Keep Min 2 Dot, "Wounded Golden Section"

wgs

A quick review of a Bandcamp LP, Wounded Golden Section by Keep Min 2 Dot.

The instrumentation is traditional but varied -- guitar, keyboard, reeds, bass, drums -- but doesn't follow roles assigned to the typical jazz combo.

WGS shares affinities with free jazz or RIO but exists in an ambiguous state of "might be studio/might be live performance." It doesn't sound overtracked and it's not evident if "the computer" or DAWs were employed at all. It feels very organic and live-improvisational.

Structure-wise, it's "full" in the sense of sonically and compositionally rich. Each song is a mesh or skein of granular moments -- like atoms -- consisting of a cluster of instruments, tunes, or rhythms.

Each atom has its own mood and set of musical associations, and feels as if it could be spun off into its own composition.

The overall mesh of the tune works like a complex abstract painting, with threads that could be pulled or followed.

All that said, it is not dense, sonic bombardment a la noise music but an "open weave" with overlapping moments flowing from one to the next.

The performances on all instruments are good-to-excellent, almost like samples of "great licks" since the quality or excellence is not in the service of any kind of traditional song structure or development.

In other words, enjoy that guitar chop because you probably won't be hearing it again. On to the next chop! (In a good way.)

cassette review: Demonstration Synthesis, DS4

Demonstration Synthesis, aka Daniel Leznoff [Discogs], might hold a record for largest number of releases on different netlabels. In three years he put out 25 releases on 19 labels! (DS17 seems to have gone missing; depending on where that was recorded, the total might be 20 labels -- so far.)
The name "Demonstration Synthesis" is both evocative and understated; possibly it's contributed to the mobility and adaptability of the brand. Regardless of what type of music a label is offering -- new age, ambient, leftfield/techno -- which one doesn't want at least one "demonstration record" in its catalog? The release DS4 sticks closest to that ambiguous spirit, perhaps, with a low-key assortment of minimal sounds akin to scales and test-tones, emphasizing synth timbres or what Eno called "tints" over melody or song construction. This is not to say the work isn't musical -- it is, and like most DS offerings has a slightly wistful and melancholy cast. Rather, the emphasis is on sounds over songs. The structure is there, but hard to pin down.

two brandenburgs (tape vs vinyl)

I have two versions of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, both I Musici performances. The tape, released sometime in the '80s or '90s, consists of a 1965 recording that was digitally remastered and then transferred to audiocassette, on the Philips label.
The vinyl features a later performance, from the mid-'80s, also by I Musici (including some but not all of the same musicians), also on Philips, also digitally mastered, before being pressed on vinyl.
Below are mp3 rips of the same section from the fourth movement, a passage for brass and woodwinds.

I much prefer the tape version! It's punchier and quirkier. The tempo is slightly faster, and the bassoon part (I assume it's a bassoon, might be oboe) is more prominent and percussive. The vinyl version emphasizes the horns over the reeds and feels more slurry and mushy, although still very professionally played.

Tape version, 1965 performance [2.5 MB .mp3]

Vinyl version, 1985 performance [2.6 MB .mp3]

It's tempting to say the 1965 performance is better than the 1985 performance, as in more spirited and distinctively rhythmic. It's hard to say, though, when there are so many electronic aspects to the comparison (recording, mastering, pressing, media type). Simple microphone placement can drastically change classical music. At the mastering stage, certain frequencies can be accentuated or diminished. The tape version has more hiss and the higher frequencies may be adding a "brighter" sound.

songs for the day

Macrina Rigling, "AtmosBassMidTreb00" (game music from Aunt Sandy Jumps the Fire) [soundcloud]

Eerie music for ritualistic flame-jumping.

Barry Beats, "C is for Charlie" [bandcamp]

In a related YT, Barry explains how he made the song by extracting the drum groove from one vinyl release and the piano chords from another. The song wouldn't work without his patient surgery on the MIDI notes and polish at the production stage.