and sound — how a knob adds a new effect, or changes the pitch, or welcomes additional elements. It’s a great piece.

Video originally posted to Dustmotes’ YouTube channel. More from Dustmotes at about.me/dustmotes and twitter.com/dustmotes.

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