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

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

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When Microsound Isn’t Too Micro

A mini master class from Taylor Deupree

Gorgeous fragment from Taylor Deupree’s ongoing 2015 Studio Diary. Little tones, apparently from an electric piano, refract and poke and flitter at semi-regular intervals, all through a sweet veil of echoing ambience. This piece is quiet, expressly so. It isn’t deep, granular microsound quiet, in which the quiet gets loud, like how electron microscopy exposes a busy, itchy world unto itself. It’s simply “closely mic’d” quiet, in which the action of the piano, and other elements — both tactile ones and artifacts of the production process — almost become as prominent as the playing itself, in fact become part of the playing, since for Deupree the studio is his instrument as much, if not more, than the pianos, synthesizers, and effects boxes that the studio happens to house.

Track originally posted to soundcloud.com/12k. More from Deupree at taylordeupree.com

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The “Buddha” Expands and Recedes

A playlist of reworkings of my "Six-String Buddha" ambient guitar loop

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I’ve written about some of these individually, but now that there are six of them, I’ve started collating them. This is a playlist of tracks that remix or otherwise utilize as source material a simple minute of looping layers of electric guitar that I recorded. The original track is titled “Six-String Buddha.” It was created for the 189th Disquiet Junto project. The 190th project used tracks from the 189th project as source audio, and several of the tracks in this playlist came out of the 190th project.

In the 190th-project versions, my piece is one of at least three elements, and thus has varying degrees of relative presence. It’s a real learning experience hearing part of what you’ve done become part of something larger, something to which you provided little if any input, even if technically it wouldn’t have existed without your effort. It’s a great pleasure.

Playlist originally posted at soundcloud.com/disquiet.

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Loop These 45 New Seconds from DJ Krush

A brief/endless taste of the forthcoming Butterfly Effect

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Now, 45 seconds isn’t much on which to judge a track, let alone a record. But it’s been over a decade since DJ Krush released an original full-length studio album, 2004’s 寂 -Jaku-, so we’ll take what we can get. A full three years since he last updated his SoundCloud page (soundcloud.com/dj-krush-official) comes a pair of samples from the forthcoming Butterfly Effect.

The lounge-friendly, self-forwardly romantic “Future Correction” is on the more populist end of Krush’s approach to hip-hop/soul production: steady beat, lilting piano, shimmery washes of sound. It’s very much W Hotel lobby music, but a dramatic fissure early on suggests some promise, as do stereoscopic effects and the way that piano at times pierces the background-music veil and risks irritating the ear at a high register.

The real treat is the far more muddy, dire, and percussively inventive “Probability.” I played this on loop for an hour shortly after Krush announced the upload on his Facebook page. At first the track is marked primarily by the fundamental loping beat common to downtempo instrumental hip-hop. But on repeat listens, so much emerges from the darkness: deep glottal chanting, castanet-like finger snaps, backward-masked sweeps of nervous sound, deliciously peculiar sonic squiggles, and many more delectable little touches. After an 11-year lull, the sheer detail of “Probability” is proof that DJ Krush has, in fact, been very, very busy in the recording studio.

Butterfly Effect is due out September 26. “Probability” segment originally posted at soundcloud.com/dj-krush-official. More from Krush at his official page, sus81.jp/djkrush. Bonus: the album cover is by accomplished anime director Koji Morimoto, who cut his teeth on Akira.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0190: Missed Connections

Set two out-of-sync loops atop each other, and then add sonic glue.

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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.

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

This assignment was made in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 20, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 24, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0190: Missed Connections
Set two disjointed loops atop each other, and then add sonic glue.

Last week’s project involved using loops to accrue layers. This week’s project involves layering loops. You needn’t have participated in last week’s project to participate in this week’s.

These are the steps:

Step 1: Choose two tracks from last week’s Disquiet Junto project. Be sure to use tracks that include a license that allows for non-commercial reworking. If you’re not sure, either choose a different track, or inquire with the musician. the project is here:

https://soundcloud.com/disquiet/sets/disquiet0189-tonelayer

Step 2: From each of those two tracks, select one loop-able segment. Be sure the segments are of different lengths.

Step 3: Create a long string of each of the two loops from Step 2 by repeating them over and over. That is: make one long string of AAAAA… and make one long string of BBBBB…, where A and B are the two loops. (That is: Do not go ABABAB.)

Step 4: Layer the two tracks resulting from Step 3 for a single track of about one to two minutes in length.

Step 5: Add one element of your own to the result of Step 4 that serves to combine the two disparate loops into one composition.

Step 6: Record a document of these layered loops lasting approximately one to two minutes in length (longer is certainly fine).

Step 7: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 8: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 20, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 24, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work should be approximately one to two minutes in length (longer is certainly fine).

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, 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 include the term “disquiet0190-missedconnections” 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 link to (and identify) the two SoundCloud pages for the source audio you selected:

More on this 190th Disquiet Junto project (“Set two out-of-sync loops atop each other, and then add sonic glue”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/08/20/disquiet0190-missedconnections/

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/

Image associated with this project by Theilr, and used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/saiGo

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Listening from Wittgenstein’s Steps

A Dublin field recording from Susanna Caprara

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Susanna Caprara works widely under the moniker La Cosa Preziosa, or “the precious thing.” Originally from Italy but living now in Dublin, Ireland, she posts experimental audio work and field recordings to her SoundCloud account. The latter are generally brief segments of daily life. Part of what distinguishes her field recordings is that they often are not pristine documents of specific sounds, but instead snatches of the broader array of sounds in which those sounds are heard. They are frequently messy (in a good way) and lively, more along the lines of diary entries than encyclopedia entries.

A recording of a bagpipes player, for example, entertaining a crowd in front of a department store has nearly as much crowd noise as it does the sound of that slurry, fuzzy bellows instrument, and it is a cause for her reflections (at her soundreflections.org site): “there is a strange excitement in the air, and with all the surrounding shops still closed this man has the full & undivided, freezing-cold audience’s attention.”

Among her most recent uploads is an echoing track made inside the Botanic Gardens in Dublin, abundant with a chatty naturalism, a mix of constructed natural space and bystander conversations. The piece is itself a construction, made from three different spots: “outdoors, by the stream in the rockery, and at the Wittgenstein steps (inside The Palm House greenhouse).” It’s a great example of how field recordings can be as much about memory and experience as they can be about taxonomy and data.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/lacosapreziosa. More from Susanna Caprara’s La Cosa Preziosa at twitter.com/lacosapreziosa and lacosapreziosa.net. The photo of the Wittgenstein plaque is from her blog post.

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