As 2003 comes to a close, references to an album titled The Civil War are sure to start appearing again in print and on the web, as folks begin compiling their lists of the best albums of the year. Released in late September on the Matador label, The Civil War is a nine-track collection of music by Matmos, the San Francisco electronic duo, who this time out enlisted a host of folksy instrumentation in their richly layered music — this in contrast with the group’s previous release, A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure, which was based almost entirely on the sounds of plastic surgery procedures. If you haven’t yet checked it out, Matador posted at the time of its release an MP3 file of the record’s penultimate track, “The Struggle Against Unreality” (file here), with its plucked acoustic guitar, martial drums and extended abstract closing sequence. Like much hyper-constructed music, “The Struggle Against Unreality” is a mass of conflicting sounds: the guitar, though quiet, has as much presence as an entire string section; a tolling bell comes up against a stuck loop; a song that opened with familiar sounds of string instruments closes on what may very well be a solo for dot matrix printer. And as a nod to A Chance to Cut, the song reportedly features the sound of the blood in Matmos member M.C. Schmidt’s carotid artery. A track from that album, built from liposuction audio, is also housed on the Matador website (file here).
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• October 13, 2016: This day marks the start of the 250th weekly Disquiet Junto project.
• November 16, 2016: I'll be sharing the mic at Adobe Books in San Francisco with my fellow 33 1/3 author Evie Nagy for an evening hosted, from 7pm to 10pm, by Marc Kate (facebook.com).
• December 1, 2016: A likely speaking engagement. Details to come.
• December 13, 2016: This day marks the 20th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 5, 2017: This day marks the 5th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• Ongoing: The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury, is now in its second printing. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
disquiet juntoThe Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects: • 0264 / Time Travel / Record a piece of music that plays with the perception of time. • 0263 / Overture Edit / Produce an overture to an existing album. • 0262 / Ice Code / Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it. • 0261 / Audio Journal 2016 / Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen five-second segments. • 0260 / Tone Fade / An exercise in when a sound ends.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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