Summertime is bringing a host of great new music to my inbox and mailbox. Here are just a few selections for this Tuesday morning. What binds them all together is a desire for truly personal expression and satisfaction, which often manifests itself as an individualized sound.
Chris Randall is best known as the voice behind cult favorite plug-in developer Audio Damage, and the opinionated, sometimes loud-mouthed pundit of his blog Analog Industries. But he’s a musician first. As better-known figures debate the merits of copyright and Creative Commons without ever having recorded a note, Chris has quietly released a lot of his own music under CC licenses — and continued to collect revenue.
Last week, he expressed his love for electronic sounds in a new EP under his Micronaut moniker, entitled Resistor. Despite his software business, it’s a largely hardware-based project. But it’s not a retro-tinged analog love note; the sonic palette is very much his own, and balances the digital and clean with the analog and grungy. I like what he says about it: “…whether you like the music or not is utterly unimportant to me. I finally feel … that I’m finding a voice for the Micronaut project that matches my internal music.” That seems as good a goal as any.
Read about the process and how he releases his work on his blog, natch:
And check out the album below, via Bandcamp. If you like it, you can name your price for high-quality formats, starting at one buck.
At a different end of the spectrum, Phil Archer has a short, free EP consisting of “live recordings of me playing acoustic guitar along with a circuit-bent yamaha pss 280.” It’s an organic-sounding, meditative record that’s far more tranquil than what you might assume when you hear the words “circuit bending,” and definitely a change of pace. Phil describes his goals for the sound as “sparse” and “folky.”
It’s completely free, even in lossless formats, again available on Bandcamp.
Finally, The New York Times Magazine has a terrific, if brief, interview with one-man electronic act Caribou (Dan Snaith), whose new album “Swim” is the sleeper hit of the summer.
The Times plays up the “math” angle, because of Snaith’s PhD in math. But he downplays this very take:
What’s interesting are the more emotive, unpredictable elements of music. Mathematics eventually become abstract and creative too, but it’s very mysterious as to why we like certain kinds of music.
Check out the full story for ideas on influences and process, as well as a free download of the track “Odessa.” (Another track below, via YouTube, also via the NYT.)