Sound

For ten years, San Francisco’s Asphodel label was America’s premiere experimental music imprint. Trafficking in everything from turntablist 12″s by the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, Mixmaster Mike’s legendary Anti-Theft Device LP, DJ Spooky’s best full-length, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, musique concrète by Iannis Xenakis (Persepolis,) minimal techno dub from Berlin masters Rhythm and Sound, and symphonies made out of midi-controlled dot matrix printers, Asphodel was it. (More…)

The day before the official release of the Fleet Foxes’ sophomore album Helplessness Blues, I was intently listening to NPR’s label-sanctioned stream when my twelve-year-old daughter broke in: “I really like this.” (More…)

Most mornings I wake up in my personal panopticon and set myself to making quiet guitar, tape or music box pieces over coffee.  This collection includes some such pieces encompassing the past year or so.
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Heavy Metal is often seen as a quintessentially white, Western, music. That is indeed the case much of the time. Metal emerged out of white, blue collar mutilations of the blues in working class heartlands such as the West Midlands. Metal imagery is often festooned with such ur-symbols of whiteness such as Viking warriors and corpse-painted pagans amid the snowy forests of Scandinavia. (More…)

“Lippy Kids”, the strongest track on Elbow’s latest album Build a Rocket Boys!, takes a while to build up momentum and even longer to ease to a close. Over the sparest possible piano figure, a single note played over and over, simultaneously insistent and muted, a series of tasteful accents is gradually added and then subtracted. Only the carefully spaced intrusion of Guy Garvey’s evocative voice imparts the weight of a full-fledged song. Even then, the music sounds like it’s about to evaporate, making the six-minute running time something of a miracle. (More…)

San Francisco-based Thomas Dimuzio is one of those unsung artistic figures whose influence and abilities have substantially outstripped his visibility. Composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound designer, experimental electronic musician, collaborator and mastering engineer – Dimuzio has been busy doing his thing(s) since the late 1980s, but is still only known to a small circle of electronic music enthusiasts. (More…)

Hospital waiting rooms are a horrid place. You’re either about to be diagnosed with something awful, or in love with someone who is. My San Francisco hospital, in its boundless touchy-feeliness, commissioned a harp player to set up next to us and play harp arrangements of Debussy and other typically floral-sounding songs. (More…)

As I mingle with the audience after playing a concert, or chat online about my music,  I often find myself explaining the technical ways in which my work is created. I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that I’ve found my vocation as a media technician, or if I am simply less comfortable talking about the philosophy behind my music.
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Although studded with moments of hectic musical convergence, Kutmah’s The New Error is bookended by passages in which propulsion takes a back seat. On the opening track, a string motif of Middle Eastern provenance twines amid meandering piano chords as Doom articulates a dream of irony-free positivity. Yet the hiss and crackle that suffuse the proceedings keep them at a distance. (More…)

When a German producer receives support from the Goethe Institute to collect field recordings in Africa and forcefully rework them into cutting-edge electronica, difficult questions are bound to come up. Are the musicians he documented being exploited, whether financially or culturally? (More…)

Some might call it ‘post-dubstep’. Others might call it ‘8-bit IDM’, ‘post-dub minimalism’ or some other invented subgenre of dub-inspired electronica. Whatever genre one dreams up, I’ve been making it since I first began playing music in the mid-1980s. 
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For the left-wing black metal lover, no act causes greater discomfort than Burzum. The influence of Varg Vikernes’ one-man band is profound. Burzum’s 1990s albums, particularly 1994’s Filosofem, demonstrated just what was possible in the Norwegian black metal scene. (More…)