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

tag: video

SineRider, Off-Screen and On

A live ambient performance

There are several key factors in the ongoing playlist I maintain on YouTube of fine live performances of ambient music. There are three, in fact, and the very first is: “I’m only including recordings I’d listen to without video.” As something like test evidence, I came upon this piece, “Peat Moss” by Sine Rider, today on SoundCloud, and it turns out it’s the audio from one of his performance videos. It’s a warbly drone, like someone left the melody out to dry over night and hadn’t considered the damage that the morning dew might do. Except it didn’t do damage. It rendered the melody ever more fragile, and ever more beautiful for that fragility. And here’s the original video:

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/sinerider. More from SineRider, aka Devin Powers of Norwood, Massachusetts, at sinerider.bandcamp.com and youtube.com/sinerider.

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Minimalism and Its Echoes

Nathan McLaughlin is at the height of his powers.

Nathan McLaughlin’s performance this Sunday was a highlight of a weekend packed with free live online shows. There are many more such shows to come during our time of widely distributed isolation, and I recommend not only a listen to his gig, if reflective solo guitar sounds up your alley — but also one if you’re planning on playing live online yourself. He does so much, so simply, and (audio glitches in the archived transmission aside) with enviable concentration, that it’s a model for such a thing as destination viewing. The video is just him, in a wooden chair, with an acoustic guitar in hand, and enough (largely off-screen, though there is a reel-to-reel machine rolling along against the wall) equipment to lend his already raga-like playing a nimbus of graceful echoing. There’s a clear aesthetic connection between his minimalist finger-picking and the hall of sonic mirrors in which it occurs — so clear that the two factors in fact blend together. Close to the end, he ruptures the fabric of performance by stopping his picking. He turns the guitar up in his lap, as a recording of his playing plays on. And then he takes a bow to the strings, and creates a drone that consumes all that came before, and then he gets up from the chair and walks off-screen, leaving the drone to drone, until he slips back in to lower the volume to a finish. I’ve been listening to and writing about Nathan McLaughlin’s music at least since January 2006, back when he went by the name Doogie, and, at least to my ears, he’s never sounded more thoughtful and focused.

Video originally posted at the YouTube channel of the Decentralized Sonic Quarantine Network. More from Nathan McLaughlin, who is based in Hudson, New York, at nathanmclaughlin.bandcamp.com.

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Make the Best of What’s Still Around

A live tape-loop performance by Amulets

Tread lightly. Today’s self-aware hi-jinks are tomorrow’s tragedies. Still, as musicians, like most everyone else in the world, do their best to settle into far more residential life than they may be accustomed to, they make the best of what’s still around. In the case of Amulets, that involves using a toilet paper roll as a means to extend the length of a tape loop, as heard in this video posted today.

Amulets is the Portland, Oregon, musician Randall Taylor, who does marvelous things with, among other second-hand tools, old audio tape cassettes — same tape he’s had for years. Here the rotting texture of the loop, exaggerated by a delay pedal, takes sequences from his portable synth and renders from them subsistence ambient, just loud enough to make an impression, but not so much as to squander available resources.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at youtube.com. More from Amulets at amuletsmusic.com.

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Set Your Scanner for Saturday

After Live: Robin Rimbaud will be playing from his London studio (9am Pacific Time).

The Downstream department entries on Disquiet.com are, with the exception of Thursdays, always about streamable — and often freely downloadable — music available right now. On Thursdays the Downstream highlights the latest Disquiet Junto project, tracks from which usually begin appearing within 12 hours. Today’s post, however, is about something happening a little further off, in about — checks watch — three and a half days, as of this typing. That’s Saturday, March 21, when Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner, will perform the inaugural live stream from his London home base. “First broadcast from the Scanner studio, especially given the rather challenging and frequently lonely situation for so many,” he wrote as an advance notice on YouTube. “I felt a little Saturday afternoon live performance might distract you from the dark news for a moment.” That’s Saturday afternoon in England, where Scanner, as well as his studio, is based. Here in California, it’ll be 9am. Adjust your clocks accordingly, or if you have a YouTube account, click on the “reminder” button on the concert’s YouTube URL.

As mentioned here in yesterday’s special edition After Live post, there are countless more performances like this being broadcast, recorded, and archived around the world, all accessible within your browser. Seek them out, support the musicians who produce them, and share the ones you recommend.

More from Rimbaud at scannerdot.com and scanner.bandcamp.com, where he recently launched a subscriber fan community, providing access to previously unreleased material, among other perks.

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Extracting Subsets

From Norway-based Duelling Ants

There is static on the line. The signal is going in and out. Bits are looping frantically, and the combined activity yields a kind of sonic mist, if at times a spiky one. The overall signal source, the original thread of audio, is almost lost as the interference takes on a syncopated quality. This is all on purpose, of course. This is the musician who goes by the name Duelling Ants taking sound from a small portable synthesizer and sending it through an ingenious looper, one that extracts subsets of the signal and lets Duelling Ants operate upon them simultaneously for varying purposes. One line moves forward while another cycles a bit round and round while another plays a different subset in reverse. (I know to listen for this because I’m familiar with the looping software.) The result is a spirited kaleidoscope of parts, where the whole is entirely besides the point.

More from Duelling Ants, aka Norway-based Marius Jacobsen, at duellingants.bandcamp.com, marsmelons.com, and instagram.com/duellingants.

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