three trains

Known simply as Quiet American to most, sound artist Aaron Ximm has been instrumental in shining a spotlight on field recordings, minimal sounds, and digital music that melds these strategies together though his successful Field Effects series in San Francisco. His website is a treasure trove of information about the artist, the concert series, and even tips on field recording techniques. “three trains” (yes, apparently Ximm ascribes to the lowercase aesthetic), the first track from the 1999 album vox americana, is available as a downloadable MP3 along with the rest of the album along with lots of bonus material. Created from recordings captured in Ba Cah, Vietnam, “three trains” is a hypnotic journey of phasing rhythms, clanging bells, and voices. As you might expect, Ximm sites Steve Reich’s Different Trains as an inspiration for the piece, but Ximm’s abstracted approach is infinitely more subtle.

—RN