Who comes up with these sounds, I wonder?

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The second feature was a fairly normal sex flick, which meant it was even more boring than the first. It had lots of oral sex scenes, and every time they started doing fellatio or cunnilingus or sixty-nine the soundtrack would fill the theater with loud sucking or slurping sound effects. Listening to them, I felt strangely moved to think that I was living out my life on this odd planet of ours. “Who comes up with these sounds, I wonder,” I said to Midori. “I think they’re great!” she said. There was also a sound for a penis moving back and forth in a vagina. I had never realized that such sounds even existed. The man was into a lot of heavy breathing.

– Haruki Murakami – “Norwegian Wood”

Review in Avant Music News

Saturday, 7 February 2015
    Not Subliminal

was reviewed in Avant Music News.

Daniel Barbiero writes:

C. Reider’s Not Subliminal, a collection of five mostly real-time improvisations for multiple cassette decks, is an essay in post-acousmatic sound art carrying echoes of an age of mechanical reproduction past.

Reider’s sound sources are cast-off audio tapes he found in thrift stores as well as a video tape cut down to play on an audio cassette deck. One or more tapes were run and manipulated while a separate deck recorded the resulting sounds, in addition to any ambient sounds present. Underneath the hissing of tape and the humming of the decks’ playback machinery some of the sounds of this audio salon des refusés jump out and identify themselves: Various talking heads, bits of now-unpopular pop music, scrambled fragments of a theatrically delivered monologue on Scientology.

As with much of Reider’s work process is brought to the foreground, in this case as embodied in the sounds of the machines constructing the work—the squeal of spindles turning, the general rattle and buzz of moving parts. The artist’s hand is also audible, snapping cartridges onto sponsons, pressing buttons, picking up the next tape to go into the deck. In the end what isn’t subliminal here are the immediate, explicitly indicated sonic traces of the conditions and means of these improvisations’ production.

    Not Subliminal

can be downloaded for free from the Control Valve netlabel.

End of year list mentions

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

David Nemeth’s excellent roundup of his favorite netlabel releases of the year is worthy reading for anyone into free experimental music. Load your computer or iPod or whatever up, tons of good stuff here:
Interesting Albums of 2014

I was pleased to see a mention of Daniel Barbiero’s “After 30 x 12 (for C. Reider)” (to which I contributed electronic sound),

my first release of 2014 “Distressing“,

and also to Martin Rach’s excellent 2014 release on Vuzh Music, “Mongrel Drone Set“,

There’s also some crossover with my list of recommended netlabel releases from 2014, so there ya go.

Finally, somewhat stunningly, my album “the Plangents” was nominated for the Brainwashed end of year reader’s poll, and actually received enough votes to place on the list. I’m very pleasantly surprised about that. Dig it:
17th Annual Brainwashed 2014 Reader’s Poll

A little love for “Not Subliminal”

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

David Nemeth wrote a piece about “Not Subliminal” in the latest blog post from Acts of Silence:

I was very pleased when I heard that C. Reider had released a new album based on experimenting with cassettes and cassette recorders. Not Subliminal cries out to be released on a cassette, but Reider bucked that trend and went digital. Don’t get me wrong, if he released a cassette of this type, my PayPal account would be all over it.

The premise of the Not Subliminal, Reider writes, “involved recording some stuff onto one tape while playing back previously recorded stuff on the other tape players, and letting it all mix together out loud … recording everything onto the shitty little onboard microphones that these handheld tape recorders had.” Not Subliminal‘s dissonance and self-referential audio recordings point the work into the genre of manipulated field recordings as well as the experimental. Genre lines are usually quite gray with Reider.

Over the last year, Reider has been releasing a lot of older work which bordered on “real music” [see my review of Malaventura’s Malaventura04], so this reviewer was quite happy to read that Reider will be releasing more of this cassette work in the future.

“Not Subliminal” is still available for free download from Control Valve netlabel.

2014 – Recommended Netlabel Releases

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Two lists, as usual. One is the stuff I did in 2014, the second is the stuff I liked that was available in the worldwide netlabel underground during the year.

