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Disquiet Junto Project 0166: Slow by Steps

Take a pre-existing track, slow it in descending states, and then add something to it.


Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on and at, 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.

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

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, March 5, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, March 9, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0166: Slow by Steps
Take a pre-existing track, slow it in descending states, and then add something to it.

This week we’re slowing down an ancient piece of audio, dating from 1910, and adding sounds atop it to create one continuous composition.

Step 1: Download at a public-domain recording of Eugène Ysaÿe performing “Rondino” by composer Henri Vieuxtemps. (Note: If you land on the new site and can’t figure out how to download, click on the “exit beta” button in the upper-right-hand corner of the webpage to go to the original site design, where the downloading is self-evident.)

Step 2: Choose a short segment of the recording, roughly between three and five seconds. Label it as Segment A.

Step 3: Create a Segment B by slowing Segment A to half its original speed.

Step 4: Create a Segment C by slowing Segment B to half its original speed.

Step 5: Create a Segment D by slowing Segment C to half its original speed.

Step 6: Create an underlying foundational track by stitching instances of A, B, C, and D together in that order. Recommended for a five-second segment is Ax4, Bx2, C, D (or AAAABBCD), which would be 100 seconds.

Step 7: Create a new piece of music by recording accompaniment to add to the foundational track, which will otherwise remain unadulterated.

Step 8: Upload the combination of your accompaniment and the foundational track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 9: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, March 5, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, March 9, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work should be roughly between one and three minutes.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and 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.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on, please include the term “disquiet0166-slowbysteps” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

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, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 166th Disquiet Junto project — “Take a pre-existing track, slow it in descending states, and then add something to it” — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

Image associated with this project by Bruce Berrien, used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

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New William Basinski Track

A "Cascade" in the works


Earlier today, William Basinski updated his account for the first time in roughly a year. The track is “Cascade Excerpt.” It is characteristically elegant, somehow both angelic and desolate. As the track’s title suggests, and is often the case in Basinski’s music, the sound is that of a deeply echoing, richly refracted environment. Each sound is heard retreating and decaying in warbling stages, and the routine yet variegated nature of this decay makes the exact start point of a given cycle increasingly difficult to focus on, as if collected distant echoes in turn combine to form a new initial step of the ongoing process. The sound is like that of some majestic crystal cathedral shattering in exceedingly slow motion, forever.

According to the brief accompanying liner note, the track was posted as a result of the “premium direct to fan solution” website, so perhaps Basinski has something new coming. A longer video of “Cascade” was posted at the website of the New Yorker late last year:

Track originally posted at More from Basinski at

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Randomness in the Hand of a Composer

More from Caitlin Rowley's "Year of Fear"

Caitlin Rowley has committed chance actions to a fixed document, making something not so much from nothing as from a collection of of things with nothing in common — nothing except her desire to challenge herself. The result is a narrative sequence of sonic snapshots, with the occasional striking moment, such as the glass-chime ping at 1:09, that evidence the constructing hand of a composer.

She writes:

“This piece experiments with a number of things I usually avoid when working with recordings – a very tight deadline (4 hours), loops, rhythmic material, voices, musical material and sounds from a variety of sources rather than a single location. … The bulk of the material for this piece was recorded at Borough Market, but there are also recordings from rehearsals at Trinity Laban, from the Kent County Fair and from Pompeii in Italy, as well as object recordings I made at home.”

Track originally posted at More from Rowley, who calls 2015 her “Year of Fear,” in which she’s challenging her artistic process by “seeking out new areas of insecurity,” at More power to her.

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Aphex Twin Organizes His Record Collection

Collating the post-Singularity archival uploads

The musician alternately known as Aphex Twin and user48736353001 and Richard D. James has begun collating his own voluminous SoundCloud uploads. He’s doing it by era. The first of these is labeled “saw1 era,” relating to the period represented by his Selected Ambient Works 85-92 album. There’s no overlap between the “saw1 era” set and the one I’ve compiled of music reminiscent of Selected Ambient Works Volume II, a set I’ve described as Selected Ambient Works Volume III (beta). The main marker is how much the beat was subdued — subsumed — in the transition between 85-92 and Volume II. Of course, the beat later returned with a vengeance, first with a harsh screech on the “Ventolin” single, and then with the rubbery, ecstatic rhythms that marked much of Aphex Twin’s later, mid/late-1990s music.

Because these tracks are likely to disappear at some point, here is the setlist for posterity’s sake:

“Sams Car”
“Afx origTheme”
“Original Chaos Riff”
“Nova Robotiks”
“21 Forgotten T”

Set originally posted at Thanks to Bruce Levenstein, aka Compact Robot, for pointing out the playlist to me.

Update: Later the same day, the set has expanded to about twice its original length, and has been renamed. It’s now “saw 1.5″ — that is, Selected Ambient Works Volume 1.5, a midpoint between 85-92 and Volume II — and the track list is now:

“Sams Car”
“Afx origTheme”
“Red Alert”
“Dance and Play”
“Nova Robotiks”
“21 Forgotten T”
“Original Chaos Riff”

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The SoundCloud Singularity Continues

µ-ZIQ, longtime Aphex Twin associate, joins him in the cloud post-release afterlife

Mike Paradinas’ presence on the comments of the rouge Aphex Twin uploads to SoundCloud was one of the key early confirmation points. Also known as µ-ZIQ, the name under which he among other things occasionally collaborated with Aphex Twin, Paradinas has begun filling up his SoundCloud account with a retro-archive of his often game-like tracks, such as the blippy joy that is “TFM,” a workout for the Technoid DR-550 drum machine. He joins Aphex Twin in uploading his musical memories to SoundCloud, a kind of recording-industry Singularity moment.

If we could vote for what early-1990s birth-of-IDM British-label stalwart would next fill up SoundCloud, I’d vote for Amon Tobin, Funki Porcini, Wagon Christ, Photek, or DJ Krush.

Track originally posted at

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