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: live performance

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.)

▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰
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.

Also tagged , , / / Leave a comment ]

Davachi, Live

A new set in lieu of touring

Bandcamp’s occasional Friday fire sale — when the company passes its share of profits straight on to the musicians and labels that are its lifeblood — is about to come to an end. Its conclusion is, as I type this, about two hours away on a long day in what has been one of the longest and strangest weeks of a long and strange year. Stranger than strange. “Strange” suggests “interesting if perhaps from a distance,” whereas this is a year from which one wants to gain substantial distance. Until such times, music that takes advantage of long time periods, music suitable to the long present, is a valuable thing. Sarah Davachi is expert in such things. As a “supplement” to Cantus, Descant, her recent two-CD set of contemporary music for the organ, one dating back to 1479, she has announced another collection, Figures in Open Air, a half dozen — presumably lengthy, given the release is also on two CDs — live performances. One track is up as a preview, “Diaphonia Basilica,” recorded on the 1954 Casavant Frères pipe organ at the Église du Gesù in Montreal, Canada. The liner notes mention the presence, as well, of cellist Marianna Houle and French horn player Pietro Amato. Listen closely, and certainly that explains the sheer depth of the dense vertical tonalities that comprise the track. But you could also miss them entirely, so tightly do they align with the organ’s breathy embrace. I’m fairly certain I was at the March 2018 concert during which another of the tracks was recorded, at the Lab in San Francisco. Of course, there are in essence no live concerts right now, due to the pandemic. In fact, this live album was released, Davachi explained yesterday on Facebook, “in lieu of the touring” she had planned later this year. This year being the long year. The long year that necessitates music for the long present. Music like “Diaphonia Basilica.”

Album posted at sarahdavachi.bandcamp.com. More from Davachi at sarahdavachi.com.

Also tagged / / Comment: 1 ]

Old Tape + New Tech

In the work of Takeyuki Hakozaki

The combination of archaic reel-to-reel tape and contemporary synthesizers is a not uncommon one, especially on synth YouTube, where “composition” sometimes means visual components as much as it does sonic ones. The bond between such elements as these two isn’t entirely a matter of chance, or even of individual predilections. The design of contemporary synthesizers such as the modules depicted here often embraces the tactile and the eccentric, both qualities shared by the old tape technology. Furthermore, the give and take of tape, especially when looped and loosely slung as in this short piece by Takeyuki Hakozaki, provides a contrast to the voltage-controlled systematization offered by synthesizers. In Hakozaki’s piece, a melody is pinched and pulled from a cycle of squelchy tones, while an bed of bubbly percussion keeps things roiling.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended fine live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at Takeyuki Hakozaki’s YouTube channel. More from Hakozaki at instagram.com/t.hakozaki.

Also tagged , / / Leave a comment ]

Current Listens: Special Instagram Edition

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt

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.)

There’s always chatter about how various streaming services size up next to each other, and how services like Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and YouTube, among others, fit into the mix. The fact is, a good amount of my “discovery” happens on Instagram, so this entry in the weekly Current Listens series focuses on some examples. Now, Instagram videos tend to be short. You have click through to IGTV to see longer versions, which I only do on occasion. My listening/viewing experience tends more toward seeing bits of performance clips in a row, and then heading over to the respective musician’s longer-form work elsewhere. These three artists, from up and down the West Coast, are among my numerous favorites.

▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰
NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

The musician who goes by Scanner Darkly is a Jedi knight of firmware upgrades and modular-synthesizer ingenuity. This here is a piano phase work in the style of Steve Reich. Scanner Darkly is based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Arckatron is a master of the MPC, though he also stretches out on the SP-404. Here’s a taste of a work in beatcraft progress. Arckatron, aka Shawn Kelly, is based in Los Angeles.

This is a glimpse at Patricia Wolf’s multi-cellphone piece Cellular Chorus, engineered by Jared Herad. Wolf is based in Portland, Oregon.

Also tagged , , / / Comment: 1 ]

Afrorack’s Crossed Rhythms

Recorded live

This is another great set from the Uganda-based synth musician Afrorack, aka Brian Bamanya. It has a more limited sonic palette and more intricately rhythmic intent that the live performance I mentioned earlier this month, and those two aspects serve each other well. The frequently crossing patterns sound like steel percussion, and the slight tweaks of pitch bring to mind hand drums. Those subtle contrasts set the stage for how the individual pieces rotate through the set. Check out the 9:30 mark as an off beat is introduced and then slowly takes over. I listened to all 30 minutes of this several times in a row this afternoon.

Video originally posted at youtube.com. More from Afrorack/Bamanya at bamanyabrian.com.

Also tagged , / / Comment: 1 ]