Netlabeling entails releasing music for free (or name your price), accordingly every single thing here can be downloaded for free (and usually streamed too). The distinguishing factor between the standard model of releasing music and the netlabel model is this open accessibility without the barrier of a price. As such, those self-releasing artists who release their music for free are a vital part of the netlabel world. The “label” part of the term “netlabel” is a misnomer in some respects. In fact, the term is problematic in some other ways that I’ll probably write about in the future. Much of this music is released under various Creative Commons licenses. Some of these CC licenses allow “derivs” (short for “derivatives”). What that means is that anyone can remix or sample the work to make new music, it’s allowed in the license. I like it when people choose to make their music accessible for remixing/sampling, so I’ve denoted whether the release allows or disallows derivs in green or red script.

I dig experimental / drone / noise / improv / abstract musics… and so you’ll find a lot of that here, but there’s also some stuff with melody & beat.

Previous year’s lists:
2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

By the way, this is all listed in alphabetical order based on the album titles, not #1, #2… etc.
Not counting my stuff, there’s 71 releases listed! Well over two entire days worth of listening!

So I also made a long DJ mix of many tracks from this list. Download it here (link) or stream with the widget below.

2014 Netlabel Mix by Vuzh on Mixcloud

Self-serving List of my own releases for 2014!

Daniel Barbiero – After 30 x 12 (for C. Reider)
Open Sound Group || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Composition for double bass and electronics.

C. Reider – Awkward Hugs
BumpFoot || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Minimal techno, sorta – okay not really.

C. Reider – Detritus 1&2
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Odds & ends, phone messages, field recordings, musical snippets.

C. Reider – Disrepair
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Spacious ambient guitar improvisation

C. Reider – Distressing
Eg0cide || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Exploring glitch & degradation from stretching, using “annoying” sounds as a base

C. Reider – I’d’ve
Vuzh Music || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Autumnal drones

C. Reider – Not Subliminal
Control Valve || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Gritty, lo-fi experimentations with cassettes

C. Reider – The Plangents
Vuzh Music || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Repetitive themes remembered from dreams.

Recommended Netlabel Releases of 2014

Mysterybear – Absence Sleeps Between The Buildings At Night
Stasisfield || Copyright No derivs!
     Electronic drones paired with field recordings. Works exceptionally well.

Jay-Dea Lopez – AC
Galaverna || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     A composition of field recordings made in domestic locations.

Félix Blume – A los cuatro vientos
Sonic Terrain || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Rich, full, captivating sounds. Based on field recordings. Simply amazing.

Eucci – apt.
Rive || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Six hour-long recordings of the interior ambience of an apartment, with all six hours layered to make a one hour album. The idea was to record when no one was in the apartment, but someone entered, unplanned.

Chris Lynn & Daniel Barbiero – Augmented Landscapes
Zeromoon || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Double bass plus field recordings.

Schemawound – A Young Person’s Guide To Time Travel
Self-Released || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Evocative electronic compositions based on the theme of time travel.

Tom Ellard – Barbara Channel 3
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Ellard describes it as “EZ Listening Tones and Numbers”. Seven musical environments presented as one long track.

Iris Garrelfs – Bedroom Symphonies
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Compositions based around heavily effected vocals.

Guy Birkin – Bits
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Algorithmically generative quasi-techno. Bips & boops.

Paints ov Anima – Brassica
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Muscley noise drone.

303 – Brownian Motion
Cota303 || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Sorta 90s chillout ambient techno but with glitchy noise drone influences. Not quite like microsound-techno.

Cinchel – Circle
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Music from an installation. The cover art is a set of instructions for setting up the installation. Each track is a long drone work meant to be a single channel in the multi-channel piece. I haven’t listened to this in its intended form, but it does work very nicely as a set of individual drone pieces.

Martin Rach – Concerto For Imaginary Ensemble and Electronics
Audiotalaia || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Traditional instruments paired with noise electronics & processing. The musical approach is sorta jazz meets new music, with harshness. I hope this approach is further explored.

John Kannenberg – Cordolium
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Processed field recordings intended to be audio poetry.

Disconnector – dark/sky
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Fine contemporary ambient, some of it reminiscent of Loscil. Very crisp & modern sounding (which almost puts me off, actually… but it’s too good to pass up.)

oier iruretagoiena – Ebaki
Chirria Sello || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Electronic insect sounds.

Lee Rosevere – Echo Peace
Happy Puppy Records || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Relaxing and groovy chill techno stuff, some krautrock influences detected, but mostly in the FSOL vein. It’s really well put together, and a testament to its quality is the fact that I just don’t spend much time with “this kind of music”, but I’ve been digging this a lot.

