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: video

Music for an Aquatic Road Movie

France Jobin in collaboration with Stephan Mathieu

France Jobin and Stephan Mathieu composed this seven-part sequence, rich with sublimated internal motion, as the score to a film by Cedrick Eymenier, titled The Answer. Released in 2016 as part of Mathieu’s Radiance series, Music for the Answer opens with certain emotional intensity, a sense of expectation as the slow-motion sounds being to whirl. The recordings that follow more than rise to the occasion. The variety in the set is striking. There is the high-pitched whistle that serves as the through line amid “Sea Song V.” There are broken chimes on “The Answer,” those shards of glisten slowly merging into a nocturnal drone. There is the insect-like white noise cycling amid on “The Answer VII.” And there is what sounds like a irrevocably warped vinyl recording of horns in the dense, kaleidoscopic “Sea Song I.” Among all the tracks, texture is paramount, from soft shadings to hyper-detailed micro-fissures.

The trailer for Eymenier’s film is online. It’s been characterized as an “aquatic road movie,” and was shot Canal du Midi in the south of France:

France Jobin is a Montreal, Canada-based composer and curator, with albums on And/Oar, Line, Room 40, and other labels. Stephan Mathieu is a prolific German sound artist and musician who has recorded for 12k, Ritornell, Lucky Kitchen, and Editions Mego, among other labels. Both have exhibited numerous sound installation.

Album originally posted at francejobin.bandcamp.com. More on Cedrick Eymenier’s The Answer at cedrickeymenier.com. More from Jobin at her website, francejobin.com, and Mathieu at schwebung.bandcamp.com.

Also tagged / / Leave a comment ]

Lightbath’s Percussive Reverberations

A bit of what Emily Sprague praised in the Sound + Process podcast

In her interview as part of the Sound + Process podcast, Emily Sprague mentioned two musicians as inspirations for her, one of them being Lightbath, aka Bryan Noll. She was speaking in particular about Lightbath’s videos, in the context of videos with a certain aesthetic that she found comforting if rare — which is to say, not all 4/4, not techno, not noisey, not songy, not purely noodling; instead: soft, ambient, and ever so slightly melodic. She doesn’t specifically say those things; that’s an aesthetic triangulation on my part based on what Sprague’s music often sounds like, and what Lightbath and the other musician whose videos she mentioned, R Beny, are generally up to.

This track, while quite rhythmic, is a good example of Lightbath in action. Titled “Forgiveness,” it has a very organic sounding percussive undercurrent. The beat brings to mind African talking drums, above which sharp, plucked notes slowly fill the audio spectrum with extended reverberations. I’ve posted the audio, from SoundCloud, up top, and the video below to encourage giving it a listen before watching the piece unfold. Like many modular performances, there is far less going on than we actually hear. With notable exceptions, of course, modular performance is often more a matter of coaxing, nudging, and shifting than it is of what we have come to traditionally think of as “playing.” That sedate composerly presence isn’t always reflected in the sound, but it certainly is here.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/lightbath. More from Lightbath/Noll at lightbath.com and twitter.com/lightbath.

Also tagged , / / Leave a comment ]

Live Classical Remix

Snatched from the radio, rendered on a Digitakt

What might be a bowed cello or, perhaps, a deep horn opens this track solemnly. The quick initiation of a repeating fragment, the appearance of an audible seam where a loop ends and then again begins, makes it clear this is a remix. What it is is the musician taking a bit of classical music recorded off the radio, and through improvisation in one sitting layering and reworking it into something else entirely.

It is literally one sitting, which we know because the track appears as a video, documentation of a musician coming up to speed on a relatively new piece of equipment. The instrument is the Digitakt, a drum machine and sampler from the company Elektron. You don’t need to know the Digitakt’s interface in order to correlate some of the live actions with what we’re hearing. Often it’s self-evident, as when, around the 2:00 mark, one sample is slowed ever so slightly, or at the end when the volume decreases for a slow fade out.

The strings are the majority of the piece. They are sequenced to avoid any easy sense of metrical certainty, and they are copied and pasted well beyond the number of players present on the original recording. Remixing is like magic: smoke (filters) and mirrors (sampling). The result is a digital fantasia, material mixed as the memory might, favorite snatches on repeat, connections and contrasts between formerly sequential elements emphasized through simultaneity.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted on the corduroyfarmer YouTube.

Also tagged , / / Leave a comment ]

Disquiet Junto Project 0293: Emerge/Immerse

Make music for Paige Dansinger's Palmyra 3D/VR images, paying tribute to the late Bassel Khartabil.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 14, 2017. This project was posted in early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 10, 2017.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0293: Emerge/Immerse
Make music for Paige Dansinger’s Palmyra 3D/VR images, paying tribute to the late Bassel Khartabil.

Step 1: This is the first of two consecutive projects we’re undertaking, following the news of Bassel Khartabil’s death. (If you’re new to the Junto, Bassel was an open-source coder who did a lot of work in CGI before being imprisoned in Syria. Word of his execution just recently became public.) Paige Dansinger is making VR drawings in Tilt Brush inspired by Bassel’s Palmyra CGI work, drawing from her own interest in making a better world. For this project we’re going to make sound, in Bassel’s honor, to accompany her 3D work. View Paige’s pieces at:

http://www.newpalmyra.org/projects/junto-emerge-immerse/

Step 2: Think about the sort of sound that might accompany, contribute to, or otherwise be a component part of a VR experience. Now, record a short piece of music, up to two minutes, that is about something emerging — something being brought to life, or coming out of a cave, or otherwise coming into being.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0293” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0293-emerge-immerse/

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 14, 2017. This project was posted in early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 10, 2017.

Length: Keep your piece to under two minutes.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0293” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: For this project, please make sure your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution). This is aligned with Paige Dansinger and Bassel Khartabil’s work.

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information, along with details of your source audio, including links to it:

More on this 293rd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Make music for Paige Dansinger’s Palmyra 3D/VR images, paying tribute to the late Bassel Khartabil — at:

https://disquiet.com/0293/

Thanks to Niki Korth, Jon Phillips, and Barry Threw for encouraging this project, and to Paige Dansinger for the collaboration. View Dansinger’s 3D drawings of Palmyra here:

http://www.newpalmyra.org/projects/junto-emerge-immerse/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0293-emerge-immerse/

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project is by Paige Dansinger, more on whom here:

http://paigedansinger.com

Also tagged , , , / / Leave a comment ]

5 Cassette Players Walk into an Aphex Twin Cover

A very warbly "Rhubarb"

The past week or so have been big news in Aphex Twin land, from the opening of his own digital superstore, at aphextwin.warp.net, packed with extra tracks and candid bits of liner notes, to a headlining gig at a Japanese music festival, and the subsequent inevitable price spike for a commemorative tape of the concert. Lost in the tumult was this little video cover of “Rhubarb,” the third track from the Selected Ambient Works Volume 2 album. In the video it’s being performed on the Crudman — well, on a quintet of Crudmen. The Crudman is an ingenious hack of a Walkman. The aftermarket technology allows the speed of the tape to be controlled as if it were a synthesizer module. Because the tapes in this video all have simply a sine wave tuned to C on them, the speed adjustment alters the note value of the audio emitted from the player. There are more details on the recording process at the Crudlabs YouTube channel, and at the crudlabs.org website, including (for the more gadget-literate audience) this breakdown of the device’s controls:

Also tagged , , / / Leave a comment ]