The piano echoes the modular synthesizer, or perhaps it’s the other way around. Either way, there’s a vapor trail of synthetic noise that hovers about, that emanates from, the roiling piano in the third part of a “Piano/Modular Synth Improvisation” by San Francisco musician Clarke Robinson. And then, just as a certain hierarchy seems to present itself, the synthesizer presents its own not insignificant flurry of sonic gusto, a brash field of constrained chaos. This play back and forth between modular and piano, between abstract and traditional, between amorphous and familiar, is the core of Robinson’s work here, in which the elements, so distinct from each other, are allowed to circle each other, to serve varying roles: shadow, peer, guidepost, antagonist. Bracing stuff.
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• May 13, 2015: Last spring-semester class meeting of the 15-week course that I teach on the role of sound in the media landscape at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. I'll next teach it in spring 2016.
• December 13, 2015: The 19th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• 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: soundcloud.com.
• 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. It's housed at soundcloud.com. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 10 most recent weekly projects: • 0186: Explore the sonic contours of a word you've spelled out loud frequently: your name. • 0185: Summon up a memory, and then summarize it in sound. • 0184: Explore the relationship between segments that consist of 1 bar, 8 bars, and 4 bars. • 0183: Insert something that plays across the stereo spectrum in an after-dark field recording. • 0182: Do a rendition of Ethan Hein's laptop orchestra score by yourself. • 0181: Imagine your favorite instrument is dreaming while it sleeps — what does it sound like? • 0180: Use the Russian nesting dolls as a model for a musical composition. • 0179: Show off (and explain) one thing you've learned recently about an instrument/tool. • 0178: Emphasize the bells in an urban field recording. • 0177: Netlabel Portrait Use samples of recent Dark Winter Records releases to produce a sonic image of the label:
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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what sound looks like