Christian Doil – Ein Stück Ostsee
Rain Netlabel || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Sort of a nautical sound to this ambient music… the first track sounds like 20 story tall windchimes sounding next to a foggy seaside. The second is more granular, but still with the occasional seagull passing by.

Spectrical – Emergent Forms
Con-V || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     An everchanging longform piece of dingedrone, occasionally light breaks through the clouds…

Lauren Redhead – entoptic landscape
Pan Y Rosas Discos || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Four performances of a composition with open notation. Each of them sounds totally different. A pleasant variety of experimental sounds inspired by a visual phenomenon.

Eucci – envi.
Rive || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Industrial ambient composition, akin to NWW / Hafler Trio.

Ryzykowna Wyprawa Batyskafem – ep
IdealState No Number Series || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Highly textured improv featuring processed sax, odds & ends and electronics.

Eren Silence – Eren III
Self-Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Drifting, yet highly dissonant dronescapes. Tense & relaxing all at the same time.

Colin Webster and Graham Dunning – Estigate
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A bunch of gritty improvs with Webster’s sax & Dunning’s unique modified turntable setup.

The Inner Shore – Extracts from an Unknown Science
Eg0cide || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Harmonics-laden drone with an alien sheen.

Stephanie (Lak) Germaine – Free #98B3E
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Tortured noise-synth circuitry and some plodding drum machine, and some muffled singing, and some plunky guitar, and some squelchy sounds, and… and … and…

D’Incise – Graphein
Audiotalaia || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Very understated piece using only the sounds of pencils on paper.

Chris Whitehead – Habitat for Metal Plants
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Compositions made from improvised performances made during location recordings. I think he recorded at least some of this at industrial locations, if I read his twitter feed correctly. I may be mistaken. The metal plants in question are supposed to be metallo-botanical.

Carlo Barbagallo – Haikus
Subterranean Tide || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Concise, indescribable little vignettes of abstracted sound. As with the rest of Subterranean Tide’s Haiku series, the first track is five minutes long, the second is seven, and the third is five minutes long again.

Jeff Kolar – Hallmark Cards Vol. 2: Happy Birthday To You
HAK Lo-Fi Record || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Birthday themed Hallmark cards with audio chips were circuit bent. Alternately annoying, fascinating and amusing.

Lucie Vitková – Ideas and Techniques
Pan Y Rosas Discos || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Improvisations for accordian, harmonica and voice. Intense restraint… quite beautiful.

Graham Dunning – Kiosk One
Self-Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Documentation of Dunning’s adventures in modified turntable. This has actually got some really funky grooves.

Francisco Meirino – Knowing More How Than Why
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A diverse presentation of many fascinating sounds. This is kinda pretty much unmissable, I love this record.

Radere – Koschei
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Colorado guitar-drone czar fills yr head with fuzz.

Norah Lorway – Kulør
Xylem || Mixed Licenses Some tracks allow derivs, others don’t
     Droning compositions with samples from numbers stations.

Eucci – Like the City, We’re Bound to Last
Rive || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A couple of wandering collages filled with all manner of interesting abstracted sounds from unknown sources.

Marlo Eggplant – Live
Museum of Microcassette Art || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Marlo getting down with ‘harpy’ the autoharp plus piezo & looper. Two live performances recorded to lo-fi microcassette.

‘kirchenkampf’ – Live April 2014
Self-Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Live spacey synth stuff. Nice to hear something like this from this longtime colleague.

Hexeneiche – Meditation Mishaps
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Loopy lo-fi sample-based thingie… at times jackhammery, other times almost relaxing.

PCRV – Mobile Research Music
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Very diverse album of noise made with various smartphone apps. Ranges from oddball collages to synth smear to all out noise assault.

Jakob Draminsky Højmark – Musique d’ameublement
Hazard Records || CC0 Derivs allowed!
     A live improv of processed bass clarinet.

Stuart Chalmers – Night Butterfly
Open Sound Group || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Sound work based on performances with tape. Loops and warbles. Possibly classify under hauntology?

Petej Amon – Noise Psychotic Episodes
Haze Netlabel || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Rough, distorted and noisy, somehow strangely hypnotizing.

Pedro Chambel – Nothing Ever Happens – Chance Music Number 1
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Glassy electronic tonescape.

Miquel Parera – NXA005PD-2014-01-05_03_32_07 / NXA005PD-2014-01-21_22_29_57
Petroglyph Music || Copyright No derivs!
     Algorithmically generated soundfields made in puredata & processing.

