Voice as Surface and Artifact, in the Experimental Drone Music of Jelena Glazova [Listen]

Experimental noise art, drone music, and other forms – whatever you might call them – can unquestionably be an acquired taste. Absent the normal landmarks of harmonic and rhythmic structure, they raise questions about just what makes form – and accordingly, as a listener you can be lost in a unpleasantly-formless mass. But in the music of Latvian sound artist and poet Jelena Glazova, as in the experimental sound I find most appealing, the experience is not cerebral so much as sensual. There is a conceptual background, but perhaps that’s what sound does so well: it can execute a concept …

READ MORE →

From the Woods of Germany, Beyond, Sonic Creatures in Mouse on Mars-Recommended Netlabel [Free]

According to legend, on Christmas Eve animals magically gain the ability to speak. If there’s a similar date for sound-making machines, it may have coincided with the work on the latest of two releases from a Mouse on Mars-curated netlabel. Mouse on Mars have quietly started “Recommended Records” as an online-only outlet of free, full-length downloads. Based on the debut offerings in December and January, you can expend electronic outings full of sonic invention, experimental but always full of forward motion and kinetic energy. Ironically, they’re immune to what deef, in RR01, dubs his first track – “boring ass oldschoolness.” …

READ MORE →
lion

Finger-Drumming Video EP: Three Tracks, Played Live on MPD24, Zynewave Podium

We live in an age of finger drumming virtuosos, where drum pads are instruments. And so, while much of production is anything but real-time, here it makes perfect sense for three tracks to have accompanying live videos. The songs are each performances, something to be seen as well as heard. Peppered with samples from Bollywood, the EP Sacred Sounds is due out December 23 from Detroit-based producer/rapper JUST Muziq aka Lion. The artist says it’s a “controllerism-inspired” EP release, with music videos for each track showing off the connection of fingers to composition. Lion’s work is notable here, too, in …

READ MORE →

Got Goosebumps? In ‘Limbic’ Music Video, A Close-up View of Your Body on Music

limbic from Institut Fuer Musik Und Medien on Vimeo. Music isn’t just syntax; it isn’t just a binary message in our brain. It somehow connects with our body in an intimate way. The music video “limbic” explores this visceral connection right at the level of the skin, at sweat and goosebumps and facial reaction. “limbic” is both an aesthetic exploration and a statement about some of the science behind the experience. It comes at a good time, too – earlier this month, we were considering the relationship of body to musical interface, in the context of a bio-interfacing show at …

READ MORE →
mssurface

Microsoft Unveils Two Surface Tablets, But Questions Abound: Will They Hold a Tune?

The iPad has proven a tablet can be a powerful tool for music. It’s also been mostly alone. Android-powered tablets have suffered from lackluster audio performance. Compound that with low popularity in the marketplace and fragmented OS updates, and the platform has largely scared music developers away. Android devices also lack the richness of the iPad’s hardware accessory support, with multi-pin ports that lie dormant, giving accessory makers insufficient capabilities. Windows-powered tablets thus far show some promise, but absent high-quality multi-touch input or thinner form factors, they’ve also been a non-starter. It’s unclear whether it’ll change the situation, but at …

READ MORE →
kelp

A Remix Crosses the Globe, 64 Bars at a Time [Ninja Tune forum Release]

Come on in; the water’s fine. A chain of remixers cross oceans as they remix “Oceandrift,” by Kelp. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Derek Keats. The opening track is aptly-named, a diving bell launched into aquatic depths of ambient sound. But on this release, it’s just the beginning of the journey. From Kelp’s track “Oceandrift,” a set of remixers chart very different musical worlds. They connect across geography via the NinjaTune forum. It’s the latest proof that electronic production need not sound like cut-and-paste templates and presets – and the most recent example of the phenomenon known as the remix chain. What’s a …

READ MORE →
bayati

Sound With a Dose of Mysticism: Upcoming Sufi Plugs Explore Tonality, Call to Prayer, Drones

Could a piece of software make you think differently about sound? Could it reflect ideas, the culture of listening? The developers of the SUFI series of plug-ins seem to think so. In place of screencasts showing which knob to turn which way, they head with a video crew to Morocco. The “instruction” might be about the value of reflection or call to prayer, about living as much as how to use a tool. You can see the first two examples: a meditation on the idea of daily interruptions in the soundscape coming from God, and a collection of electronic drones …

READ MORE →
instagramphotos

Music Making, Shared: Communal Ambient Tracks Explore Instagram Photos, Lisbon, and More

This collection of Instagram photos inspired an ambient compilation at the end of last year – one well worth adding to your listening queue now. Since then, challenges opened to a community on SoundCloud have produced hundreds of terrific tracks – and the latest weekly challenge is on now, with a deadline midnight Monday. Where do you get your ideas? Sometimes, it can be a challenge just to start a track, or can simply feel a bit, well, lonely. Finding fellow music makers can solve that. Artists gathering around SoundCloud and online ambient music chronicle Disquiet work together, with inspiration …

READ MORE →
worldsoundmix

A Small World, After All: Freesound.org Sounds on Earth, and an Ambient Musical Laboratory

Through the eyes of satellites, roving Google trucks, aerial imagery, and more, we have plenty of eyes on our planet. But what does it sound like here on Earth? In a Web application and accompanying art installation, the world turns as it echoes sounds recorded around the world on Creative Commons-licensed site Freesound.org. It’s stunning to hear our world’s acoustic diversity – in some strange way, even more than seeing it, in that sounds can instantly give you a sense of place and time. You can load a version on your browser or on the iPad; then, from the world’s …

READ MORE →

Mouse on Mars: In the Studio, and Reflecting on Performance, Listening, and Melody

Mouse on Mars’ Parastrophics for Monkeytown has been an early highlight of the year, a record packed with musical ideas in densely-configured arrays of sound. The duo is now taking that music on the road, in ambitious, improvisatory live performances. Perhaps all of this can be summed up in one word: energy. Their studio and its arrangements of objects has an energy, an energy that’s present in the craft in the record. And talking to the artists, you get a sense of energy, of enthusiasm, crackling away like an amped-up oscillator. It was therefore a pleasure to get to hear …

READ MORE →