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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Composing in code.


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A Taste of A Winged Victory

One track from the duo's forthcoming Iris soundtrack album

Update: The full audio is up at Spotify. You can listen there.

It’s just one track for now, but it will grow 18-fold by early next year — it’ll flower, just as the one track’s opening moments, mere distant piano notes, unfold into a dense and rapturous mix of mechanized static and soaring synthesizer drones. The track is “Galerie,” and it’s the sole one to appear thus far of the eventual 18 tracks that comprise Iris. The album is the score to Jalil Lespert’s film Iris, which seems, judging by the heavy-breathing trailer, to be a sexually charged thriller. A Winged Victory for the Sullen is Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie (half of Stars of the Lid and half of the Dead Texan) and Dustin O’Halloran, who teamed with Francesco Donadello and a 40-piece orchestra for the recording.

Album originally posted at More from A Winged Victory for the Sullen at

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Stephen Vitiello’s Bifurcated Sunday

A guitar piece turned inside out.

Stephen Vitiello’s “L- guitar (Sundaybounce2)” is indeed, per the title, guitar-based and buoyant, and it does have the comfortable feel of something recorded on a day off. Of course, Vitiello is no armchair composer. Sound is his work, as an in-demand musician and artist, which means that his day off is perhaps more about experimentation, about work apart from work, about trying something out without the overarching impetus of one pressing project or another.

Much of the nearly 6 minutes of “L- guitar (Sundaybounce2)” is a plucked bit of electric six-string merging with and playing against a harmonic backdrop, the strings closely mic’d, often sounding like they’re being repeated, looped, treated, even as the melodic quality retains a charming surface that belies all the intricacy just below.

Halfway through is when the piece really takes off, when the chord gives way to a sound at most a quarter the density of what proceeded it. What follows is elements of that opening half broken and frayed, separated from each other. We’re left hearing a single note here, a torn phrase there, a bit of what could be a melodica left on its own. Often what remains is barely a note, more like the effects put upon the note, an inventory of all those intricacies. The second half is elegant and considered, purposefully apart from the charm of the opening half, and all the more imagination-teasing for the absence.

Track originally posted at More from Vitiello at He’s based in Virginia, where he’s a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Angela Wilson + Devin Sarno’s Dark Homeland

Five minutes of industrial dread

“Homeland” is a dark sonic phantasm, a five-minute dip into an echoing space that’s all muffled voices, anxious activity, and industrial dread. The track is a collaboration between Angela Wilson and Devin Sarno, heard nudging sublimated vocals, affectless expressions whose distorted syllables merge with the overall sound design. The underlying audio is a droning substrate, seemingly the result of some heavily mediated string instrument, mixed here with those contorted vocals and scratchy field recordings. In a brief post at Sarno’s website mentions that the collaboration was virtual, the two musicians trading files via email.

Later, on Facebook, Wilson wrote a bit about the process of the track: “After I read this I realized I never shared my process, this track is a culmination of extra wet granulated metro voice memos, and melting ice, under the dripping electric bass loops of Devin Sarno.”

Track originally posted at More from Sarno, who is based in Los Angeles, at More from Wilson, also from Los Angeles, at

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Disquiet Junto Project 0254: Fog and Steam

Make music from two provided samples.


Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, 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. A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required. 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.

This project was posted in the late morning, California time, on Thursday, November 10, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, November 14, 2016.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0254: Fog and Steam
Make music from two provided samples.

For the 254th weekly project, we’re going to revisit the second project, from back in early January 2012.

Step 1: Download these two samples:

Fog Horn:

Train Whistle:

Step 2: Create an original piece of music utilizing just those samples from Step 1. You can only use those two samples, and you can do whatever you want with them.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Per the instructions below, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0254” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at please consider posting your track. (Assuming you post it on SoundCloud, a search for the tag will help me construct the playlist.)

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project was posted in the late morning, California time, on Thursday, November 10, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, November 14, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you, but three minutes sounds about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0254” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, 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.

Download: It is necessary, due to the licensing of the source audio, 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 online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 254th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Fog and Steam: Make music from two provided samples” — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to for Slack inclusion.

Fog horn sample by Schaarsen:

Train whistle sample by Ecodios:

Image associated with this project is by Paul Johnson and used with a Creative Commons license:

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Hawtin + Gursky

The DJ makes music for the photographer

The patterns are where the match is made.

Andreas Gursky’s large-scale photos are rich with repetition. In his current show at the Gagosian gallery in Manhattan there’s a shot from an Amazon warehouse that looks like the Ellis Island of books. It has a clear interest in microscopic detail, commercial markets, and patterns that takes on a rhythmic sensation, much like his earlier photos of rainbow-colored candy shops, and ornate hotels, and massive apartment complex facades.


Richie Hawtin’s music is among the most minimal of technos. Under his own name, as well as under the Plastikman mantel, he pushes white noise and reverb, pin-prick beats and limited palettes, until they submerge the listener in an anxiously monochromatic aesthetic realm. And yet he never is far from the dance floor.

Gursky may have less interest in soft focus and muted colors than Hawtin, but they both embrace and intermingle hardened minimalism and commercial intrigue in their work. Thus it’s a welcome surprise that the musician has created an installation score for that Gagosian exhibit, titled Not Abstract II, which opens on November 10 and will run through December 23. The team-up got a brief mention in today’s New York Times, following earlier mentions on and that noted precedents, like Hawtin’s live Guggenheim show in 2013 and a 2012 participation in an Anish Kapoor installation at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Gagosian has posted over eight minutes of the score at its website,, and better yet it’s set to repeat. It’s little more than a dense ambient room tone serving as backdrop to slow, martial pounding, like the workings of a robotic factory floor documented in all its inhuman glory. A brief note mentions the connection between Gursky and Hawtin: “His unique hypnotic sound echoes Gursky’s exploration of the formal questions of abstraction through scale distortion and rhythmic repetition of motifs.

The combination brings to mind a recent scenario at the de Young Museum here in San Francisco, where a massive wall long inhabited by an op-art piece by Gerhard Richter made way for a video installation by Carsten Nicolai, aka electronic musician Alva Noto, who one evening took over the interior plaza and played a short concert. The connections between Richter and Noto were self-evident but where at the de Young it was a serial handing of the baton, at the Gagosian the patterning is simultaneous, layered, coincident.


From July 2 until today, November 6, there was an exhibit Not Abstract at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen Düsseldorf, where the above photo by Johannes Kraemer was shot (that’s Hawtin on the left, Gursky on the right), which also had a Hawtin score (see What isn’t clear is if the Gagosian music is a sequel or a repetition.

Less than a year after the Guggenheim exhibit there was a seven-track record put out by Hawtin of the performance. Perhaps the Gursky sounds will also be released.

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