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.

search: "iron chef of music"

6-String IDM: The Top 10 Posts & Searches of May 2012

Among the top 10 most popular posts of the past month, May 2012, out of a total of 28 posts, all but two were drawn from the daily recommended free downloads of the site’s Downstream section: (1) XYZR_KX plays Autechre on guitar, (2) Mark Browne dips his tech in boiling water, (3) Schrödinger’s Dog recognizes the fax machine as a dubstep muse, (4) Rawore plays around, (5) Hey Exit adds a touch of the electronic to his guitar, (6) Greg Surges employs SoundCloud as a sketchbook, (7) Phillip Wilkerson records the Floridian quotidian (i.e., birds), and (8) Federico Durand‘s album preview serves as a composition unto itself.

The two remaining most popular posts were sets of automated Saturday collections of the previous week’s twitter.com/disquiet posts, from (9) May 5 and (10) May 12.

The most popular searches on the site during the month of May were: aaron, distinction, pessoa, mixes, alan morse davies, cicada, crewest, darkly, garde, intone, iron chef of music, lique, mallet, monolake, n4tural, neilwiernik, selun, sharing, sol rezza, stasisfield.

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Tangents: Lethem/Cage, Kracfive Gaming, iOS Updates

News, quick links, good reads

4’33 Neoteny: Jonathan Lethem gave the tenth State of Cinema address at the 55th San Francisco Film Festival on April 21, and wired.it posted a bootleg of the audio. The sprawling lecture, which is highly recommended, is very much a novelist welcoming film to post-relevancy. Of course, Lethem turns matters of relevancy on their head, employing the concept of “neoteny,” in which juvenile traits surface in adult behavior (that is a poor paraphrase). In the process of outlining his thinking, he attributes neotenic qualities to John Cage’s 4’33″, describing it as the sounds a child might accomplish before even beginning to learn to play piano. Lethem’s latest book is a study of Talking Heads’ Fear of Music, which was produced by Brian Eno (continuumbooks.com).

Ball, Game: The name Noah Sasso will be familiar to longtime readers of Disquiet.com due to his having been a founding member of the Kracfive collective (kracfive.com), whose Iron Chef of Music was a big presence on this site for many years, and was an influence on the development of the Disquiet Junto. Like many electronic-music practitioners, Sasso has an active role in game development, and his new project, BaraBariBall, will debut at the NYU Game Center’s Third Annual No Quarter Exhibition (nyu.edu) on May 18. He’s posted this video trailer (at vimeo.com) for the game. It has that perfect mix of pixel elegance and stellar fluid motion, like watching basketball through mosaic sunglasses:

Sasso says it was developed for Windows and Mac but has no current planned public release. More on Sasso at strangeflavor.net and soundcloud.com/strangeflavor.

App Updates (iOS Edition): Tabletop, a virtual music studio with device emulators, has improved the manner in which one swaps between devices. … Animoog has debuted a SoundSet by Richard Devine in its in-app storefront. … The Buddha Machine app has been updated to include sounds from the Buddha Machine 3.

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Lisbon & Comments: The Top 10 Posts & Searches of February 2012

Lisbon remixed, two songs for 2/22, open comments, and other reader favorites

The most popular post of February 2012, out of 28 total posts for the month, was (1) the announcement of a new Disquiet-commissioned project, LX(RMX) / Lisbon Remixed, in which eight musicians under sixteen names remixed the sounds of urban Lisbon. The project was a collaboration with artist Jorge Colombo.

Also among the 10 most popular posts were (2) an overview of the fifth in the ongoing Disquiet Junto series, this one involving adding sounds to a pre-existing documentary recording of everyday noise, (3) an announcement that this site no longer requires a comment to be approved by a moderator before being published, and (4) liner notes that I wrote for a two-song project by musicians Corey Allen and Marcus Fischer.

Three of the site’s daily Downstream MP3 recommendations made the top 10: (5) one on the persistence of the wind chime in instrumental hip-hop, (6) another on the drone-industrial complex, and (7) a third on music for koto, pitch pipe, and samplers.

Rounding out the top 10 most popular posts of the month: (8) the list of the 10 most popular posts of the preceding month, and (9, 10) two of the automated Saturday repostings of twitter.com/disquiet.

