Dead Cities?

I once had to do an assignment which involved taking found sound and processing it to make a sort of art music piece - we were looking at musique concréte and the likes, tape-loops, glitches etc. I went down the overly ambitious, unneccesarily pretentious route of trying to write a semi-serialist piece recorded entirely from stretched sine waves with frequencies caluculated by the relative distances from the sun of the planets of the solar system.

It sounded fairly horrendous, which was a good start, but was, as I said, overly ambitious and doomed to failure. The piece was never finished. What I should have done, of course, was to take a leaf out of the artists involved in The Noise & The City, an album released entirely for free on the French Autres Directions In Music label.

If you want something fancy to show off to your electronica-head friends, then this is the place. The premise is as follows.

We suggested musicians from all over the world to revisit their daily
environment (urban and sound) : record sounds inside their city, then reprocess
the material as much as they like (without adding any kind of rhythm or music),
in order to compose a personal piece that should also remind of their original
It's an urban thing then: take a DAT machine out and about in your town, record some sound and mix it up. What makes this a great album is that there's some great talent on display here: from the UK Stendec, RandomNumber and the Remote Viewer; ADIM's own Depth Affect and Melodium; Robokoneko (Australia), Diego Morales (Chile), E*Rock (Portland); from all over the world including Tallin, Estonia (Galaktlan), Daqing, China (Wang Changcun) and Lima, Peru (Christian Galarretta).

As an album, it's a mishmash, in some respects: some tracks work better than others. But when they do work it's a great and fascinating insight into a creative process, and will open your ears up to different experiences.
The tracks I've chosen are from London duo Stendec (not to be confused with the Swiss electro guru Stendeck), Sydney's Robokoneko, and a lush but difficult track from Cincinnati's Joshua Treble. These are just a representative selection of the 30 songs available.

Stendec - Office To Studio
Robokoneko - Brume
Joshua Treble - We Put The Skin In Skincinnati

The album is free to download from Autres Directions In Music. If you like this, you might also be interested in Fallt Publishing's Invisible Cities - originally conceived as a gallery/art exhibition soundtrack, this stands alone as some interesting sound manipulation. The bonus track here is Janek Schaefer's London, an edited voyage of a parcel through the post office system. A bit more worthy (read, difficult and not really a 'listener', as such), but still worth a gander.

Janek Schaefer - London

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