Five, seven, five. These are the incremental dimensions known as the haiku. In written and spoken language, these numbers translate into syllables, forming a collective literature of single-serving reflection. When those numbers are stretched to represent minutes rather than syllables, their relative size diminishes in terms of its self-evidence, but in the hands of the musician named Mystified, the matter of reflection remains. The netlabel Subterranean Tide has released a three-track collection by Mystified, each track taking its length and title from a line of haiku, in this case a work whose central subject is sound: “Night cicada; / having slipped upon some dew / to the moon he cries.” The first track is five minutes long, the second seven, the third five again. Each is a mix of what might, in other contexts, be thought of as ambient industrial music, except that the notion of the cicada transforms the background hiss into the imagined constant whir of insectoid activity (at times what appears to be an actual cicada is also heard). There is a variety of droning, lightly percussive sonic material, and the highlight may be around two thirds of the way through the second track, when the combined rhythmic elements form something that might even be considered a groove.
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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