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.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0135: Sound of Summer

Record the sonic equivalent of air conditioning.

20140731-airc

Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com 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.

This assignment was made in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, July 31, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, August 4, 2014, as the deadline.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0135: Sound of Summer
Record the sonic equivalent of air conditioning.

This project is as follows. You are being asked to try to record one minute of sound that would suggest to the listener the pleasing experience of air conditioning — of the air being cooled on a hot summer day.

Deadline: Monday, August 4, 2014, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: The length of your finished work should be approximately one minute.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, 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. Also note the segment of the video you worked on.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0135-soundofsummer″ 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, and note the segment of time you composed for:

More on this 135th Disquiet Junto project — “Record the sonic equivalent of air conditioning” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/07/31/disquiet0135-soundofsummer/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

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

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums

Photo associated with this track by Egi Primayogha via a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/bp42GP

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Time in the Library with Mark Rushton

An extended Disquiet Junto piece

There are many mysteries to the Internet, among them why Mark Rushton has a total of just 173 followers at the moment on his SoundCloud account. He’s an active and frequent participant in ambient music online, with a deep archive at markrushton.bandcamp.com and a must-subscribe podcast, just to note a few of his outposts. In any case, among his most recent treats is an extended version of an earlier Disquiet Junto entry. Back in June he was among the members to record the sound of their local library and turn it into music. The first take was two minutes, which he found wanting, and so he has extended it by nearly three times. He talks a bit about the source audio in the original post:

I decided I would try to get a recording by checking out a couple of books. There were two people staffing the Service Desk, so there was a chance for additional sounds in the recording. I figured I could easily get a minute’s worth of recording, and I did. The microphone was peeking out of my shirt’s pocket in a rather unobtrusive way. I tried to be quiet and be careful with my breathing as the mic was pointing upwards at my nose.

Since the elevator exit is right around the corner from the Service Desk, I left that sound in. I thought that was an interesting start. Surely if you work the Service Desk you have to hear it all the time.

The extended version takes even more time to locate the musicality in those source elements and create a lithe, gently percussive, quotidian fantasia from them.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/markrushtoncom. More from Iowa City–based Mark Rushton at markrushton.com.

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Two Pages from a Diary

On Taylor Deupree's ongoing sound journal

Earlier this month I mentioned that the Downstream section of this site would no longer be restricted to (legally) freely downloadable music, that the section — which makes note of a piece of music daily — would expand to include music that is streamable for free in full. I chose to make the announcment with an appreciative nod to Taylor Deupree’s ongoing near-daily sound diary. This was both because it was a fine example of the sort of format and material that was being bypassed undesirably when the Downstream was restricted to free downloads, and also because an earlier such project by Deupree, back in 2009, had served as a big source of inspiration at the time for the power of casual, mid-process artist posts to provide insight into a musician’s creative process.

To wit, today’s Downstream entry is another in Deupree’s ongoing series of sonic studio snapshots. Recorded and posted just yesterday, as the track title makes clear, “July 28, 2014″ is a thick, slow-motion tempest of cicada activity: whirring wing beats and crepuscular drone. In an extended liner note, Deupree digs into the technology he used to make the track, all in this case part of his return to modular synthesis. Even if you don’t follow instrumentation with an particular interest, what is of interest is just how new some of this tech was to Deupree at the time of the track’s recording. The newest item, an oscillator, had been played by him for under an hour.

Here’s another recent piece from Deupree’s sound journal (“July 25, 2014″): a creative use of a sequencer to play a piano-like series of notes, all heard here as if through melted glass:

Track posted originally at soundcloud.com/12k. More from Deupree at taylordeupree.com and the record label he runs, 12k.com.

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A Classical Timbre

An ambient frozen moment from Forelight

Forelight’s “Speckled Light” bears the primary tag “ambient” in its SoundCloud posting. The track embodies a certain ether vibe that certainly accounts for the association, but the track challenges the category as well. For all its shaft-of-sun frozen-moment epiphany-on-hold stasis beauty, it opens with a fast moving crescendo and comes to embody waves of underlying rhythmic current, the sort of motion that can cause disorientation, like being in the back seat of a cab after a long night. It’s a beautiful track. There are numerous “types” of tonality in ambient music, from dance-club lounge, to slick synth spiritualism, and the timbre here is more inherently symphonic: chordal, dense, rooted. And there’s the added mystery of about two minutes of hissy near silence that follow the five-and-a-half-minute audio.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/forelight.

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Two by Robert Crouch

A live improvisation and a microsonic excursion

Two pieces from one musician. “June 19″ is a rich drone-informed excursion with a slowly morphing core. Robert Crouch, who committed “June 19″ to tape, explains in a brief liner note that it is “completely improvised,” and that such an approach is unusual for him. He lists an array of modular synthesis components employed (“Mutable Instruments Braids, Intellijel Korgasmatron II, Makenoise Rene, Makenoise Echophone, Pittsburgh VILFO, Grendel Formant Filter, and Harvestman Tyme Sefari II”), but the music is the thing, in this case an often sultry piece of near stillness that sounds like what Herbie Hancock might have recorded in the early 1970s after spending a long afternoon in at a museum exhibit of a John Cage retrospective.

While “June 19″ dates from a little over a month ago, an untitled piece from about a year back makes a good point of contrast. In breathy tempo and general hazy aspect, it is a parallel work, but slight adjustments in tone make is considerably less sultry and more ethereal — less Earth, more Heaven. Crouch has tagged it as “microsound” and it has a lower-case aesthetic certainly that’s fitting to that tag, though an underlying texture, like that of a ragged speaker cone, serves ultimately to ground the recording.

“June 19″ and the untitled piece were originally posted at Crouch’s soundcloud.com/robert-crouch account. More from Crouch, who is based in Los Angeles, at robertcrouch.com.

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