February 13, 2014, is the official release date for my 33 1/3 book on Aphex Twin's 1994 album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Disquiet Junto Project 0151: Reliving Dead

The Assignment: Score a segment of George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead using the movie's audio as source material.

20141120-notld

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at Disquiet.com, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, November 20, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, November 24, 2014, as the SoundCloud deadline — though the encouraged optional video part of the assignment can wait a day or two longer, if necessary.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0151: Reliving Dead
The Assignment: Score a segment of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead using the movie’s audio as source material.

Step 1: Download the classic film Night of the Living Dead, which is in the public domain, at the following URL:

http://goo.gl/rm1lMy

Step 2: Locate a short segment of interest, between 1 and 3 minutes, in which there is no musical score present.

Step 3: Compose a score for your chosen segment using only the audio from that segment as the source material. You can alter the source audio in any way you choose. You just can’t add any new sounds.

Step 4: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 5: Listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Step 6: This part is optional, and you can take an additional couple of days if you need them. Upload the video segment combining the original audio and your score, and link to it from the notes field in your SoundCloud track.

Length: Your finished work should be between 1 and 3 minutes long, depending entirely on the length of the segment you selected.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, November 20, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, November 24, 2014, as the deadline.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0151-relivingdead” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 151st Disquiet Junto project — “Score a segment of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead using the movie’s audio as source material” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/11/20/disquiet0151-relivingdead/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Image from the George Romero film Night of the Living Dead.

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Disquiet.com Email Newsletter

Getting back into people's inboxes

As the past few items posted here suggest, I’ve rebooted the Disquiet.com email newsletter. I used to do a Disquiet email newsletter quite frequently back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, I created Tower Records’ email newsletter, epulse, way back in 1994, two years before I launched Disquiet, and edited it on and off for a decade. I’m feeling pretty good about the new Disquiet email newsletter format, and that online reading habits are back in an email-friendly, newsletter-friendly mode. The old newsletters will be archived at tinyletter.com/disquiet. The first one is there now. Subscribers got it late Tuesday evening (California time — well, technically just after midnight on Wednesday). Generally speaking the material in it is a series of short items about music, the role of sound in media and art, some recent listening. I’ll occasionally have contests for giveaways of books and albums and apps and so forth. Some of the published material will be unique to the newsletter, some will draw from existing Disquiet posts, and some will be repurposed on the site.

You can subscribe here: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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Writing Sound

Mira Grant wakes a woman from a coma

“His voice was no more or less compelling than the buzz of the machines around her.” That’s from Mira Grant’s novel Parasite (2014), describing the experience of a woman emerging from a coma. It continues: “None of his words meant anything to her, and so she dismissed them as unimportant stimuli in a world that was suddenly full of unimportant stimuli. … Then the other people in the room started making noise, as shrill and confused as the machines around her.” The sequel to Parasite, titled Symbiont, comes out later this month. I’m just behind in my reading.

This post first appeared in the Disquiet email newsletter: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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The Year of Aphex Twin

And the (temporary?) end of a SoundCloud account

My book on the 1994 Aphex Twin album Selected Ambient Works Volume II is now, I have learned, in its second printing (Amazon, Powell’s), which is pretty great. The book was published back in February as part of the 33 1/3 series, and I had a blast doing readings at City Lights in San Francisco and Powell’s in Portland, and giving talks and presentations (in person and via Skype) at various institutions, including SETI. As it turns out, that February publication was in advance of what has turned out to be, quite unexpectedly, the Year of Aphex Twin, starting with the logo-festooned blimp over London that coincided with his birthday, continuing to a full-length album on the Warp label (Syro), and moving on to a deep dive into his archives thanks to tracks posted on his SoundCloud account. For the moment, that SoundCloud account appears to have been wiped clean, sadly, but I’m hopeful it’s a temporary thing, because the reversed version of “Avril 14th” was quite lovely.

This post first appeared in the Disquiet email newsletter: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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Comet Eavesdropping

A comet is recorded, a koan is clarified, a marketing campaign is muted.

A familiar koan was updated this past week. “In space,” we were told long ago thanks to promotions for the movie Alien, “no one can hear you scream” — that is, we’ve now learned, until that scream has its frequencies boosted “by a factor of 10,000.” That’s how earthsky.org, among countless other news organizations, characterized the marvel that was the (literally) otherworldly sound of the (figurative) song captured from a comet by the Philae lander. Nothing is going to shut up the commenters on io9.com, who seem to wait eagerly for a moment to point out the absurdity of sounds in outer space scenes in movies and on television, but nor is the Philae incident the first audio collected from space. Back in 2013, as the Voyager space probe was leaving our solar system, two bursts of sound were collected and shared by NASA, sounds that we used in a Disquiet Junto project. One funny thing that happened last week was that just as the entire planet was celebrating the act of listening to sounds from space, the DVD and Blu-Ray of the film Gravity were released with a “Silent Space” alternate version that removes all the sound from the outer-space sequences. A welcome edit, if one slightly marred by unfortunate timing.

This post first appeared in the Disquiet email newsletter: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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