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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Uploaded: My Resonance FM Set

Music by Vladimir Conch, Cullen Miller, Erika Nesse, Marcus Fischer, and others

Earlier this month I put together an hour-long set for the excellent Resonance arts broadcast network (aka resonancefm.com). That set has now been archived at mixcloud.com by Fari Bradley, the Resonance presenter who invited me to do it. There are thorough details on what plays in the set in the initial post here. The music is, in order of appearance, by Vladimir Conch, Cullen Miller, Erika Nesse, Julsy, Marcus Fischer, Stabilo (Speaker Gain Teardrop), North Americans, Yasuo Akai, nystada, Bassling, William Boldenreck, Scanner Darkly, Toàn, and R Beny.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0230: Design I

Interpret a graphic score (never before performed or realized) from the mid-1970s.

20160430_165841-1

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, 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. 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 was posted in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 26, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 30, 2016.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0230: Design I
Interpret a graphic score (never before performed or realized) from the mid-1970s.

These are the steps for the project:

Step 1: View the graphic score, by Glenn Sogge, at the following URL:

http://goo.gl/hOQOSg

Step 2: Record a piece of music that interprets the score as a work of musical notation.

Step 3: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 4: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Background: The score was provided by Junto participant Glenn Sogge. Here’s a bit about his background: “I had finished my BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago a couple years before. I had begun my studies at Northwestern University before that. I studied with Frédéric Rzewski at SAIC and had taken a music & theater course with Berio at NU. The periodical Source was a major inspiration as were the compositions of Cage. Being the son of a sculptor and wood worker, I suppose the interconnections of the plastic arts (space, time, materials) have always been an influence. With a smattering of jazz in my history, improvisation was important so open ended scores that gave the performers room to explore were of special interest. This piece was probably done in the last year or so before I stopped composing for about 35 years (I got seduced by computers and programming among other things.) My son facilitated my reentry to the world of electronic music with a Minibrute last summer and I have been burnishing the bits like crazy since then.”

Deadline: This project was posted in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 26, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 30, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you, though between one and three minutes feels about right.

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

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0230.” Also use “disquiet0230” 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 230th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Design I: Interpret a graphic score (never before performed or realized) from the mid-1970s” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0230/

The graphic score is by Glenn Sogge, more from whom at:

https://soundcloud.com/glenn-sogge/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

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Vinyl Context and Purloined Notes

The classical remixes of Bstep

Classical Rmxs is as it sounds. The new Bstep collection, two dozen tracks total, is a beat-heavy selection of snippets of various classical-music pieces set to downtempo, hip-hop-informed metrics. Bstep is Ben Stepner, who previously took a favorite by proto-minimalist composer Morton Feldman, “Triadic Memories,” and rendered it into something loungey and soulful, and just a little bit funky. Often on Classical Rmxs, as in “Black Dragon,” the music’s vinyl context is as much a part of the end composition as is the music itself — the sway of the surface noise is on repeat, right along with the handful of purloined notes that serve as its core. “Strange Days” pulls from a full orchestra, a pixel bit of static serving as a percussive grace note. Not all the source audio is instrumental. On “Qigong” it appears to be choral sample, rendered spectral in its misty repetition. Nor are all the additions simply beats. On “Qigong” there’s a sudden, occasional, truly funky emphasis in the form of an r&b grunt. It’s quite a pleasure to get lost in the small segments that Stepner focuses on, tiny moments from long-form works turned, themselves, into voluminous chasms where beat machines run free.

Album, all 24 tracks, originally posted at bstep.bandcamp.com. More from Stepner, who is based in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, at benstepner.com, soundcloud.com/benstepner, and twitter.com/bstepbeatz.

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Ambient Footwork

A live performance for pedals (and guitar)

This live performance is something of a complement to a live video I posted last week. Both are ambient works that employ pedals to eke atmospheres from electric guitars. In the previous video, a cover of the Boards of Canada miniature “Over the Horizon Radar,” all you see is the guitar. In this one, almost all you see is the pedals. The guitar edges in from the bottom of the screen, but it’s seen from the guitarist’s perspective, so you view little more than the depth of its wooden body and fretboard, with occasional glimpses of the strings. You’re not here to just to watch the hands. You’re here to watch the feet as well, which do double duty on the various pedals. It’s a live improvisation that employs multiple filters and delays, and a single looper, to create layers of tones with just a hint of melodic momentum. Brief sequences of notes draw the listener in, but the piece is far more a triumph of texture than of song form — and that’s very much to its credit.

It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.”

Video originally posted to Anangel Argonaut’s YouTube channel.

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How Atmospheric Music Lingers Until It Breaks

A new two-track set by Chris Herbert

(Note: There will be two downloadable copies of this album up for grabs in the next edition of the This Week in Sound email newsletter. Subscribe at tinyletter.com/disquiet.)

There’s a moment deep into “Memorex Delta,” the second of the two halves of Chris Herbert’s engrossing Katushki album, when the blissful effluence that has come to define the release is interrupted. Static rises, and along with it a ringing tone that amasses intensity and volume. The static goes from white noise to rupture, from a background irritant to the sonic impression of the music breaking, failing, falling apart, and then the sound drops out — the bottom falls out. If a dying computer made music, if it uttered a death rattle, it might sound like this, the blue screen of death metal. The shift is to a darker quiet, as if the floor has disappeared and we’re left peering into an intense flux, a rancorous abyss.

On its own this abrasive denouement would be noise music, but it’s heard in a broader, lengthier context. Most of “Memorex Delta” and all of the first track, “Supposed Corona,” sets the tone with a far more nuanced, elegant, plaintive expression. Both tracks proceed as a series of lowercase-sound utterances: lightly dubby segments that repeat and overlap until you realize in retrospect that their time has passed, that something else has replaced them. The music insinuates itself in your head, so you hear it after it’s no longer playing. That’s the thing about atmospheric music. Once it becomes part of the atmosphere, it can linger.

Writes Herbert of the album:

Katushki comprises two extended pieces of structured collage. As well as characteristic systems murk, the first documents recent detours in the form of collaborative pieces alongside spontaneous explorations of fractured texture and recent radio work. The second was conceived for cassette and uses the medium as a core sound process. Themes of phasing and stippled atmospherics pervade. Working without the idea of formal tracks and away from expectations was liberating. The extended length of the pieces allowed me to focus on more atypical and personal aspects of my oeuvre.

Additional notes at the release’s Bandcamp page mention some key factors. “Supposed Corona” contains material that was first heard back in September 2015 on Australia’s FBi Radio, and that the work originally included processing by Nicholas Bullen and Elias Merino.

Album originally posted at lowpoint.bandcamp.com. More from Herbert, who is based in Birmingham, England, at chrisherbert.net, soundcloud.com/chrisherbert, and twitter.com/cjherbert.

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