Monday, October 05, 2009


Some places on Earth seem to be musical loci: Kingston, Bamako, the Lower East Side. I just realized how much of the most interesting music I have been listening to lately comes from Cologne. Sonig and Nonplace are two great Kölner labels.

Nonplace in particular seems to have picked up where Can and Cluster left off, continuing to base the music in live instrumentation, but noodling over it fairly thoroughly on the computer afterwards.

For example, The new album from the Embassadors sounds absolutely smokin'. The individual musicians recorded their tracks in different cities over a couple of years, and it was all assembled in the Nonplace studio.

Way more interesting than most purely electronic music, this is using the computer as a bricoleur to assist in the assembly of ever-denser human sound-artifacts.

I'm also reminded of something Brian Eno said he was aiming for when he was assembling Nerve Net. He said he was looking to create music that sounded like it was created by "African robots."

Also regarding the intersection of the robotic and the human in music, David Byrne wrote some amusing liner notes to go with his curation of partly-Kölner music a while back.

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