Ene – Paper Tigers
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A big hot mess of beats and things.

PBK & Brent Gutzeit – PBK BMG 1
PBKSound || Copyright No derivs!
     Noiseambient. I like it very much.

Half Evidence – Rain Spirits
Eg0cide || Multiple Licenses Some tracks allow derivs, others don’t
     Pretty together sounding group guitar improvs, percussive & scrapey.

Andrew Weathers – Raised High in Badwater Basin
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Look, I’m sorry… it’s hard to go wrong with something flavored like Terry Riley + krautrock. The second track is more Eno-ish than Riley-ish.

Phirnis & The Euphoric Hum – Red Light
Fwonk || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A document of a live performance with modular synth, guitar & laptop

Cinchel – Reign Water
Subterranean Tide || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Cinchel picks up a synth and lays down the jams. The oddbient jams.

Longstone – -リサイクル risaikuru
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Musical interpretations of photographs paired with location recordings. All inspired by the catastrophic 2011 earthquake, and tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. Given the subject material, this is not very dark music, it’s quite lovely. Also out on a 12″ vinyl record.

The Glittering Hand – Rising
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Very interesting & constantly transforming lo bit-rate drone music, it reminds me in some ways of the spooky ambient soundtrack to Doom64.

Malaventura – Salaam Shalom
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Remixes of some Arabic / Jewish / Andalusian music from vinyl. Hard to ignore the Muslimgauze-ish sound, but that’s no bad thing in my book.

rngmnn – Selected Dark Ambient Works (98-14)
1798 Records || Copyright No derivs!
     Pretty much like it says. A big release lotsa good stuff here.

Atilio Doreste – Shifting Boundaries
Audiotalaia || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Circuit bending + location recordings.

Restive – Small Tales for Urban Living
Mahorka || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     New work by one of my favorite underground abstract composers. This time he incorporates more urban field recordings into the mix.

Osvaldo Ciblis – soundart2014
Self Released || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     A massive, sprawling 15 release set of abstract electronic textures. I haven’t been able to listen to it all, as I’ve just discovered it thanks to a recommendation from Miquel Parera… but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t include it here, because what I’ve heard is fantastic.

offthesky – stationaryrace
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Another Colorado colleague, this is some super lush contemporary ambient.

Dr. NoiseM – Suicide City
Plataforma Recs || CC BY ND No derivs!
     Kinda electronic subway sounds, constantly passing by.

Jess Lemont – They Sound Like 80s Telephones and Squirrels & Cats with Little Laser Beams [Jess Lemont 10-28-14… and, also, the laser beams are fake, by the way]
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Blammo! Hyper-frenetic jams with drums & electronics and some other instruments. Kinda hard to really describe it, but it’s good.

Cinchel – The Timing Was Right For A Walk In the Woods (Take 2)
The Avocado Tapes || Copyright No derivs!
     Yummy live cincheltronic guitar performance.

Gregg Skloff – This Time The Ride Belongs To Us
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Ambient in the good way.

‘kirchenkampf’ – transmissions
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     This is some pretty minimal and dark stuff from this artist, love it. Hissing synth geysers.

Chimess – Tujiko Noriko
BumpFoot || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A diverse collection of not-quite ambient music, odd but pretty calm.

Jeph Jerman / Tony Whitehead – Underwater
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Improvisations with objects underwater. The master tape was submerged in a creek for a time.

Yann Leguay – Unstatic
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Based on induction coil recordings of hard drives.

The Inner Shore – Waves on a Pure Surface
Textural Records || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Glistening, pinging drones.

PBK – Winterscrubbed
Museum of Microcassette Art || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Lo-fi noise from this master.

Tahnzz – XILA
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     New Mexico noise. Abrasive and laid-back. I have to mention the cover art, because I like it, so…
ETA: OOOPS. I just noticed that this actually came out in 2013, but I’m leaving it on this list anyway, ’cause that’s how I roll.

Martin Rach – Zitherphonics
SuRRism Phonoethics || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Martin plays his zither with a little electronic fan.

Not Subliminal

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

I have a new release of new music!

A lot of what I released this year was unreleased stuff from around a decade ago. This is brand new work, and it stands in stark contrast to the earlier work, in some ways.

“Not Subliminal” has just been released on the Control Valve netlabel. There is no direct link to the album, due to the way the netlabel is structured. You need to visit http://controlvalve.net and click the photo to get to the download page.

