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

tag: remix

Night After Night

A remix by Van Stiefel

One of the great internet pleasures is to have your music reworked, all the more so to find that someone has taken one of your guitar loop experiments and expanded it to a nearly 30-minute amalgam of coded glitch refraction and improvised soloing. This reworking is by the saintly and enviably talented Van Stiefel.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/vanstiefel. More from Stiefel, a professor of music composition at the Wells School of Music of West Chester University of Pennsylvania, at vanstiefel.com.

And here’s my original, by way of comparison:

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芽菜 Glitch

A secret recipe, apparently

I’m not entirely sure how or when precisely this glitch occurred. It was sometime yesterday shortly after I uploaded a series of camera shots of the dan dan noodles I made for dinner. This resulting image just popped up in my camera’s photos, and I noticed it this morning, though I do now have some vague memory of it having appeared briefly on my screen yesterday. It’s a mystery.

I think of this as “happenstance glitch,” because it happened by accident and isn’t (to my knowledge) repeatable. I would have said “true glitch,” but the word “true” would get me into trouble The idea of “true” plays into matters of authenticity and purity, and that’s not my intention. I just mean to distinguish, not prioritize, actual accident from the aesthetic impression of accident. Then again, perhaps what happened here is, somehow, reverse-engineerable, and if someone knows how to accomplish this, that’d be cool (not the end result specifically, but in the “what happened on my phone when I uploaded to Instagram” sorta way). Like, could I do this regularly if I chose to?

I watch a lot of YouTube videos in which expert video game players traverse unmarked borders beyond the game designers’ intention and explore artifact territories not in the official game. No doubt this glitch image of my bowl of noodles is simply a glitch, an error from which I happen to derive pleasure, though I do like the idea that perhaps there is a nascent or discarded-experiment glitch filter in Instagram that I somehow accessed by accident. I don’t have difficulty imagining that Instagram might, someday, add a “glitch filter” to its toolkit. Maybe they’ll title it Akihabara or Darmstadt.

There is an additional layer of irony here. Making dan dan noodles at home was a big deal for me. It’s one of my favorite dishes, Chinese or otherwise, and being able to prepare it at home from (relative) scratch by following a recipe was a remarkable feeling, not just how the end result tasted, but also how the various phases of preparation, especially in terms of smell, registered. (By “relative” scratch I mean that I didn’t, you know, actually pickle my own mustard greens. I just bought pickled mustard greens, which I now know are called ya cai, or 芽菜.) It is ironic that while I was documenting one favorite flavor, the glitch — another favorite flavor — surfaced, and it has a recipe I do not know how to access.

PS: Odder still, there is now a second glitch of the same image on my phone, and even though they appear in reverse order chronologically, I believe this one is a glitch of the one up top, resulting from when I posted the “original” (humorous word in this case) to Instagram.

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Hector Plimmer x Kidkanevil

A remix of a loop

Another great A/B listen, comparing and contrasting an original and its remix. First came “Tapeloop,” a brief, lofi, understated groove from Hector Plimmer. It’s high impact low impact, modest moves in service of a greater mood. There’s a brief keyboard riff, echoing lightly above a smothered, raspy handclap of a beat. Occasionally it pitches up or down. And then it slinks into the shadows. It’s called “Tapeloop,” and it’s barely a minute and a half long, so you hit repeat.

To the remixer’s credit, when Kidkanevil goes to work, he manages to augment and add, dissect and course correct, without ever losing what made the original so compelling. He glitches it out in a manner that reflects the original’s surface tension. He adds vocals that sound like someone doing hyperspeed play-by-play on the production. He injects and carves, but never loses the balance that made Plimmer’s source audio function. Kidkanevil plays Jenga with the building blocks, yet the material never even teeters. Not every remix needs to pay tribute to the original, but when it’s done right, it helps you understand the original.

“Tapeloop” originally appeared as the fifth track on Plimmer’s late 2019 album, Next to Nothing. The Kidkanevil remix is part of an ongoing series that has included Alex Harley, Matthew Herbert, Elkka, and Bex Burch.

Album originally posted at hector-plimmer.bandcamp.com. More from Plimmer, who is based in London, at soundcloud.com/hectorplimmer, twitter.com/HectorPlimmer. More from Kidkanevil, aka Gerard Roberts, at kidkanevilofficial.com.

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Loraine James and the Art of the Remix A/B

The club/IDM musician reworks a new Lunch Money Life track.

There’s nothing quite like a remix A/B, one of my favorite forms of listening pleasure: comparing the before and after when one artist reworks another. It’s all the better if the experience of the transition is reversed: if the original track is unfamiliar, and you hear it only after first witnessing a remix of it by someone whose work you already admire.

Such is the case with British club/IDM musician Loraine James, who has grabbed the track “Lincoln” from the quintet Lunch Money Life (off their new album, Immersion Chamber), and as if with so much Silly Putty reshaped it to match her own vision.

The original is exceptional groove-heavy electronic jazz. The band (Stewart Hughes, drums; Sean Keating, guitar; Luke Mills-Pettigrew, bass; Jack Martin, electronics and trombone; Spencer Martin, electronics and saxophone) finds new life in the genre, the key being how reworked the music sounds even in its first iteration. The track breaks frequently as it moves from phase to phase, different instruments taking prominence, digital effects adding glitches, echoes, and other treatments in unpredictable maneuvers.

And that’s before Loraine James takes hold of it. She removes any concessions to a live-band vibe, in favor of something that is very much in her own mode. She locates especially tasty rhythmic elements from the original and sets them on repeat. The tweaks she introduces then gather a more immediate sense of remove from the source material — and like so much sugar on top, bits of pachinko-parlor melodies get drizzled on throughout. And because it’s James, the track must come with a challenge. Eventually that dependable rhythm is encouraged to fall apart, to flail and jitter like Max Headroom after a particularly wild LAN party. In the process, James both helps the listener locate what makes the Lunch Money Life original so strong, and also manages to produce something that is very much her own.

Album and remix originally posted at lunchmoneylife.bandcamp.com.

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Panic Girl x R Beny

A remix from a forthcoming EP

Almost a year after releasing the album Cake on Jupiter, Munich-based synth musician Panic Girl has followed it up with a remix collection. Six of the original album’s eight tracks are reworked by the likes of ISAN, r beny, Mess Montage, Synth Witch, Jericho, and Lightbath. “Himalayan Tea” was the opening track on Cake on Jupiter, as it is here. It’s also the first listen we have of the record, due out October 9, 2020:

Below is the original for reference. Note the percussive undergirding, and listen for how it trails across the stereo spectrum. This is the stuff of which r beny’s dream was made. In his piece, above, the beat is gone, leaving some of inspiring sonic gentility in its wake.

Both Cake on Jupiter and Cake on Jupiter Remixes are available at panic-girl.bandcamp.com. More from Panic Girl (aka Martha Bahr, who is also half of Lucid Grain, the other half being Anatol Locker) at panic-girl.com.

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