Tulpa | Dusha (aka Anna Martinova) has released a surreptitiously low-key industrial techno EP on her Bandcamp account, tudu.bandcamp.com. Titled Fall, it’s two long tracks, each seven minutes, of slight variations in small percussive sounds, as if ratchets and gears, small pistons and wood blocks had been gathered for some sort of Lilliputian rave.
It’s like if a telecom substation’s internal equipment suddenly all clicked into lockstep for an after-hours jam. What it really is, though, is Martinova working with vintage electronics that have been accumulated by Hans Kulk. As she explains: “these machines were originally intended for industrial and technical applications but they also inspired some of the earliest experiments in electronic music.”
More from Tulpa | Dusha / Anna Martiova, who is based in Amsterdam, at tulpadusha.org and YouTube. She is also the founder of the Modular Moon modular synthesis school (modularmoon.com).
This rough-textured live ambient cassette loop jam noted the Sonars account on YouTube hitting the 1,000-follower milestone. It’s lush, with echoes of Gavin Bryars’ work, suggesting a sepia-toned version of a damaged old document, the aural equivalent of a photograph altered by time and the elements, changes both cultural and elemental. While listening, get lost in the nostalgia-tinged atmosphere. Also keep an eye (and ear) out the moment, just after the two-minute point, when the pitch, and attendant pace, are slowed markedly.
This space isn’t usually used for archival work, and even less often for grey-market recordings, but a YouTube video of a 1989 performance pairing musicians Laraaji and Harold Budd is an opportune way to reflect on the latter, a day after his death at the age 84. The video was posted yesterday, December 8, clearly to note the passing. It was reportedly recorded at the Lazarote Music Festival in volcanic caves by the name of Jameos Del Agua. The festival was organized by Brian Eno, who is closely associated with both Budd and with Laraaji, as a collaborator and for having released their music. The two are heard separately here, Laraaji with his electronically mediated mbira and zither as the centerpiece of the video, and Budd at the opening and close with slow, majestic combination of solo piano and an underlying synthesizer bed of ethereal tones.
Video originally posted to YouTube. Thanks to Patricia Wolf for having brought it to my attention.
The Tenori-on is almost 15 years old, but it still looks like an instrument from the future. It was an early progenitor of the grid-based instruments that blanket the music-making world these days. Here it is heard sequencing sedate exotica beats, as filtered by an offshoot of another matrix instrument. That’s a Norns Shield on the left, a little music computer from the makers of the Monome Grid. The video is from a musician who goes by Sudden Language.
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. I hope to write more about some of these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them.
This week, some recent favorites to which I keep returning:
▰ Lloyd Cole recorded an economical little album of modular synthesizer music with one little noise source, from which the record takes its name, Dunst, as its focus:
▰ Mike Weis translates grief into the beautiful, moving 49 Days (Music for a Transition), two quarter-hour tracks of bell field recordings pushed nearly beyond recognition. I’ve been returning to it daily.
▰ 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 the label Stereoscenic, of Cleveland, Ohio, released Ground . The Gentle, as a 10-track CD. Start with the aptly named “Heaven-Sent,” all cautious chords and dirty-windshield textures.
▰ 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.)
Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media
• February 5, 2020: The first session of the 15-week course I teach at the Academy of Art about the role of sound in the media landscape.
• April 15, 2020: A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the forthcoming book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)
• December 13, 2020: This day marks the 24th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2021: This day marks the 9th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
• There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the forthcoming book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
• At least two live group concerts by Disquiet Junto members in the San Francisco Bay Area are in the works for 2020.
• I have liner notes for a musician's solo album and an essay in a book about an art event due out. I'll announce as the release dates come into focus.
• The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.
• 0472 / Jam Time (1 of 3) / The Assignment: Record the first third of a trio that others will complete.
• 0471 / Phase Transition / The Assignment: The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something with it.
• 0470 / Calendar View / The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments.
• 0469 / [Missing in Caption] / The Assignment: Make music that pushes the constraints of descriptive television captions.
• 0468 / Mirror Rorrim / The Assignment: Create a new persona for yourself, and record a duet together.