Guy Birkin: SARS-CoV-2_LR757995_2b

Guy Birkin: SARS-CoV-2_LR757995_2b

Guy Birkin: SARS-CoV-2_LR757995_2b

“Data sonification of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genome sequence (Hunter & Wei, 2020)…The genome data was converted to MIDI files using a program written in Mathematica. The MIDI files were split into separate tracks for each of the 4 amino acid bases (adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine). These were edited in Reaper and played with Razor synth. Effects include SoftTube Saturation Knob, TDR VOS SlickEQ and Valhalla Super Massive.”

Seriously, this is maybe the single most nerdy album description I’ve ever read.

Definitely the only album I’ve ever seen which uses citations in the album description.

It’s not horrible to listen to, but it is a tad repetitious. I guess, what you would expect from reading out a gene sequence. And whether or not you enjoy Birkin’s chosen voicings for the “amino acid bases” is going to depend on your tolerance for fast “bleep bloops”.

I feel it is more of an interesting idea, than an interesting album.

An album that was more of an interesting project for Birkin to design and execute than for the audience to listen to.

“released September 4, 2020”

#SuperPang #SP15 #GuyBirkin

Norbert Möslang: piano_boccia

Norbert Möslang: piano_boccia

Of the various albums on Superpang, this was one which caught my eye very early on due to the name “Norbert Möslang”.

Norbert Möslang is a Swiss musician who I first ran across on an album called “Asbestos Shake”, which his band Voice Crack did in collaboration with noise jazz group Borbetomagus.

In Voice Crack, Norbert Möslang, (and his partner in the band Andy Guhl,) played what they called, “cracked everyday electronics,” an expression which caught my imagination at the time. I hoped they played toys, toasters, microwaves, or home made who knows what.

But the sounds that came out of my speakers when I played the album “Asbestos Shake” were so otherworldly that I had no idea what sounds were coming from “cracked everyday electronics” and what sounds were coming from the overdriven instruments of Borbetomagus.

Similarly, on this album, I have no real idea what the sources for the sounds contained herein.

Some sources seem synthesized, some seem vaguely acoustic.

Overall, the feel of the album is quasi-cinematic, taking full advantage of the sound stage. Each track builds a unique sonic world that you travel through and observe in your minds eye. Some are a bit menacing, clanking metal and church bell like sounds tolling at midnight. Some are peaceful and drone-ish, floating through space, perhaps above Kirby-esque giant robots or worlds. There are never really any melodies or traditional musical elements, but at the same time some pieces build considerable beauty out of their unconventional parts.

“Sourcematerial recorded 2013 at Zackstudio St.Gallen. Processed and mastered 2020 at Dampfküche by Norbert Möslang”

#SuperPang #SP14 #NorbertMoslang #NorbertMöslang #Music #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

New Tendencies: Force Reset

Force Reset Album Cover
Force Reset Album Cover

New Tendencies: Force Reset

The first 4 songs of this album are named A, AA, AAA, and AAAA. The next 4 are named B, BB, BBB, and BBBB.

All 8 songs are exactly 3 minutes and 42 seconds long.

New Tendencies is the nom de guerre for Matt Nish-Lapidus, often “emenel” on various social medias.

Nish-Lapidus describes themselves as, “an artist and musician based in Toronto/Tkaronto. I work in and around computation, thinking about its histories, politics, culture, and computation-as-material. My main efforts right now are around computational poetics, expanded sculpture, and net art. I believe computers could be something different in the world, and try to embody that in my work and life…I make music mainly as New Tendencies, but sometimes under other names and used to play in a number of punk/post-punk bands in addition to my more experimental/electronic/computer music and sound art.”

The music is primarily rhythmic. For the pieces, in general, there are two similar but independent rhythmic motifs going on in the far right and left channels. There is a pulse in the middle. The various “A” and “B” iterations with the same number of letters seem to start with similar parameters, i.e. “A” is similar to “B” and “AA” is similar to “BB”. The AAA and BBB pieces have the most some panning pitch variation action along with the rhythmic pulsations. The sound sources, if they are other than algorithmic, sound a bit like typewriters or dragging a guitar pick across guitar strings.

Really, I can’t describe it any better than he does, “Decomposing rhythm skitters across time.”

In any case, somehow it does manage to sustain interest, despite the fact that each piece seems to be the musical equivalent of several wind up toys released simultaneously.

If I had to pick a favorite track, it would be “BBB”.

“DO NOT POWER DOWN
Recorded in Toronto by Matt Nish-Lapidus, June 2020″

#SuperPang #SP13 #ForceReset

Joachim Nordwall: New Music For Inner Peace & Outer Disturbance

Joachim Nordwall: New Music For Inner Peace & Outer Disturbance

I didn’t find this one particularly compelling. Repetitive and not particularly interesting voice loops playing over repetitive and not particularly interesting music loops.

For being recorded in 2020, it sounds like something from the 1980s.

“Recorded at Brännö Sound Experiment, July 2020.
1 & 3 contains voice samples from Carl Abrahamsson’s ‘Radio Mega Golem, Episode 1’.”

#SuperPang #SP12 #JoachimNordwall

2021 Moon Bear

Moon Bear "white" Puerh
Moon Bear “white” Puerh

2021 Moon Bear Yunnan raw puerh, “white” varietal, from White2Tea.

Moon Bear is a bit of an oddity. To go back a bit, Puerh tea is traditionally made from a tea (Camellia sinensis) varietal called ‘assamica’. There are also specific processing steps which are traditionally used to make Puerh tea.

Moon Bear is not made from the ‘assamica’ tea varietal, it is made from another varietal which the “locals” and farmers call ‘white’ (not to be confused with “white tea”, which refers primarily to a processing style). Beyond the growers calling it ‘white’, the seller of the tea is not sure exactly what the varietal of Moon Bear is, (though I suspect it is something close to Camellia sinensis var taliensis).