The most popular searches of the month were: harold budd live, junto, souns, autechre, bars, Buddha Machine, rjdj, dubstep, Maximin, virant, would-be messiahs, amon tobin, astralwerks, curated, flyer, gareth dickson, grouper, iron chef of music, mashup, mixtapes

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The Disquiet Junto Project List

Association for communal music/sound-making on Soundcloud.com. [Update: August 14, 2014]

The Disquiet Junto is a group I founded on Soundcloud.com. The purpose of the group is to use constraints to stoke creativity. Each Thursday evening I post a clearly defined compositional assignment, and members of the Junto are to complete the assignment by 11:59pm the following Monday. The initial Junto assignment was made on January 5, 2012, the first Thursday of the new year.

The inspirations for the group’s existence are numerous. There are the weekly Beat Battles sponsored by Stonesthrow, and also hosted at Soundcloud.com, in which dozens if not hundreds of participants craft instrumental hip-hop beats from a shared sample. There is the tradition of Oulipo, whose embrace of creative constraints is personified by one of its co-founders, the author Raymond Queneau. Several comics artists with whom I have worked, including Matt Madden, have bonded under the banner of Oubapo, and there is, in fact, a related musical tradition, which goes by Oumupo. (I was reminded that the Iron Chef of Music projects at kracfive.com were also an influence on my thinking. They were for many years a big part of the Downstream department here.)

The word “junto” comes from the name of a society that Benjamin Franklin formed in Philadelphia during the early 1700s as “a structured forum of mutual improvement.” In Franklin’s honor, the third Disquiet Junto project explored the glass harp, an instrument he experimented with in the development of what he christened the armonica.

The idea for the Junto arose after the completion of a Disquiet project at the end of December 2011. That project, Instagr/am/bient, was more loosely curated than other such projects I had commissioned, beginning in 2006 with Our Lives in the Bush of Diquiet. Instagr/am/bient proved quite popular, with over 20,000 listens and almost 4,000 downloads in its first month, and this success suggested to me that I experiment with an even looser format — the irony being that this “looser” format is, in fact, dedicated to constraint. Much to my surprise, the very first Junto project resulted, in four days, in 56 original pieces of music by as many musicians. The assignment was to record the sound of ice cubes in a glass and to make something musical of that recording.

If for the musicians involved, the Disquiet Junto is an experiment in creative constraints, for me it is as much an experiment in what I would describe as “community organizing as a form of curation.”

Visit the group — and, better yet, sign up and participate — at soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto. There’s also an email announcement list for the group. If you would like to be added to the suscription list, you can join up here: tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto.

This page serves as an index of the assignments. They are listed here in chronological order:

These are the weekly projects to date:

0001: ice cubes

0002: duet for foghorn and steam whistle

0003: expanded glass harp

0004: remixing Marcus Fischer

0005: adding sounds to everyday life

0006: remixing archival Edison cylinders

0007: create through subtraction

0008: rework Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography

0009: cross-species collaboration

0010: remix a previous Junto track

0011: everyday mechanical rhythms

0012: cut and paste

0013: remixing wild Up playing Shostakovich

0014: sonic version of Matt Madden’s Oubapo story

0015: aural RGB

0016: sandpaper and dice

0017: transition between field and composed

0018: relative prominence

0019: graphic score (photo by Yojiro Imasaka)

0020: use the NodeBeat app

0021: the four seasons

0022: sonic decay

0023: palindrone

0024: a suite of sonic alerts

0025: remixing project 24

0026: making music from your trash

0027: turm the instruction text into sound

0028: remix a netlabel release

0029: music from water, inspired by William Gibson’s Count Zero

0030: sounds from silence

0031: Revisiting a 1955 Yoko Ono Fluxus piece

0032: sonify the 2012 U.S. presidential election polling data

0033: making music with a turntable but without vinyl

0034: Use the theme song of the Radius broadcast as the source of an original composition

0035: Make music from a sample page of Beck’s Song Reader sheet music

0036: Reworking Bach into abstract expressionism

0037: The sound of commerce

0038: Make a fake field recording

0039: Combine three tracks from the Nowaki netlabel into one

0040: Turn a Kenneth Kirschner duet into a trio

0041: Dirty minimalism

0042: Record a “naive melody” with your oldest and newest instruments

0043: Make mechanical roars from the sound of a retail space

0044: Transition from storm to calm using field recordings from Sandy 2012

0045: Combine material from the public domain adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Tom Sawyer

0046: Investigate a recording of the voting process for its “sonic fingerprint.”

