Percussa micro super signal processor

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Squarepusher plays Rome in April of last year. Photo (CC-BY-ND) funkoolow.

To take us into the weekend, here are some favorite online music releases this week to download, stream, and enjoy. Be sure to click over to the site if you’re on RSS for the included players if they’re not appearing.

The big buzz this week was the surprise emergence of Squarepusher on a project with Ed Banger Records – a surprise because Squarepusher has long been synonymous with Warp. I’ll leave the music blogs to concern themselves with the label. (Resident Advisor goes understated, whereas exclaim.ca offers, snarkily, “Either Ed Banger Records has moved on from the French touch explosion of 2007 or IDM legend Squarepusher has dropped the wacky time signatures for some four-on-the-floor filter-house.”)

Mostly, Squarepusher fans have been having a good time with a funky, fun track and remix that’s free on Soundcloud (the one “label” we all find ourselves on these days):
Squarepusher – Cryptic Motion Edits by Hypetrak

In the ambient realm, I’ve been enjoying the music of aptly-named artist Ambienteer, whom we visited in June. There’s a new, pay-what-you-will EP up on Bandcamp if you want more:

<a href="http://ambienteer.bandcamp.com/track/bright-collection-of-strange-victories">bright collection of strange victories by ambienteer</a>

Ambienteer: Bright Collection of Strange Victories

Ghostly artist Shigeto has an absolutely gorgeous track out this week, mixing the work of vocalist/harpist Ana Caravelle. It’s unmistakably a Shigeto track, but with lots of, well, vocal and harp-y goodness. (If you missed it last month, be sure to check out Shigeto’s free EP from last month.) XLR8R has a nice write-up of the release.
Ana Caravelle – Blackcanyon ( Shigeto’s as i inhale mix ) by SHIGETO

For something more experimental, Makunouchi Bento’s SwimĂ© is a delightful, fanciful soundscape that rattles its way through musical fragments, noises, and cinematic landscapes, sometimes recalling John Cage (particularly when the piano dances over a repeated, asymmetrical motive of some sort). I very much like that it’s free, not so much as a judgment on the commercial potential of the record (which I’ll admit is relatively limited), but because it allows you to encounter the music freely. Like wandering the free day at the art gallery, it may open you up to experience the work. And it’s worth putting on your best cans and listening to a higher-quality format, to explore this musical imaginarium.

<a href="http://makunouchibento.bandcamp.com/album/swim">Rain Dragon, Hidden Genius by Makunouchi Bento</a>

If it’s a mix you’re looking for, German artist Martin Juhls aka krill.minima (on Kompakt, among many others) has a rich, extended “ambient dub” mix up on Mixcloud this week.

By the way, here’s one tool to add to the music releases. If you’re using Google Chrome or the open source variant Chromium, ExtensionFM is a brilliant extension that automatically pulls streaming and download links from pages you’re surfing, then allows you to navigate them as if they were in your local library. I have to admit, I was fairly resistant to the idea at first – until I actually tried it, that is. ExtensionFM is polished, lightweight, and elegant, and far from distracting from focused music listening, I found that the ability to assemble tracks and play them in a complete session has helped me to listen more closely to tracks available online. Anyone who’s ever fiddled with the ill-fated, chronically-unstable, and now discontinued-for-Linux application Songbird will recognize the concept. ExtensionFM is what Songbird should have been, period.

http://www.extension.fm/

It’s been particularly nice when navigating SoundCloud. My new workflow – assemble the stuff I want to hear, spend extended breaks listening to tracks, as well as “browsing” music as you would on the radio by loading tracks in the background while working in the browser, then go out and buy or download the best stuff to add to my permanent library. (These days, that means Banshee for me.)

I was never this impressed with similar offerings on Firefox, but if you have a favorite tool, let us know.

Also, turns out these guys are here in downtown Manhattan, so, ExtensionFM guys, if you’re reading, say hello.