Author: AbstrakSounds

Learning Modular Synthesis in 9 Simple Tracks with ((konexo))

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Artwork for The Shortest Days

((konexo))’s album, The Shortest Days, reaffirms my growing interest in modular synthesis. All the tracks were made using MakeNoise eurorack modules, in single takes. That’s the beauty of modular synthesis and having knowledge on what the individual modules can do. Modular synthesis allows one to create their own unique instrument.

The first track (I’m going to shorten the names for the sake of typing them out) xmas jugband is pretty good start to the album. It introduces the odd mix of freedom and order that one will find using this type of instrument. loose ends somewhat highlights the frequency range of instrument and beckoned astray provides a fun random, yet organized, arrangement.

sharp signals is definitely one of those improvisations you hear in demo synth videos. It’s blend of non-sinusoidal waveforms grabs your attention, the arrangement is recognizable but curious. Modular synthesis also allows for sonic opportunity. See how beeps can make a rhythmic progression, an organically made digital beat in beginners luck. Where guitar players use a wah pedal to alter the sound of the tone, a synth uses a filter while altering the cutoff and resonance. This can be automated on modular synths, which is most likely the case in march forth. Or it was done manually. Or I’m completely wrong.

 

While listening to evening snowstorms, I tried to imagine an orchestra playing it. It’s a very dynamic piece, certainly lending itself to be transposed. home alone is also very dynamic. The phrasing and space in it, like the other songs on the album, is what keeps things interesting while still sounding repetitive at times. Ending with grey sunday, ((konexo)) displays how the modular synth can create a kick sound, bass and a high pitched flute.

This shit just makes me want a modular synth even more. I’ve been looking at the Lifeforms System by Pittsburgh Modular. So thanks, now I’m closer to making that purchase.

Essential Track: sharp signals

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Submitting for review…

So it might be more interesting to do two different types of reviews:

  1. Music Reviews
  2. Artist Reviews

1 is pretty obvious….

2 would be an overall review of an artist’s image, sound and production value. Is it an original sound? What makes them interesting?

That being said, when submitting for review, try to put what type of review you’d like. For each, it would be helpful to get some additional information like promo pictures (any pictures really…), links to videos and social media, information on how the music was made.

Also, I’m doing daily posts on Twitter sharing music I find on SoundCloud. So, if not a full review, music can still be shared. I’m working on a Facebook page and maybe an Instagram account for sharing artwork.

Thanks, and here’s a picture a cat on a synthesizer in space.

 

 

Review: Togoland, and the realm of musical deconstruction and destruction.

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Taken from Bandcamp page

I like Togoland because they’re pushing some barriers that usually make people uncomfortable and really helps address the conversation of what defines music. What makes something musical?

Music, by definition, is organized sound. Take that how you want it.

In this review, I’ll do a few short reviews of Togoland’s Demos (there are four of them) and then end with a short review of the recent release Harsh Noise. I tried to figure out a more interesting way to do this review, but it was taking too long. All the albums are available for streaming on Bandcamp. I posted a link at the bottom.

Demos

Demos is an in your face barrage of noise. The mix of frequencies making love being recorded on a cell phone and laptop. Not for the faint of heart, or those tripping on LSD (if anyone wants to try the latter, please let us know how that goes…). Five tracks of destruction, with Bomb Sounds being an appropriate introduction. Sounds like heavy unnatural winds in while riding the subway. Togoland is from New Jersey, so maybe a quick visit to New York City provided some sound sources

Demos #2

This one opens up with a more drone approach, evolving into a more defined form of destruction. Bird Seed features distorted drums in a hypnotic rhythmic loop that is complimentary of the drones and evil tones which make the harmonic structure of the album’s shortest track, at a little over 6 minutes. The almost 14 minute drone, Sustained String Tension Line, was made from the sound of the melting phone in Fail-Safe. This song also challenges the definition of music.

Demos #3

Demos #3 opens with the return of unfiltered destruction. Slint is perhaps the more matured track, provided the cinematic drum made by a slowing down a recording of a bongo. When listening to Drive Thru, try to imagine a chair being dragged around in a classroom. Because that’s how the song was made…

Demos #4

Demos #4 is strictly noise. Though most of the songs may be difficult to listen to straight through, the reward of noise and drone music is bringing the listener to new mental states. The state I experienced in Music Is Over, was a state that made me hear melodies that might not have been heard otherwise. And screams…Which hopefully weren’t real when I listened at 3am here in New York…

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Cover art for Harsh Noise

Harsh Noise

The thing about noise music that it can sometimes tend to sound the same. That’s the curse of it. But it is rewarding to listen, as well as craft, noise music that can lend itself to new experiences. Harsh Noise is exactly what you’d expect. It’s harsh.