0047: Turn the muffled voices of a distant party into the foundation of a recording.

0048: Celebrate the Creative Commons license that allows for derivative works by remixing music from the Three Legs Duck netlabel.

0049: Make a track, 50% of which is the sound of a tape cassette deck in motion.

0050: Encode a word or phrase in Morse Code and employ that as a track’s rhythm.

0051: Create a 2012 audio diary with a dozen five-second segments.

0052: Celebrate the Creative Commons by remixing three tracks from the Bump Foot netlabel.

0053: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it (redux).

0054: Create an original musical score for the day’s news.

0055: Combine two Nils Frahm solo piano pieces into one.

0056: Make music from the sound of the tick of a clock.

0057: Use sounds from the Phonetics Lab Archive at UCLA to depict emotions.

0058: Celebrate the Creative Commons by remixing three tracks from the Endless Ascent netlabel.

0059: Make music from three randomly assigned vowels.

0060: Record something about yourself and your music/sound in your own words and voice.

0061: Record a single for which the cover would be the image suggested by a @textinstagram tweet.

0062: Make music using just three sine waves.

0063: Make a new piece of music based on an echo-laden re-recording of Gregorian chant.

0064: Compose a piece to align with, from memory, 60 seconds of everyday sound.

0065: Compose music atop a randomly assigned segment of a pre-existing track by Jared Brickman.

0066: Collaborate posthumously with the late Jeffrey (Nofi) Melton.

0067: Compose music for a phrase from Homer’s The Odyssey

0068: Combine three songs from the first release of the new deriv.cc netlabel.

0069: Make music from field recordings of earth, water, air, and fire.

0070: Create a single piece of music from two tones and three beats.

0071: Create an original score to the trailer to Christine Knowlton’s film about blind sailors.

0072: Make a domestic score from sounds recorded in your own home.

0073: Read a map of the San Andreas Fault as if it were a graphic notation score

0074: Turn applause into music.

0075: Make a 3-part, 18-second suite with the Vine app.

0076: Use the sounds of the room in which you sleep as source audio for a score to you describing your dream.

0077: Combine music from three different netlabels to create one track.

0078: Create music by removing sound from a century-old Edison Symphony Orchestra recording.

0079: Remix music from the movie Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) to make a downtempo instrumental.

0080: Make music with a metronome.

0081: Create generative music with four loops of differing lengths

0082: Create a minimal techno track using elements of a Haydn string quartet.

0083: Treat a page from recently declassified documents related to NSA collection of telephone metadata records as a graphically notated score.

0084: Connect two distinct field recordings via a transition between isolated elements.

0085: Make a song with three simple parts (oscillator, drum machine, field recording).

0086: Your next single is titled “Hyperloop.” Now record it.

0087: Make five varied doorbell rings.

0088: Make a track simulating 3D sound.

0089: Use the sounds of interstellar space to make “goodbye music” for the Voyager 1 space probe.

0090: Explore the sound of a radio caught between stations.

0091: Explore the musical qualities of footsteps.

0092: Use room tone to shape a three-part suite.

0093: Combine music from three different netlabels to create one track.

0094: Record an unlikely vocal trio with the sound of a bird, a kitten, and a pig.

0095: Musicians post recent tracks with the express purpose of getting constructive feedback.

0096: Pay tribute to the late Lou Reed’s noise classic.

0097: Decode the music in a phrase from a book.

0098: Combine original three spoken texts into one track.

0099: Compose an 8-bit melody based on the “E G D” startup sound of the Xbox One.

0100: Record the sound of water boiling and make something of it.

101: Make a phase composition based on the sounds of three switches.

0102: Record original secular holiday music: glistening, reflective, gentle.

0103: Make a song based on last week’s “sonic tinsel” project.

0104: Create a 2013 audio diary with a dozen five-second segments.

0105: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it (re-redux)

0106: Treat the weather chart as a graphically notated score.

0107: Use a wind chime as the rhythmic foundation for a track.

0108: Create a soundscape for the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.

0109: Insert musical objects into an urban soundscape.

0110: Celebrate the 100th birthday of that old cut-up, William S. Burroughs.

0111: Rework work from Impulsive Habitat, Xylem, Zeromoon (via actsofsilence.com).

