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.


Daily recommended free MP3s + streams

Noise or Texture?

A track and a question from Kyle TM

The issue of whether something is “sound” or “music” is in the ear of the beholder, so in posting a track of incipient low-grade constrained cacophony, Kyle TM asks a less qualitative question. He wonders aloud whether his two minutes of bracing, brittle, fierce static is “noise” or “texture.” The answer may, to some degree, be a matter of volume level. Set on quiet, this is noise in the sense of white noise, a constant flux of utter, remote abstraction. Louder, though, the textural element comes to the fore, something like an array of flannel spun from rusted wire. And from within that frame, screeches and train noises and snatches of what might be music from a melodrama sneak through, perhaps illusions, perhaps source material revealing itself. In either case, a rhythm is clear, two even, one a pace-setting rumble, the other a rapid internal combustion. Titled “Terminal,” the track was originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/kyletm. More from Kyle TM at twitter.com/thekyletm.

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Beading + Hum

An entry from Taylor Deupree's ongoing sound diary

The online audio diary of Taylor Deupree continues apace, and yesterday’s entry — “november 10, 2014 (atlantis voices)” — is exactly the sort of everyday sonic figment that listeners have come to expect from him. It’s a series of swells, some beading with dissonance, others flush with an almost tactile hum, others still combining those two essences. At three minutes in length, it’s on the heftier side of his diary output. Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/12k, where he also lists the modular components with which it was recorded. All the constituent parts of his modular patch were made by the Intellijel manufacturer. More from Deupree at taylordeupree.com.

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The Technology of the Ether

An otherworldly half hour from Malmö, Sweden

We have no accepted documentary evidence of UFOs, and yet we know what they sound like. They hover, and have a tonal system apart from our own — except when, to eerie effect, they actively embrace one of Earth’s, as in the classic sequence from Close Encounters of the Third Kind — and seem both ethereal and technological at the same time. The technology of the ether is the heart of “I Assumed the Same,” a piece that Malmö, Sweden–based Pythagora (aka Dan Henry Pålsson) uploaded this week. It’s a “jamsession” (Pålsson’s word) he completed with Metek, a full half hour of murky jangles. They seem mechanical, conjuring up images of metal and routinized activity, and yet their otherworldliness is such that they can linger in the foreground and yet remain entirely out of reach.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/pythagora.

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Aphex Twin Reverses Himself

"Avril 14th," there and back again

Aphex Twin, aka Richard D. James, continues his return to semi-public existence as a musician by posting to his under-appreciated SoundCloud account, soundcloud.com/richarddjames, which as of this writing has just 7,089 subscribers. The account got some coverage this past week when he posted recordings attributed to his young son. He also revisited some of his own more youthful music, specifically “Avril 14th.” Originally appearing on the 2001 album Drukqs, “Avril 14th” is one of Aphex Twin’s most licensed tracks, having, among other things, appeared in a Sofia Coppola movie and been sampled as part of a Kanye West track (“Blame Game,” off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). The newly posted “Avril 14th Reversed Music Not Audio” is exactly that, not the song played backwards by reversing the recording, but the song played backwards a note at a time. The echo in the room is strong and seems to share a certain resonance with “Aisatsana,” the final track off Aphex Twin’s Syro, the recent album that marked his return to active pop-culture duty. It says something about the structural simplicity of the original “Avril 14th” song that the melody reversed sounds no less composed, no less thoughtful, no less lovely.

Of course, an Aphex Twin release is, as always, as much the beginning of a process as it is the end, which is to say post-release treatments have followed, such as the inevitable and welcome “what happens when you reverse the reversed” version. Hearing the melody unfold as a series of reversed notes is like listening to a funhouse mirror made of cellophane. It’s an instant-classic example of making the familiar exotic, and brings to mind the machinations that Hans Zimmer employed with the Inception score by interpolating Édith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien.” Here is the reversed reversal of “Avril 14th” by a Eugene, Oregon–based musician who goes by the name Granola:

And here, related to that room-resonance comment up top, is “Aisatsana,” off Syro:

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Disquiet Junto Project 0149: Processing the Present

The Assignment: Take a walk around the block and make something from it.


Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at Disquiet.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 evening, California time, on Thursday, November 6, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, November 10, 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 0149: Processing the Present
The Assignment: Take a walk around the block and make something from it.

This week’s project is about everyday sound and processing the present.

Step 1: Read all the steps before initiating the project.

Step 2: Trace a path on a map that will take about three minutes to walk and that will end where it began.

Step 3: Walk that route and record the sounds you experience.

Step 4: Create an original monaural recording that is the result of that field recording being processed without the recording being edited or otherwise shortened, lengthened, or reorganized. This result should, naturally, be the same length as the source recording.

Step 5: Create a track that has the original audio in the left channel and the processed audio in the right channel.

Step 6: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 7: Listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Length: Your finished work should be about three minutes long.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, November 6, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, November 10, 2014, as the deadline.

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.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0149-processingthepresent″ 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 149th Disquiet Junto project — “Take a walk around the block and make something from it″ — at:


More on the Disquiet Junto at:


Join the Disquiet Junto at:


Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:


Photo associated with this project by Jerolek and used thanks to a Creative Commons license:


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