Harsh Noise is perhaps the most challenging of all of Togoland’s releases. It’s demonic and, not sure if intentional, provides a concept that can be felt in nightmares. It is manipulative and explores the deepest fears of aural perception, which can be worse than visual nightmares. You can hear and feel the darkness in Chain and Fear of Rain.

My favorite thing about experimental music is its manipulation of sound and the ability to make ordinary sounds in to incredible atmospheres. Since Togoland clearly has a feel for darkness and destruction, I would recommend them to explore binaural audio and make a literal aural nightmare. It could be interesting and perhaps even groundbreaking.

Essential Track: Slint (from Demos #3)

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THANK YOU

I just want to thank everyone for the support. It’s been great writing about all the music and, more importantly, hearing and sharing new music every week.

Just want to remind everyone about the Twitter and now there’s a Facebook and Instagram. I hope to use the Instagram for sharing artwork and whatever cool things I can find.

I’m always open to hearing suggestions for new music, and if anyone wants to make a better logo or cover art, that’d be appreciated. The crap up now is just…crap.

That being said, I’m currently working on the next review. Togoland. Every time I was looking to start writing on an album, another was released. So I’m working on a hopefully interesting way to review all the music together. It’s cool stuff.

Thanks again!

AbstrakSounds

Here’s a cat on a guitar…

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Check It: .cranium.scatter by Savan DePaul

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Artwork for .cranium.scatter

This is some pretty cool hip hop from a 19 year old kid in Pennsylvania. Includes some freestyle and poems that apparently didn’t make it to other albums. He’s got 9 albums on Bandcamp.

The opening of the first track reminded me of MF DOOM, so that instantly sparked interest to see where Savan is gonna end up in a few years. Check it out, it’s a quick listen with some chill downtempo beats.

 

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Artist Review: Golden Leap

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Golden Leap 2017

Every now and then instead of doing a full blown review of just an album, I’ll do an overall general review of an artist’s music, aesthetic, etc. “Artist Review” sounds wrong in a way, but I’m not sure what to call this type of post yet. We can figure it out along the way. In a future post, I’m going to explain what I’m looking for when receiving submissions for all type of posts.

Meet Golden Leap, an electronic musician from I don’t know where. He’s got some pretty cool beats and sounds going on, mostly techno and great visuals to compliment. The aesthetic of the Mother EP, released recently in January, is an interesting use of audio spectral analysis. The accompanying video uses these visuals to create an evolving terrain matching the sounds. I highly recommend checking it out.

The music itself is cool vibe of techno. Not too overwhelming with repetition and is generally balanced with use of space and equalization. The bass is controlled and the highs are open sounding. Almost like some of the songs on Selected Ambient Works 85-92.

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Mother EP artwork

While I personally favor the Mother EP, theres some great tunes on SoundCloud to check out. “Thinner” is a great start for some synth heavy boss battle techno. “PS4LM 2E – A” is sick bass tune with great use of glitching. There’s some great swing on “The Needle” and its clarity and arrangement overrides the repetition often found in techno music. The last two songs mentioned are both from the Preludium Nuit EP.

I like the sound and look Golden Leap has because its not overbearing like some DJs are. The music focuses more on the sounds and energy than some type of musical branding. The productions are very well done, done correctly in my view. Not overly compressed like most modern techno is and you can hear all the sounds clearly at all volume levels. This is a sign of good production in arrangement and mixing/mastering. The visuals are complimentary too, and show signs of development. Overall, I think Golden Leap has a really cool vibe going on and hope to see some sort of live production involving the visuals seen in the Mother EP video.

Essential Track: PS4LM 2E – A

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Review: Today’s Weather is ambient with a chance of surprise

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Album cover for Today’s Weather

It always seems weird when talking about ambient music. A lot of people I’ve spoken to find it to be boring, which to me is exactly what its suppose to be in some sense. Ambient music is background music and is a different type of listening experience. Some ambient music, like drone music, is a challenge of time. The repetitions and tones challenge the listener, rewarding them with visit to new mental states.

