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Disquiet Junto Project 0237: Combination ABCs

The Assignment: Build a 90-second composition from three 10-second segments.

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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 shortly before noon, California time, on Thursday, July 14, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, July 18, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0237: Combination ABCs
The Assignment: Build a 90-second composition from three 10-second segments.

Project Steps:

Step 1: Record three 10-second sound elements. Keep in mind that they will be layered subsequently in various combinations. You might find it useful to set one or more of the elements to loop naturally after 10 seconds, but you might also enjoy the seam where a given loop begins again.

Step 2: Label the three 10-second sound elements A, B, and C.

Step 3: Create a 90-second track of the following sequence of standalone and combined elements: A, B, C, A+B, A+C, B+C, A+B+C, A+B, A.

Step 4: Your track is complete. However, you may opt to go back in and adjust transitions and add effects.

Three More Steps When the Track Is Done :

Step 1: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud. It’s here:

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

Step 2: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 3: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Background: This project is partially inspired by the recent book Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance, written by Katherine Profeta. In the book, Profeta notes A/B/A as a structure for contemporary dance choreography. It’s a structure I’ve noted, as well, as being perceptible in contemporary electronic music, especially drone-based music. This project is a step toward seeing what the A/B/A structure might sound like when a third element, C, is added.

Deadline: This project was posted shortly before noon, California time, on Thursday, July 14, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, July 18, 2016.

Length: The finished track should be 90 seconds long.

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 “disquiet0237.” Also use “disquiet0237” 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 237th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Build a 90-second composition from three 10-second segments” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0237/

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 on a Slack (send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for inclusion) and at this URL:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

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Bill Laswell, Bandcamp, and Interiority

A dub project with Barton Rage

Just yesterday I typed “Bandcamp” into the recipe book at IFTTT, the service that interconnects a broad range of software and, increasingly, hardware. There is plenty of music-connection available via IFTTT. SoundCloud can be set to automatically share songs with other services, like Tumblr and Twitter, and even sync with Spotify. Spotify, in turn, can save information to a Google document, send out a weekly email of the list of songs you’ve liked, and set “smart home” lights to match the color of the album you’re currently listening to (well, it’s a little more complicated than that, but such is the Internet of Things). There are tools to have music services turn off when your doorbell rings, to funnel record-album discussion to a playlist, and to text your friends recommendations.

In any case, Bandcamp has no IFTTT presence, and the absence left me wondering if that’s part of the reason I only just sorted out there’s a Bill Laswell page on Bandcamp. It’s not necessarily IFTTT specifically that nestles the service inside a less digitally connected cultural sphere. It’s that the broader employment of the sort of tools that make IFTTT function are essential to the flow of information — the sort of thing that makes a cultural object of the Internet, rather than simply on the Internet.

This isn’t to question Bandcamp’s general awesome-ness. It’s to wonder, simply, if it could be more awesome. Awesome enough that I would have known sooner that there was, for example, a Bill Laswell Bandcamp page. Bandcamp doesn’t connect accounts as fluidly as SoundCloud does, so when an album or track ends on Bandcamp, you aren’t immediately treated to something else you might not have heard before — thus limiting what has, for better and worse (more worse), “discovery.”

In any case, there is a Bill Laswell Bandcamp page, naturally at billlaswell.bandcamp.com, and highly recommended among the material there is Realm I, which teams the eminent bassist, producer, and future-dub explorer with producer and multi-instrumentalist Barton Rage. It’s a dubby treat, percussive enough to have a club-oriented pulse (a particularly subdued club), but still emphasizing echoing atmospherics. It has a welcoming interiority — which is to say, the music can be praised for exactly the sort of self-enclosed spaciousness that Bandcamp can be critiqued for.

Album originally published at billlaswell.bandcamp.com.

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João Ricardo / ocp — Drones and Beats

An excellent new full-length, Still

The 16 tracks on Still, the new album from Portugal-based OCP, aka João Ricardo, explore variations on a specific territory, a droning nocturnal space, weathered and anxious. The title cut uses quick cuts to scraping sounds and an occasional beat-like thud to initiate the listener into a dank, threatening scenario. About a third of the way through “Still,” the beat semi-resolves to something more routinized, even lounge-like, but it’s never steady, just slightly more civilized.

“Diligent Effort” has a fairly certain beat from the start, and it gains heft as it goes, eventually haloed by tones that suggest a vapor trail; simple chords provide a more normalized musical listening experience, but really just emphasize how remote the album is — sonically, emotionally, texturally.

Arguably the highlight, “Always a Priority, Never an Option” has a denser atmosphere than many of the other tracks, but it resides nonetheless at an unhealthy distance, a premonition on the horizon. Beats enter more like Geiger ticks than rhythm, and those beats scramble to get some sort of metric in order, never quite congealing. Meanwhile the atmosphere has grown closer, louder, and more enveloping.

Here’s the full album:

Album originally posted at opcabpol.bandcamp.com. More from OCP / João Ricardo, who’s based in Porto, Portugal, at joaoricardo.org, twitter.com/joaoricardo_org, and soundcloud.com/ocp.

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José Rivera / Proxemia Disorients

A work in and of transition

To orient yourself with — or, perhaps, more to the point “in” — the track “re place” by Proxemia, it can help to focus on the transitions. During the course of a mere two and a half minutes the piece runs through half a dozen or so momentary states. Stereoscopic percussion pauses for a dial tone before a deep, bass thrum makes the suddenly tiny-seeming sounds succumb to an intense depth of field. This is after scatter relays give way to a cymbal, which in turn is cut off by a radio-dial spin that’s all harsh static.

Proxemia (aka José Rivera) makes each moment count, and in doing so challenges the ear to find a place to call home. Rather than clinging to a moment, it can help to ride the changes, to listen forward to the way scenarios shift. It’s a different way of listening, one focused on what’s between modes rather than on a given mode itself. The piece closes, tellingly, with a muted ripple effect, fading to nothing in a manner that makes “nothing” just another stage in the procession.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/proxemia. More from Proxemia at proxemiasound.net.

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Daniel Lanois, Back in the Ambience

A preview track, "Heavy Sun," from the forthcoming Goodbye to Language

The good news isn’t simply that there’s a new Daniel Lanois album coming out, Goodbye to Language, due September 9 on Anti- Records. The good news is that it’s the Daniel Lanois album that many Daniel Lanois admirers have long been waiting for, one that reflects his early production work with Brian Eno (notably On Land and Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks), and nuances heard later as grace notes and sympathetic background ambience amid the productions he developed for Michael Brook, Jon Hassell, U2, and Bob Dylan, among others, not to mention his own film scores, such as the lilting Sling Blade music.

Lanois’ previous release, Flesh and Machine (2014) had many fine moments of composed quietude, like the wispy warpy opening of “Space Love” and the deeply filtered pedal steel guitar of “Aquatic,” but it was also a rangy listen, from the hard psychedelic dub rock of “The End” to the nostalgic pop of “My First Love.” In contrast, Goodbye to Language — which I’ve been enjoying an advance copy of, and will write more about when it’s released — is a self-contained whole, consistent but certainly far from samey. And the consistency is deep in the ambient zone, a mix of pedal steel and rich effects, a swampy murk full of echoes and glitches, warm swells and gentle atmopsheres.

Again, more on Goodbye to Language when it’s finally out. For now we can enjoy “Heavy Sun,” which has been up on the SoundCloud account of the Anti- label for a few days. With leisurely loops that twist back on themselves and the surfacing glimmers of guitar — either his own pedal steel or the lap steel of guest Rocco DeLuca — the track is among the album’s finest.

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