My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Monthly Archives: April 2017

What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from

Belated image for Record Store Day. This is a detail of a 1948 photo by Todd Webb (1905-2000) of 6th Avenue in Manhattan. The full image, a semi-panorama of sorts showing the complete block between 43rd and 44th Streets, including a second record store, is on display currently at the Curator Gallery on West 23rd as part of the exhibit Down Any Street: Todd Webb’s Photographs of New York, 1945-1960, curated by Bill Shapiro. Note the window advertisement above for Brown’s Talking Picture Operating School. That sharp line to the right of the store, between it and the bar newly listing “television” among its attractions, is a cut where two images were placed next to each other to allow Webb to achieve the effect of showing the entire stretch of 6th Avenue as if viewed from across the street.

An ongoing series cross-posted from
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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from

People who try to express information on an XY grid eventually learn this lesson, often the hard way: sometimes the only option for accuracy is to access the third dimension. That realization was made, as well, by whoever was tasked at some point in the distant past with adding a fifth button (yes, fifth — note the semi-obscured circle at the bottom) to this already beleaguered assemblage. It’s unclear if this location is home to two or five individual addresses, or somewhere in between. The bottom set, if you perceive them as a set, could be three iterations of fixing a doorbell’s serial failures: first the main, boxy unit; then the second narrow sliver; then the side button. Then again these could be incremental sublets, the most recent an overpriced closet with the benefit of being near a major public transportation hub. The fact that none of the five buttons is labeled lends some mystery. While we may not know what the landlord is up to, clearly the next logical step is to go full tesseract.

An ongoing series cross-posted from
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Disquiet Junto Project 0277: Chew Concrète

The Assignment: Make music inspired by C. Reider's Chew Cinders album procedures.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, 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. A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required. There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, April 24, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0277: Chew Concrète
The Assignment: Make music inspired by C. Reider’s Chew Cinders album procedures.

Step 1: This week’s project is inspired by the manner in which C. Reider recorded his recent album, Chew Cinders (Midnight Circles). We aren’t remixing his album. We’re remixing/repurposing his approach to the album. You can check it out here:

Step 2: This instruction is adapted, with Reider’s input, from the manner in which he recorded the album:

Process a sequence of standalone “chunks” of pre-recorded sound — voice, field recordings, noise — with an emphasis on the manipulation of time and pitch. Speed things up, slow them down, and explore the opportunity to use cutup techniques. Pay particular attention to segues between the chunks.

Step 3: Make a piece of music inspired by the approach delineated in Step 2.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If you hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0277″ (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at please consider posting your track:

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

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

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, April 24, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

Length: The length is entirely up to the participant.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0277″ in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and be sure to 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. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

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 online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 277th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Chew Concrète: Make music inspired by C. Reider’s Chew Cinders album procedures” — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project is adapted from Thomas Jung’s art for the cover of the album that inspired the project, C. Reider’s Chew Cinders:

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Brian Eno Gives the BBC a Studio Tour

And talks generative art, sculptures, beat making, note taking, and more

“I’m trying to make a version of me in this software,” Brian Eno tells the BBC’s Spencer Kelly in a half-hour video from the broadcaster’s Click show. The ambient godfather is giving Kelly a tour of his studio, displaying how he constructs his light installations, his sculptures made of small speakers, and his software-based music. We see the dark backroom where he’s transitioned from cathode ray tubes to LEDs, and his ceiling-high bookshelves, 65 percent of which he estimates have science as their subject. Kelly, whose BBC reporting focus is technology, pushes Eno to confirm himself as something of a scientist, which Eno agrees to do.

Broadcasting is an odd thing. Kelly needs to ask a generalist’s questions, even though it’s clear he must know quite a bit more than he’s actually acknowledging knowledge of. They get around to “those cards,” which leads to a bit of a history lesson about how Roxy Music’s limited budget inspired Eno to get some best practices in order, which in turn became the Oblique Strategies deck. He also spends an extended bit making generative drum beats, and gives us a flip through old notebooks. Somewhere people with high-definition monitors are making and trading screenshots, no doubt.

There’s also fodder for an incredibly subtle animated GIF around the 18:23 mark, when Eno, his head emerging from a thick, collared overshirt like that of a tortoise, juts back and forth along to a semi-randomized rhythm he’s just implemented.

Found via

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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from

Some buildings are born as multi-unit dwellings. Others have multi-unit dwelling-ness thrust upon them. Amid that second subset are entrances that don’t live up to the challenge. This location has at least three additional addresses where there once was likely but a single residence. How you alert unit one to your arrival is unclear (since its button is missing entirely), as is how to access unit two (since its button is kaput). Adding to the mystery is the sequencing for units two, four, and three. The pièce de résistance isn’t the fact of that additional button for unit four, or even the quotidian instructions to “Hold for 3 seconds” (what happens if you hold longer?), or the readymade collage (RIP, James Rosenquist) where unit three’s identity is layered. It’s a one-two combo: First, how the “3 seconds” confuses the eye, carrying directly over from the 2 on the left, and briefly makes your brain think the center unit is, indeed, number three. Second, how the additional button for unit four is situated so as to serve as the noun in the instructional sentence — it’s virtually a doorbell emoji. As the shadows might suggest, this photograph was shot as the daylight was coming to an end, which seems appropriate to this location.

An ongoing series cross-posted from
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