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

Serrated Simplicity

The VAPE's Quadrophone Gramophone

This marvelous rusty old object is the most rudimentary — and glorious for it — sort of turntable. It’s like if Louise Bourgeois’ spider sculptures and Pierre Bastien’s sonic constructions had a baby. The gear, all serrated simplicity, goes round and round while the tips of four bent wires make tentative contact. They’re pulled along by the surface tension of the gear, until each gives way with a brittle squeak. The device is called the Quadrophone Gramophone, and it’s from the artist who goes by the VAPE.

Video originally posted at youtube.com.

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 ]

Ebb and Flow

Modular ambiance from Orbital Patterns

Another excellent ambient modular synthesizer piece from Orbital Patterns. Not even four minutes long, it played on repeat this morning for a couple hours while I tried to settle into another unsettling day. The video is titled “Layers,” appropriate to the variety of through-lines heard here, overlapping in various ways, ever in flux: plucked virtual strings that echo to infinity, a chiming ambiance like a phaser set for stunning, and the central singsong ebb and flow. Gorgeous.

Video originally posted at youtube.com. More from Orbital Patterns (aka Abdul Allums of Rochester Hills, Michigan) at orbitalpatterns.bandcamp.com and twitter.com/orbitalpatterns.

Also tagged / / Leave a comment ]

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 ]

Current Listens: Church Bells + Air Horns

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.)

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

Håkan Lidbo has ingeniously composed music intended to accompany long-standing public bells heard around Stockholm, Sweden, including two churches and a civic center.

If you’re tired of me recommending Jon Hassell’s latest album, then please allow me to recommend a record by one of its featured contributing musicians, guitarist Eivind Aarset. Snow Catches on her Eyelashes, released back in March on the Jazzland label, teams Aarset and Jan Bang on what could be the film score to a slow-burn science-fiction noir, all otherworldly tonalities transmuted through digital processing. Nils Petter Molvær (trumpet), through whose band I first experienced Aarset many years ago, is among the guests.

As the album’s title suggests, Harbors sounds like coastal atmosphere come to musical life. With roughly 50 strings between them, Theresa Wong (cello) and Ellen Fullman (Long String Instrument, accounting for the remaining lion’s share) make resonant music together. Released last week on the Room40 label.

Maximalist ambient music — orchestral and soaring — created from, of all things, the sound of an air horn. Better yet, it’s a multi-track video (using the SP-404, usually associated with beats). Recorded by the UK-based musician Morn Valley.

Also tagged , , / / Leave a comment ]