I think I first came across the music of Austin Cairns (AKA r beny) on Soundcloud, where he has a page you should check out, but he also posts some things just to YouTube, of which the piece above is a superb example. It has a quality that I especially prize in ambient music, which is that it rewards just as little or as much attention as you choose to give it. You can play this in the background as you work, but if you choose to focus on it there’s enough going on to fully occupy your musical neurons. (This cannot be said of much ambient music.) And there’s something oddly fascinating about watching his hands show up from time to time to make their delicate adjustments to the machine — it almost seems a living thing. 

And of course I really really want a Digitone now. 

Text Patterns

April 12, 2018


  1. Ambient music is probably a subgenre of minimalism and arguably has little real content beyond the pleasing façade. The embedded piece floats without clear rhythm, melody, form, or development. Rather, it’s an undisturbed diatonic texture throughout that shimmers with modest tweaking here and there. And yet, ironically perhaps, it captivates thoughtlessly like the permutations of a kaleidoscope or the flow of a stream of water. Others have remarked on minimalism’s kinship with PoMo critical theory, where content (such as it is) is brought to the text by the reader.

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