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.

field notes

News, essays, reviews, surveillance

What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from

This wire dangles near the side door of a friend’s home, which I visited last week when I was on vacation. The home is having significant work done on it, involving the remodeling of all three floors and most of the existing rooms. There’s a main entrance to the home on the first floor, next to the garage, but due to how the property is landscaped, you could find yourself easily following a path up and around to the side of the house. A doorbell makes sense. Why exactly the crew doing the work decided to put the cable hole so far from the door, however, isn’t necessarily clear. Presumably a doorbell is a simple thing, just a dot the size of a finger tip, perhaps with a small frame around it. But perhaps in our time of connected devices, of networked domestic life, of semi-sentient consumer products, the general contractor was planning for a far wider and more talented contraption, something with a camera, something with a speaker-microphone combination — less a side-door welcome than a state-of-the-art surveillance apparatus.

An ongoing series cross-posted from
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Disquiet Junto After the End of SoundCloud Groups

Processes and platforms in the near term, and after

This morning SoundCloud announced that it is sunsetting it Groups functionality. This is the note that came today to Groups moderators:

We’re constantly looking for ways to make it easier for creators to share their work and connect with new fans. As well as adding new features and updates, we review existing features to see if they’re still beneficial to the community.

As we dug into the best ways for curators to connect with artists and fans, we found that Groups aren’t working as well as reposts, and curated playlists.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to phase out Groups on Monday, August 22nd to make room for future updates. Until then, you can collect, like or repost the content you would like to save, and connect with your fellow Group members.

As a Group moderator, we understand the following you’ve built by moderating submissions to your Groups — we suggest to keep that following going by creating a profile to curate. You can use Reposts and Playlists to share suitable tracks, and accept submissions via Messages.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can continue to improve your experience on SoundCloud. Send your ideas and feedback by replying directly to this email.

Here is the note that I sent out just now to the members of the Disquiet Junto email list ( The short version: the Disquiet Junto is not going away.

Dear Members of the Disquiet Junto,

You may have read about upcoming changes to SoundCloud, specifically that the Groups functionality is going to be mothballed.

Just to be clear, the Disquiet Junto is not going away. More on that below.

SoundCloud has been incredibly supportive of the Junto since the group was founded back in January 2012. The Junto was, in fact, devised with the Groups functionality in mind. In many promotional/editorial ways, SoundCloud employees have played a big role in helping the Junto build an audience and its membership. Key personnel there have also been especially responsive to technical queries over the years. (Speaking of which, on an unrelated note, if you know someone at Instagram who is supportive, I have a small request I’d like to make.)

With the SoundCloud Groups functionality going away (technically the old groups will be frozen in state), I’m now pondering next steps. There are various options.

Certainly for the short term, the Junto will proceed on the SoundCloud service. I’m not sure how exactly I’m going to manage the production of playlists, but my current workflow thought is as follows:

Step 1: Participant posts track to SoundCloud.

Step 2: Participant (privately) messages me the track’s URL.

Step 3: I then add the track to two playlists: (1) an overall group playlist and (2) a project-specific playlist.

The end result is that there still would be, as with the current group page, a playlist that allows Junto participants and observers to witness all tracks as they’re added. (An alternate to Step 2 above is the participant tags my username, @disquiet, in the comment of the track. That could save a step that messaging would require.)

There actually some potential small benefits to this scenario. One benefit is that it’s harder this way for someone to spam the group, because they have to get through me first. (Spam has been a hassle, not because of the process of removing tracks, but because of how rude people can be when I do so.) The other benefit is that participant messages (or comment tags) will automatically ping me, which in turn means I don’t have to check the Junto page multiple times a day (as I do now) to see if new tracks have been added. This would also, come to think of it, free up whatever part of my brain remembers the most recent track that I’ve already added to the group — and believe me, freed-up brain space is attractive to me, even in tiny increments.

There are, of course, demerits to the change, and while I have no plans to vacate SoundCloud, I would be ill advised not to think about ways to potentially migrate the Junto down the road, either to another service or to the Junto’s own dedicated online space. I’m interested in seeing what Naviar Haiku and other groups based on SoundCloud do. The Weekly Beats site ( is worth taking a look at in this regard. Likewise, the great Stones Throw Beat Battle uses a public message board (in contrast with our semi-private Junto Slack) as a way to track participation. It’s here:

For the Junto, I don’t currently see this Groups-function sunset as a huge issue. I think it’ll potentially have a more adverse effect on groups dedicated to particular types of software and hardware, as I’m not sure how a dedicated Octatrack or OP-1 or Monome (etc.) group would transition to a playlist-only system. Then again, I’m only just now beginning to think about all this.

Anyhow, I wanted to get my thoughts on this out as soon as possible. As always, if you have any input on options for the future, that’d be super. A year or so ago I put out a call for a Disquiet “board of advisors,” and ironically I was so overwhelmed by the response (about 35 people offered to participate) I just haven’t had the time to (yet) act on the generosity.

Thanks for reading.

Best wishes from San Francisco,


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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from

Scored a half dozen hip-hop 12″s at Amoeba for the instrumentals. First up, Common and Mark the 45 King’s “Car Horn.” Next up, a pair of Beatnuts 12″ instrumentals: the so-so “Let’s Git Doe,” and the super “Find Us” (sweet guitar break) / “Hot” (stompin’). Followed by the Roots’ “You Got Me” (with Erykah Badu). The A-side instrumental is a little loungey, but the remix B-side makes it worth it. Whew. The Tajai (Souls of Mischief, Hieroglyphics) “Do It” (taut horns) will be the score of the haul. (Backed by anxious “The Weatherman.”) I could listen to that screech on Cypress Hill’s “How I Could Just Kill a Man” for an hour. The 12″ is the Spanish version, but the vocal hook is still in English in the instrumental. That’s on the B-side, along with “Another Victory,” of the 12″ of Cypress Hill’s “Worldwide.” And that’s today’s hip-hop haul.

An ongoing series cross-posted from
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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from

Next-gen music technology courtesy of the House of Ideas. This is from the first issue of Vision, which popped up recently on Marvel Unlimited, the digital subscription service of Marvel Comics. Vision is written by Tom King and drawn by Gabriel Hernandez Walta.

An ongoing series cross-posted from
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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from

Getting the plan in order for tomorrow’s Disquiet Junto project.

An ongoing series cross-posted from
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