On the other hand, Moon Bear IS processed with the same steps used to make Puerh tea. I.e. Brief rest, kill green, roll, dry.

And, for the record, Moon Bear IS made from a pretty bud heavy, (1 bud, 1 leaf,) early spring pick, while puerh is typically a bit later spring and 1 bud, 2 leaf.

The flavor is much closer to Raw Puerh tea than tea processed as White Tea, but a bit on the light side, however with a fair kick of bitterness in the aftertaste.

The feel/energy is strong and definitely closer to the head/body punch of puerh than white tea.

The producer describes Moon Bear as, “another of those teas that doesn’t fit very neatly in any of the big boxes,” which seems about right.

#ShengPuerh #RawPuerh #Puerh #Tea #Cha

2021 Tong Xin She Yancha Tasting Flight

2021 Premium Yancha Tasting Flight

This tasting flight includes:
1. Gao Cong ShuiXian (高枞水仙)
2. Tiger Whistling Rock Rou Gui(虎啸岩肉桂)
3. Peach Fragrance Da Hong Pao(桃香大红袍)
4. Huang Jin Gui(黄金桂)
5. Golden Water Turtle (Shui Jin Gui)/水金龟
6. Iron Arhat (Tie Luo Han)/铁罗汉
7. Huang Guan Yin/黄观音
8. Heaven’s Waist (Ban Tian Yao)/半天腰
9. Yue Ming Xiang (悦茗香)
10. Shui Lian Dong Qi Lan (水帘洞奇兰)
11. Yellow rose (Huang Mei Gui)/黄玫瑰
12. Bai Rui Xiang /百瑞香

I’m not going to do detailed writeups of each tea this year, but will say that it appears 2021 was a very good year for rock oolong from Tong Xin She Teahouse, especially the traditional varietals in the selection. Here’s hoping that 2022 is just as spectacular!

Parsa: Musique Grossière

Parsa: Musique Grossière

According to google translate, “Musique Grossière,” translates to, “Coarse Music”.

I wouldn’t disagree with that, but more than “coarse” this is a disorienting recording.

Seemingly unconnected electronic sounds, noises, and manipulated recordings roll back and forth across the audio stage. Sequential noises seldom settle into any groove or steady tempo.

If there is an organizing principle, it is along the lines of sound and reaction, as in speech, than some more “musical” principle, like theme and variation or harmony. The track “PhysMod Silverware” almost settles into a groove over the course of its brief 3:32 run time.

I guess I would describe it primarily as a percussion recording, albeit percussive sounds made with an extremely diverse sample palette.

The song titles are pretty amusing and, if disorienting, the recording is certainly not boring.

“Recorded by Parsa in Tehran, July 2020”

#SuperPang #SP10 #Parsa

Persimmon Pudding


Persimmon Pudding

Every year we buy Persimmons from the Nuns at the Mission San Jose in Fremont, and every year I make this persimmon pudding from them. I love persimmons, and this is one of my absolute favorite desserts. It used to be up on the Robert Mondavi website, but now appears to have disappeared due to reorganization, so I will put it up here for posterity.

Steamed Persimmon Pudding

Ingredients:
3 very ripe, soft Hachiya Persimmons (about 1 pound) stemmed
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
In blender or food processor, puree persimmons (with skins); set aside. (Hint: Before putting persimmons in blender, slice roughly and check for seeds.) In large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in egg to blend thoroughly. Into another bowl, sift the dry ingredients and mix into butter mixture alternately with milk in three additions. Mix in persimmon puree and vanilla to blend thoroughly. Generously butter a 1-quart mold. Pour batter into mold and cover tightly with a buttered lid or aluminum foil. Place a rack in a pot taller than the mold. Place the mold on rack and add enough boiling water to come halfway up side of mold. Cover the pot with a lid or aluminum foil.
Steam pudding over medium heat on the top of the stove or in a preheated 325-degree oven 1 1/2 hours, checking frequently and adding boiling water to maintain correct level. Remove mold from pot to cooling rack. Remove lid; set aside mold until lukewarm. Unmold onto plate and serve warm or at room temperature.

Ben Vida: The Untitled

Ben Vida: The Untitled

In general, I listen to SuperPang albums on the way home from band practice. But, I’ve been stuck on The Untitled for about a month now. The first time I listened, I got so absorbed, I took a wrong turn and almost ended up in Berkeley.

It’s an unusual record, Vida calls it “Musique concrète”, but it sounds like there are some instruments and computers involved. I would call it spooky, haunting, atmospheric, and far more compelling than it’s relative brevity would lead you to believe possible.

“Musique concrète recorded in Shady, New York, Summer 2020.
Computer, Hardware, Mixing Console.”

#SuperPang #SP09 #BenVida

giovanni di domenico: Gelotophilia / Katagelasticism

giovanni di domenico: Gelotophilia / Katagelasticism


Gelotophilia is joy in being laughed at. Katagelasticism is joy at laughing at others, often at their own expense. (I had to look them up.)

Gelotophilia is piano with electronics, with the piano dominating and the electronics fading in and out in the background. Katagelasticism is electronics with piano, with the electronics more to the fore.

The piano playing is vaguely “classical” in style, rolling sheets of consonant chords. The electronics are more drone-ey. I can’t tell from listening if the electronics in either piece are processing the piano or independent, though the two seem to share some tonal centers. Overall an entirely pleasant recording to listen to, engaging yet not demanding.

“Recorded in Elektronmusikstudion EMS, Stockholm and Studio W, Brussels, 2015/2020”

#SuperPang #SP08 #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack