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

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.


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Snowfall in Kyoto

A track by Norihito Suda

Norihito Suda’s “Light Snowfall” is ten minutes of soft pads. There are organ-like notes that take forever to fade, and gentle vocal-oid choral effects throughout, and strums that bring to mind an acoustic guitar, though the mental image of the latter lasts longer than does the sound’s actual presence. At times there’s a tremulous quality, when the inner functions of a waveform briefly let slip a quiet fury of activity. There’s no structure to “Light Snowfall,” nor structural give and take, just a fade in and a fade out and the steady stream in between. But don’t mistake it for a drone; it’s more of a composite than a drone, more an assemblage than a singularity. At ten minutes it’s also anything but fleeting. It seems to hold time in place, a suggestion reinforced by an occasional sense of a light ticking, like a clock is being turned back on itself, pushing for time to resume.

Track originally published at More from Suda, who is based in Kyoto, Japan, at

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The Radiant Explosion of W. Zabarkas

A new album on the Glistening Examples label

There’s a radiant explosion at the heart of W. Zabarkas’ The Origin of Dreams, a recent release on the Glistening Examples label. Much of it has an overwhelming industrial churn, even if you don’t make good on Zabarkas’ liner-note appeal: “The artist requests that you listen to this album at maximum volume,” it reads. Each of the tracks — “Autumn Invades the House,” “FOREST-91,” “2 0 9 4,” “Whereof One Сannot Speak, Thereof One Must Be Silent” — opens with an expansive, hyperactive static. For the most part they also see that massiveness, that ebullient chaos, through to the end. “Whereof One Сannot Speak, Thereof One Must Be Silent” closes on a long fade. “2 0 9 4,” after peaking with something akin to a post-rock band’s third-encore climax, also fades at the end. “Autumn Invades the House,” the opening track, fades as well, if fairly quickly by the standard set by the others. Only “FOREST-91” gives way to something else, something elegant, something other than the sense of a knob dutifully, patiently rotated to cold zero; it’s a few notes on repeat, the world’s slowest arpeggio, It’s so apart from the rest of the album that its quietness has the opposite effect: it ends up perhaps the main thing, other than the overall sense of being caught in a cyclone, that the listener may remember. It’s hard to tell what’s buried in that noise. There may be ritual chanting amid “FOREST-91,” or it’s a trick of the ear, human presence imagined as a pattern in the vast randomness. Zabarkas’ suggested patterns are rousing, powerful, fully mechanical, yet charged with purpose and momentum.

More from Glistening Examples at More from Zabarkas at and

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Disquiet Junto Project 0264: Time Travel

Record a piece of music that plays with the perception of time.

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, January 23, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, January 19, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0264: Time Travel
Record a piece of music that plays with the perception of time.

Step 1: Recorded music is, generally speaking, a fixed object. It’s a document. It proceeds linearly, over time. It is, in the terminology of fine art, “time-based.” That said, music has the power to change one’s perception of time. Slowing and speeding tempo alone can alter a listener’s understanding of what is happening. Backward masking, sublimated hints of themes yet to come, the sound of a tape in fast forward mode — those are just a few ways that a composer can suggest that time is not moving linearly. Now, consider for a moment the tools available to give an impression of time doing things other than proceeding in a steady forward motion.

Step 2: Record a short piece of music that takes time travel as its theme, using ideas that resulted from the consideration in Step 1.

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 “disquiet0264″ (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, January 23, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, January 19, 2017.

Length: The length is up to you, but two to three minutes sounds about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0264″ 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 264th weekly Disquiet Junto project, Time Travel: Record a piece of music that plays with the perception of time”:

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 track is by Heather and used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

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Bell Increments

Five tracks of overtones on overdrive

Until yesterday evening I had never uploaded audio before to, despite being a longtime user, and despite investigations of the service playing a role in the course I teach on the role of sound in media landscape.

Anyhow, I recently added a new module to my modular synthesizer, and in the process of testing it out, I thought I would go and post some of the results. Those results became the collection, two and a half minutes total — five tracks of modulated bell tones. Below is the embedded sound and the information from the page:

This is a collection of five variations on the same bell sound. The bell is being run through a modular synthesizer, with an emphasis on a module called the ADDAC601. The ADDAC601 is a filter bank. It divides the inbound audio into eight bands across the audio spectrum, and then allows those bands to be worked upon by any manner of inputs. In this case the inputs are a variety of LFOs, or low frequency oscillators, often working in combination. Sine waves and triangle waves and saw-toothed waves consort and, in turn, exaggerate the source audio. The LFOs put the overtones into overdrive. These five tracks, each more complex than the previous, are excerpts from a larger collection that accumulated after I added the ADDAC601 to my small modular synth rig. They explore incremental changes as LFOs pile up and the variations take on more internal complexity. Because they were recorded in sequence without pause, each retains echoing, refracted elements of the previous track.

The source audio is a bell recorded by participant Sarana and uploaded for communal reuse on October 14, 2009. The source audio was pitched down a bit before being worked upon by the modular synth, and it also is run through a digital delay before hitting the ADDAC601. Here is the source audio, for comparison:

The track is licensed under this Creative Commons license:

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Natalie Braginsky’s Noise Vexations

Two exercises in sonic disturbance

Natalie Braginsky uploaded some serious noise about two weeks ago, two tracks of digital vexations. There “.linexp,” five minutes of brief shots of razor-edged pixel disturbances, and “total emotional collapse number four,” which embraces a thick screen of randomness. The latter focuses on the sort of sounds that often suggest the roiling sea but here seem more like an avalanche on — to borrow and bend a phrase from Godflesh — looped repeat. It takes awhile to get underway, opening with short bursts of fireworks that eventually fill the sky, the whole thing running for four-plus minutes. It’s “.linexp” that presents itself as ready for more general consumption. The noise miniatures bring to mind road-side snapshots of robotic collisions and sad-toned circuits failing in public.

Tracks originally posted at More from Braginsky, who is based in New York City, at and

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