AMN Reviews: Mike Barber – Duets for Saw and Deviated Septum (2019; Bandcamp)

This is a rather descriptive title of the compositional process rather than the resulting sound. Mike Barber recorded a hand saw cutting wood as well as his own snoring. From these sources, he looped, layered, and manipulated the recordings into three 20-minute pieces. The outcome is a distorted ambient environment that could serve as a soundtrack for a horror or science fiction movie.

Duet for Saw and Deviated Septum No.1 builds up slowly with sounds that resemble a machine or factory operating in the background. Shaped white noise and crackling elements drift in and out of the foreground along with prickly scrapings. Duet for Saw and Deviated Septum No.2 provides overlapping waves of muted grinding and distortion, with foreground aspects moving between speaker channels. This mix boils and folds upon itself for some time before featuring more immediate and indeterminate distortion processing. Duet for Saw and Deviated Septum No.3 is perhaps the most interesting piece, with undulating surges and gentler portions that juxtapose higher frequencies with the low-end rumblings.

The extent to which the overall sound of this recording departs from its source material is quite remarkable. While there are a few points where the listener can identify sawing and snoring, without the liner notes indicating such it would be been nearly impossible to discern. None of these recordings are overpowering – instead, in true ambient form, their influence is on both the subconscious and the conscious.

AMN Picks of the Week: James Brandon Lewis / Matt Mitchell / Carter, Mihas, Nejando & Ughi / Spectrum Orchestrum

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

James Brandon Lewis – An UnRuly Manifesto (2019)
Matt Mitchell – Phalanx Ambassadors (2019)
Carter / Mihas / Nejando / Ughi – Radical Invisibility (2019)
Spectrum Orchestrum – It’s About Time (2018)

Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter

Source: Downtown Music Gallery.

The Downtown Music Gallery 28th Anniversary Celebrations begins on May 1st!
Every In-store in May Helps Celebrate the Spirit of Creative Music Performed Live.

Sunday, June 9th:
Voice / Bass Guitar / Soprano Sax / Percussion!

Monday, June 10th:
6pm: WILLIAM PARKER – Book Celebration!

Sunday, June 16th: Vision Festival (June 12-16th)
No In-store on this night, check out the Vision Festival!

Sunday, June 23rd:
6pm: TOMCHESS / ZACH SWANSON – Oud, Ney & Morsing / ContraBass!
7pm: TERRENCE McMANUS – Solo Guitar!

Desert Magic at the Santa Monica Public Library, July 10

Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

On Wednesday July 10, 2019, at 7:30 pm, the Soundwaves new music series at the Santa Monica Public Library welcomes the experimental pop/rock group Desert Magic to the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium of the Main Library at 601 Santa Monica Blvd. for set of music from their albums “In the Universe” and “A Round the Sun.”

Desert Magic is led by singer/guitarist Alex Wand, who is currently an Artist in Residence at the Camera Obscura ArtsLab on Ocean Avenue. A member of Three Thirds, the Grammy-winning ensemble Partch, and other groups, Wand also explores using tidal, astronomical, and other natural science data as musical material.

Soundwaves is a concert series emphasizing artists who appear on the DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music) streaming service. The Santa Monica Public Library is the first public library to offer this service to its cardholders. Listings of past and upcoming Soundwaves shows as well as sound and video recordings are at

Admission is free and all are welcome. Seating is limited and on a first-arrival basis. The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For other disabled services, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606 at least one week prior to event. For more information, visit or contact the Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600.