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Squarepusher plays Rome in April of last year. Photo (CC-BY-ND) funkoolow.

To take us into the weekend, here are some favorite online music releases this week to download, stream, and enjoy. Be sure to click over to the site if you’re on RSS for the included players if they’re not appearing.

The big buzz this week was the surprise emergence of Squarepusher on a project with Ed Banger Records – a surprise because Squarepusher has long been synonymous with Warp. I’ll leave the music blogs to concern themselves with the label. (Resident Advisor goes understated, whereas exclaim.ca offers, snarkily, “Either Ed Banger Records has moved on from the French touch explosion of 2007 or IDM legend Squarepusher has dropped the wacky time signatures for some four-on-the-floor filter-house.”)

Mostly, Squarepusher fans have been having a good time with a funky, fun track and remix that’s free on Soundcloud (the one “label” we all find ourselves on these days):
Squarepusher – Cryptic Motion Edits by Hypetrak

In the ambient realm, I’ve been enjoying the music of aptly-named artist Ambienteer, whom we visited in June. There’s a new, pay-what-you-will EP up on Bandcamp if you want more:

<a href="http://ambienteer.bandcamp.com/track/bright-collection-of-strange-victories">bright collection of strange victories by ambienteer</a>

Ambienteer: Bright Collection of Strange Victories

Ghostly artist Shigeto has an absolutely gorgeous track out this week, mixing the work of vocalist/harpist Ana Caravelle. It’s unmistakably a Shigeto track, but with lots of, well, vocal and harp-y goodness. (If you missed it last month, be sure to check out Shigeto’s free EP from last month.) XLR8R has a nice write-up of the release.
Ana Caravelle – Blackcanyon ( Shigeto’s as i inhale mix ) by SHIGETO

For something more experimental, Makunouchi Bento’s Swimé is a delightful, fanciful soundscape that rattles its way through musical fragments, noises, and cinematic landscapes, sometimes recalling John Cage (particularly when the piano dances over a repeated, asymmetrical motive of some sort). I very much like that it’s free, not so much as a judgment on the commercial potential of the record (which I’ll admit is relatively limited), but because it allows you to encounter the music freely. Like wandering the free day at the art gallery, it may open you up to experience the work. And it’s worth putting on your best cans and listening to a higher-quality format, to explore this musical imaginarium.

<a href="http://makunouchibento.bandcamp.com/album/swim">Rain Dragon, Hidden Genius by Makunouchi Bento</a>

If it’s a mix you’re looking for, German artist Martin Juhls aka krill.minima (on Kompakt, among many others) has a rich, extended “ambient dub” mix up on Mixcloud this week.

By the way, here’s one tool to add to the music releases. If you’re using Google Chrome or the open source variant Chromium, ExtensionFM is a brilliant extension that automatically pulls streaming and download links from pages you’re surfing, then allows you to navigate them as if they were in your local library. I have to admit, I was fairly resistant to the idea at first – until I actually tried it, that is. ExtensionFM is polished, lightweight, and elegant, and far from distracting from focused music listening, I found that the ability to assemble tracks and play them in a complete session has helped me to listen more closely to tracks available online. Anyone who’s ever fiddled with the ill-fated, chronically-unstable, and now discontinued-for-Linux application Songbird will recognize the concept. ExtensionFM is what Songbird should have been, period.

http://www.extension.fm/

It’s been particularly nice when navigating SoundCloud. My new workflow – assemble the stuff I want to hear, spend extended breaks listening to tracks, as well as “browsing” music as you would on the radio by loading tracks in the background while working in the browser, then go out and buy or download the best stuff to add to my permanent library. (These days, that means Banshee for me.)

I was never this impressed with similar offerings on Firefox, but if you have a favorite tool, let us know.

Also, turns out these guys are here in downtown Manhattan, so, ExtensionFM guys, if you’re reading, say hello.

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  • Interesting that Squarepusher is working with Ed Banger, and Eno is now working on a record to be released on Warp rather than his own Opal label. Curious label-swapping projects! I suppose it hints at a change of musical scene – and in the hands of Tom Jenkinson and Eno I'm sure it will be a very interesting alteration.

  • great re: ambienteer mention!

  • Stij

    Yay, new Squarepusher! I have to say, I like the direction he's been going in with his last few releases – very funky, very fusion-y. Reminds me of Herbie Hancock's 70s work or Weather Report, but with a distinctly SP touch.

  • http://luckyshiner.com/

    THIS is my favorite.

    GOLD PANDA is my jam, no questions asked. You will not regret going to this site and grabbing the free MP3. or just stream it on soundcloud.

  • And the Ana Carvelle remix has been on repeat this week too!

  • thnx for those goooodieesss 🙂

  • J. Phoenix

    Nice tip on the extension.fm Fantastic!

  • I have a record that I've made available for free. It's 50/50 split electronic/hip hop. If anyone would like to download it…
    Argotec "Wherewithal"
    It can be found at http://www.soundtrax.com
    code: cJdgjf6F (case sensitive)
    Enjoy.

  • Personally, I can't say I've enjoyed Squarepusher's stuff since Hello Everything…I still yearn for the Squarepusher of yesteryear. Nonetheless, I'm curious what his Ed Banger record will sound like.

  • s ford

    I've been a fan of Squarepusher a long time, and his single on EdBanger is not vintage to any stretch of the imagination. His recent output hasn't been great though, Numbers Lucent and SEB weren't that great….

  • I'm gonna bitch a hard time but Squarepusher is trying to do something new and funky, he should listen to some Randy Barracuda or V.C. and all these finnish guys doing synthetic funk…

  • Peter thanks for the shout out! Glad you are liking ExtensionFM. Send suggestions if you have 'em

  • Thank you so much for the ExtensionFM rec!!!! Changed my life (for the last 5 minutes).

  • But how do you go back and download the stuff that you like? ExtensionFM has now added their little logo overlay to every DL link on every website. No more alt-click. Sad face.

  • @EL NOU MON: Right click still works for me. That's not working for you?

  • Right click should still work. We are actually going to change this in the near future so that instead of putting our player over the link. we will put our player next to it.

  • Stij

    Personally, I like the new direction Squarepusher's been taking since Hello Everything. The chaotic IDM stuff was interesting, and I liked some of it, but I think he sounds better when's he's more… restrained.

    Numbers Lucent was a little disappointing though, not up to the standard of his previous two releases IMO. I haven't had a chance to listen to SEB yet, but the idea sounds kinda self-indulgent.