0112: Turn your week’s dayplanner into music.

0113: Record a piece of music that slowly improves, in tribute to the late Harold Ramis’ film Groundhog Day.

0114: Combine elements of Dave Seidel’s album ~60 Hz (Irritable Hedgehog).

0115: Record a duet with yourself, divided by a wall.

0116:Record a score for daily dental hygiene.

0117: Compose an original piece of music in response to a haiku.

0118: What is the room tone of the Internet?

0119: Write music to accompany the typing of a work of fiction.

0120: Write a song based on the heartbeat of Marcel Duchamp.

0121: Two projects of varying complexity inspired by Edward Frenkel’s book Love and Math.

0122: Create music for a fake movie whose plot is “Poltergeist meets Wreck-It Ralph.”

0123: Help Gizmodo create the soundscape of the home of the future.

0124: Recombinate work from the netlabels addSensor, As4cords, and Audiotalaia.

0125: On the centennial of the great W.C. Handy song “The Yellow Dog Blues,” participate in a Studio 360 listener challenge.

0126: Change the meter of a 1918 jazz recording by the Louisiana Five.

0127: Record the sound of your library — and then maybe make something of it.

0128: Write a score to accompany a short piece of text you wrote a year ago today.

0129: Create tones to match five of the new emoji.

0130: Create a composition by altering an ongoing loop

0131: Create a composition that naturally extends from the whistle of a tea kettle.

0132: Collaborate with the late Jeffrey (Nofi) Melton using a previous tribute track.

0133: Compose an especially short and concise composition.

0134: Compose music to accompany one minute of a dance video by Cori Marquis.

0135: Record the sonic equivalent of air conditioning.

0136: Recombinate work from the netlabels Nowaki, Phantom Channel, and Rec72.

0137: Produce an original piece of music that fits the genre “old-time electronica.”

And this is the initial post I made on Disquiet.com, announcing the project on January 7, 2012: “Sneek Peek.”

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Past Week at Twitter.com/Disquiet

  • Re-read Jasia Reichardt's Computer in Art for like 10th time. Slim 1971 book about computer graphics but with obvious musical application. #
  • Obituary for Egyptian artist/musician Ahmed Basiony (1978-2011) with partial list of exhibits: http://j.mp/fjAyvg via @africancolours #jan25 #
  • Morning sounds: cars, hard drive/fan, no birds, no planes, no bus; fridge asleep, like everyone else. #
  • It's a relief when you compare a musician's work positively to Depeche Mode's and said musician doesn't want to kill you. #
  • Malcolm Gladwell sets out to prove ideas by yoking together disconnected anecdotes. He must see Egypt as an anecdote that doesn't fit. #
  • "@timprebble: thoroughly enjoyed stuck/skipping CD in bookstore just now – went on for 10min – perfect soundtrack" #eartwit #glitch #chance #
  • "@LongplayerNow: Longplayer has been playing for 11 years 34 days 11 hours 57 minutes. http://j.mp/f6JLkY Sounding beautiful right now." #
  • Genius: Steve Reich's "Clapping Music" as performed by Lee Marvin and (mostly) Angie Dickinson: http://youtu.be/BY4bL_bO8sA via @pheezy #
  • Jon Bentley's Programming Pearls remix: abridged to one sentence from each of its 15 chapters http://j.mp/ghel1P by YubNub's @JonathanAquino #
  • Is there a Firefox extension that will give me a mild but noticeable electric shock when I have more than 20 tabs open at once? #
  • "@melchoir: Tyondai Braxton is gone right? idk if they'll sound as good" Likely won't. If it's just snarky mathrock I'll bail. [Re: Battles] #
  • I need to remind myself that in most cases @[whoever] isn't tweeting too much; to the contrary, I may be reading too closely. #
  • Battles: "new music coming soon." That's enough good news to get me through a hectic day: http://j.mp/eLJGZB #
  • Alternate memorial page for slain Egyptian musician Ahmed Basiony (1978-2011), with photos from Cairo protests: http://j.mp/h9xpx9 #
  • NB to self: Don't install Ubuntu Netbook Edition while on deadline. Don't install Ubuntu Netbook Edition while on deadline. Don't install… #
  • Maybe "John Barry" isn't really a specific composer, but merely a code name used by a long line of British secret-agent/composers. #
  • Read more »
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