Mikr Tonalwsky’s EP, End of the Rat, is so short. How short is it? It will take me longer to write this review than it will take me to listen to the album several times. Quantity is nothing.
Tonalwsky’s short EP, composed in cscound, is the story of a wharf rat dying and being reborn as its billions of atoms return to the universe. That’s what the liner notes say anyway. What the liner notes don’t relay is that in the End of the Rat‘s brevity it paints a lovely aural color that is as anti-melodic as it is melodic.
One of the beauties of the Creative Commons music community is that one is constantly discovering new artists, new sounds, mew music. This discovery is also one of its major drawbacks. The other day, I came across Secrets of the 45′s Verdant Peal on the netlabel Underpolen. As happy as I was discovering this lovely new album, there was a smidgen of regret that I was completely unaware of both the musician and the netlabel who had been active for more than 10 years.
This small qualm was quickly eradicated by listening to Verdant Peal several times as well as downloading and listening to several other older releases. I believe Secrets of the 45 is a project of the Polish musician Jan Stratch, who also manages the Underpolen netlabel. Verdant Peal is composed of processed sounds and field recordings making a pleasant album that is filled with flavorful sounds.
Artist: Secrets of the 45
Title: Verdant Peal
Release Date: 14 August 2013
Download mp3: zip
Over the past year, the netlabel Haze has released a series of compilations that called on Creative Commons musicians to interpret the writings of various exceptional authors from the 20th century from Camus to de Saint-Exupéry. Interestingly, I found that I had read all but one of the writers featured and, though, I take slight issue with Stephen King being added to a pantheon which includes Cortázar and Joyce, it is but a quibble.
The manager of the Haze, Dzmitry Ladzes, under the alias of Aortha, has released a compilation of his tracks, Chronotope, that were included over the last year in the Sound Interpretation series. Most of the tracks are field recordings layered and looped upon each other with some processed sounds that produce a wonderful ambiance of noise and glitch. With Chronotope, Ladzes brings the coherence to his 12 tracks mainly through his careful ordering of the tracks, take a listen to the transition from King to Cortázar to Kafka. Chronotopeis a superb slice of ambient noise.
Release Date: 27 August 2013
Download mp3: zip
When I first came across Jeff Kolar’s self-release Ice Cream Truck Songs I really didn’t know what to expect. Kolar is the director of Radius, an experimental radio program, and he has put out some very interesting work in the past such as Start Up/Shut Down which I reviewed here and Touchscreen which I should have review here. So given my brief history of listening to Kolar’s work, I knew he would be able to transform these short annoying songs into something else.
Most ice cream trucks in the United States play the same songs over and over again. This repetition of songs is because most trucks use the same music box, the Digital II, which is made by Nicholas Electronics. For more about the history of ice cream truck music — yes, there is a history —, please read this short article by Daniel Tannehill Neely, “Soft Serve: Charting the aural promise of ice cream truck music” (pdf).
In Ice Cream Truck Songs, Kolar speeds up, slows down and chops up the classically irritating songs to make his own twisted sound of the summer. He follows along with the classic playlist: “The Entertainer”, “Turkey in the Straw”, “Little Brown Jug”, “Sailing Sailing”, “Camptown Races”, “Redwing”, “Brahm’s Lullaby” and “La Cucaracha”, but that is the only thing similar. In listening to a track such as “Camptown Races”, which you can listen to below, Kolar destroyed and rebuilt the track into something totally unrecognizable but more delightful.
A word of warning, Ice Cream Truck Songs is only available on Soundcloud, so you’ll have to download the tracks individually. I’m pretty sure you can do it.
I have chosen to write about Mystified’s wonderful new field recording release mainly because, lately, his recording output is almost as spotty as me writing reviews. At least Mystified’s reason is better than mine: love versus work.
Over the last few years, I had commented to Mystified and his alter ego, Mister Vapor, that he was releasing too many recordings, that I couldn’t keep up. Well, he’s obliged and, though he may be happier, I must resort to listening to the too few albums he releases today. Kids, the lesson here is be careful what you wish for, it may come true.
Mystified’s Brannon and Chippewa at its most basic level is an album of field recordings based on his old residence that may or may not be near the corner of Brannon and Chippewa in South Saint Louis. Looping and layering different recordings on top of each other, at times processing some and other times leaving them raw, Mystified creates a mood for yesterday. But Brannon and Chippewa is not filled with regrets, rather, like all good ambient works it guides the listener through the creation of their own feelings upon the record.
We exist in the underground. We exist in the bits that travel through the world’s underbelly. We are in the basement of the high-rises you walk by every day. There is a world of music architected by corporations on the talents of thousands. That is not our world. It is not Miquel Parera‘s world either. He is not unnoticed though he goes by not talked about, not recognized. He would rather listen to your new album than release a new track on Soundcloud. He would rather review your work than tweet about his new album. He is quietly community driven. With his latest album, Quadraphonic Automatische Drohne, Parera’s ears code an intricate work that brings forth new sonic phrases listen after listen.