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Free Sounds for Ableton Live by Jason Grier on Ableton

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The demonstration disc album is obviously Jason Grier’s new album; In a similar way, it is a collection of free samples and generative musical instruments that Grier has dedicated in the last 4 years to cut, encode and record in recordings acoustic and electronic devices, field recordings, found voices and regrettable data.

Sounds range from lushly psychoacoustic sounds – hundreds of guitar harmonics woven together into gossamer threads, field recordings of Berlin’s raucous New Year’s Eve fireworks – to sounds which are usually left unheard, for example, outtakes, gaffes, and editing remnants preserved as artifacts of artistic labor, as well as rips of Facebook video feeds of mass protests following the US election.

Musically, Demonstration Disc furthers the approach taken on Grier’s 2013 album Unbekannte, described as “a series of mysterious short films” by Julia Holter – who makes a cameo appearance on Demonstration Disc, whistling a sliced-up “Au Clair de la Lune”.

Unlike Unbekannte, which was largely hand-edited, Grier’s sound-monoliths on Demonstration Disc are machine-tooled by Grier’s often unpredictable “generative playback engine”, a sample-dot sprayer which he jokingly dubbed “Seurat MIDI” in reference to the pointillist painter Georges Seurat.

Issues of labor theory, social practice, and sonic activism underly an abstract surface worked and re-worked toward a hallucinatory depth of field. Loud, decadent, irreverent, and cinematic, Grier himself describes Demonstration Disc as sounding like “…mashing down all the preset buttons on your sparkling-new, cosmic-avant-garde monster synth.”

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