The netlabel’s succinct description of the work is “cassette experiments”. Pretty accurate.

I experimented a lot with cassette players & cassettes this Summer. Further releases will document the full extent of the results of these experiments. This particular set of recordings is primarily improvisations with multiple handheld tape recorders and players. I scavenged a bunch of these and a bunch of tapes from thrift stores this Summer. Much of the process involved recording some stuff onto one tape while playing back previously recorded stuff on the other tape players, and letting it all mix together out loud… recording everything onto the shitty little onboard microphones that these handheld tape recorders had. The sounds I recorded mingled together with environmental sounds and got grittier and more lo-fi as continually overdubbed. Some results were extremely distorted, others just muffled and gritty.

One exception to the method used on most of this album is “Gala Video ’94”. In that track, I took a found video cassette and cut strips out of the tape down to 1/8″ so that they could play on a standard cassette player. You can hear the video data as audio in this track, and on occasion the audio soundtrack cuts in. When I sliced the video tape I tried to do it in a curving way so that different areas of the 1/2″ wide video tape would be exposed to the 1/8″ player head as the tape advanced. This explains the changing nature of the track as it progresses.

So, a lot of what I released this year might be described as “pretty”, or “approachable”… this release can’t really be described that way, but I think it’s really interesting to listen to. I hope you will too.

Download the album at:

The work is released under a CC BY NC SA license (the netlabel does not list a license).

C. Reider – Awkward Hugs

Sunday, 21 September 2014

This new release by C. Reider ends a string of releases of older material that had been held back unreleased. This material was recorded in 2007. This is some of my most approachable, least “difficult” work.

“This is some work I did in 2007, directly after ending my work with the drone collective Drone Forest. I wanted to do some music that fell far outside of that group’s constraints (no beat, no melody). This music reflects an interest in minimal techno that I had at the time. The exploration of beat-oriented material during this time eventually led to the series of releases I called The Electret Quintet, which merged the accessible material presented here with a more experimental approach.”

This release is free to download from the excellent Bumpfoot netlabel based in Japan.

Release page:

Encouraging Feedback on Audio Works

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Last week, I participated in a really interesting conversation with a number of friends & strangers on Twitter. The topics include feedback, the idea of value in free work, and the participatory role of the audience in the act of listening. A few very good suggestions came up that warrant thought by anyone interested in artist feedback.
This conversation is particularly notable because it is a positive exchange between the netlabel and the podfic communities. I’ve long felt that these two communities have a lot of similar goals and concerns, and have potential for creatively productive crossover.

Big thanks to @parakapodfic for getting this conversation up on Storify!

Process Music in Netlabels

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Daniel Barbiero has written an article in Italian art music blog Percorsi Musicali titled Systems Aesthetics in Contemporary Sound Art: Two Netlabels.

It describes my reduction process, as well as discussing other colleagues who have released on the Vuzh Music label, such as Caroline Park, Miquel Parera and Thomas Park.

I encourage you to read it:

Daniel Barbiero – After 30 x 12 (for C. Reider)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Daniel Barbiero has a new album out for free download on the Open Sound Group netlabel run by Graham Dunning.

I played on it, but Daniel also based the piece on a recording of an improvised performance I gave in October, 2012. I had uploaded the recording to SoundCloud (it is not there any longer), that’s where Daniel heard it. He wrote an event score for “individual gestures” for double bass “from a closed vocabulary of actions to be taken in relation to the sound material”. (Score available for download here: http://uploaddownloadperform.net/DanielBarbiero/After30X12ForC)

(detail of part of the score)

After he’d recorded his performance of the composition, he asked me to contribute a layer of electronics. In consideration of the importance Daniel places on the non-action / quiet engagement in his compositions I naturally drifted toward my method of reduction, a process which frequently produces great swathes of silence followed by tiny scribbles of sound. As I have described here: http://www.vuzhmusic.com/blog/2012/07/03/reduction/, the reduction process is essentially a noise reduction filter, sort of an antimatter cousin of convolution, wherein a sound is chosen to filter another. I used a recording of Daniel’s performance as the filter and the recording of my improvised performance on October 30, 2012 as the target.

Listen to the finished work, which is free to stream or download at the following web address:


  • News and info about Vuzh Music artists and friends, written by C. Reider
  • Base

  • Elsewhere

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent Tweets

    Follow Me on Twitter

    Powered by Twitter Tools