Ambient music can provide an enhanced experience within an environment and RedWater does this in Today’s Weather. Made mostly of soft tones and piano, the album is made of a single 20-minute piece which is a mixtape of material RedWater compiled in one night in 2016. Overall, it some of it makes me think what would have happened if Kid A era Radiohead collaborated with Nine Inch Nails on Ghosts I-IV.

For a 20-minute mixtape, it flows extremely well. Which needs to be done correctly with ambient music to be more effective. Some transitions are suddenly rough, while others are extremely smooth. This works though in creating the sense of uncertainty that accompanies the surprising movements within the piece. RedWater also makes use of reprising parts and rewarding listeners with familiarity.

Listening in 2017, during a snow storm here in New York, Today’s Weather is a warm embrace of soft tones with a few change ups to make sure you’re still awake. I recommend the album to people looking to hear ambient music as Brian Eno originally meant it to be. Or anyone in the Northeast United States looking for a soundtrack to the snowstorm we’re experience today, March 14, 2017.

The album is available on Bandcamp along with his next release due March 16th. There’s also nice visuals on his Instagram.

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Gurudutt Perichetla’s synthwave vibes on Nightfade

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Album artwork for Nightfade

This is a pretty cool album by Gurudutt Perichetla. Some of it reminds me of video game music. It’s got that 80s synth that makes me want to play something with a nostalgic touch. Maybe WaveRunner for Nintendo 64? Great production and use of space too. Nightfade is short album of lush tones.

Definitely give it a listen. It’s a mixed palate of 80s synth music and there’s some old sounds that actually sound refreshing. You can not be a fan of 80s synths, but still like the instrumentation and sound of Nightfade.

 

Gurudutt Perichetla has more music available on his Bandcamp page.

Essential Track: Drowning In The Shadows

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Review: Eric Taxxon’s Copy is sample based excellence

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Artwork by Everlest Design © 2016

This album will kick your ass with samples and rhythm.

Seriously.

Eric Taxxon’s Copy is a sound collage of samples arranged in one of the most interesting albums I’ve heard all year. Harmonically rich, rhythmically intelligent and euphonious. The artwork is visually pleasant as well. Eric Taxxon taps into what electronic music, glitching and sampling can do when given enough time (Copy was produced between January and August 2016) to truly be explored in thoughtful expression.

The first half of the album is where Copy really shines. “Jousp” begins with a familiar sample to warm up to the bombardment that is “Diary.” The song is a montage of samples, a literal diary of sounds. I tried counting the samples but lost count because I couldn’t tell if one sample was actually two at times. If you don’t appreciate the beat production in “Peep Stealer,” then just fuck off. Its not until “15627” you hear a familiar progression, but even then it’s refreshing in its presentation. “Bellstep” is the perfect ambient track while night driving. In fact, bellstep sounds like it could be it’s on genre…

The second half, starting with “ASMR,” is perhaps more challenging to the average listener. Sample placement, as well as rhythmic arrangement is more playful to those who can make it to the piano and horns in “Buapsalk.” The real trip begins with “032 – Music Art and Culture.” Heavy sound effects and editing for an avant-garde piece, complimented with demonic snarls and an explanation on the pretentiousness of contemporary art. It’s destructive drone at the end fades into the ambient drones of “One Iced World.” Leading the album to its climax.

Copy is an extraordinary work. Crafted in Audacity and self produced, Eric Taxxon provides listeners with an album that is musically intelligent and constantly grabbing attention that isn’t overwhelming. The production is no amateur work either, since it sounded good in all the sources (studio speakers, noise cancelling headphones and professional mixing headphones) I used to listen. This is truly a work to be proud of.

Essential Track: Bellstep

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Labels featuring Eric Taxxon

Trite Ice Records

CBR

Hello…..

So, thought I’d take this chance after doing a few posts to explain what this is suppose to be exactly….

Basically, an experimental music blog where we do reviews, share content, and anything cool related to experimental music. While its a work in progress, there are somethings I will try to do daily/weekly to keep things interesting keep new music flowing.

  1. Daily posts on Twitter with links to songs. Not reviews, but sharing music thats interesting.
  2. Weekly album reviews on here
  3. Sharing videos of music and links to interesting music technology that could be useful to experimental artists
  4. Whatever..

Here’s the Twitter

I’ll set up a Facebook page soon too. Maybe even a YouTube channel..

Hope everyone enjoys the blog and feel free to contact me with suggestions and/or music for reviewing/sharing.

Thanks