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.

field notes

News, essays, reviews, surveillance

via instagram.com/dsqt

Pre-SFEMF warm up. Excited to see Nicolas Collins live for the first time. #1985

Cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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The Hamlet of CMS Cross-pollination

I've turned off the sound.tumblr.com -> Disquiet.com autofeed.

There’s probably no one who cares about this but me, but I wanted to mention that for the time being I’ve turned off the IFTTT “recipe” that automatically would take new posts from my sound.tumblr.com site and then post the material here at Disquiet.com. The reason is simple: there’s a lot published at sound.tumblr.com on a daily basis, because it’s a linkblog, and it can overwhelm Disquiet.com. I came to this realization this month: my sensitivity to not overwhelming the Disquiet.com editorial balance was actually keeping me from posting more frequently to sound.tumblr.com site. And the point of the sound.tumblr.com site is to have as little in the way of a filter as possible — to just use it as a repository for lightly annotated links about the role of sound in the media landscape. On occasion I’ll do roundups here at Disquiet.com of highlights from sound.tumblr.com, and if a given sound.tumblr.com takes on a little heft, I’ll cross-post it here, as I did earlier today with the piece on the sound of dining.

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Global Time Stamp of Listening

A small experiment at 2:15am, Pacific Time


Despite the fairly geographically dispersed nature of my Twitter feed, it has its own evident cycles. Each day around 6pm in California, where I live, the feed quiets down, and when I wake in the morning, generally around 6am, not a whole lot appears to have transpired, despite the presence of plenty of Australians and Japanese, among others, in my mix.

Last night, to probe the dark hours, I set an automated tweet as a little experiment, to find out what people were hearing elsewhere. (I used the same IFTTT.com tool that auto-tweets for me the Tuesday noon civic warning siren here in San Francisco.) I wrote, just shy of 140 characters:

It’s 2:15am (this tweet’s automated). If you’re reading it, you’re likely not in the U.S. Please tweet back what you hear. #listening

The replies were gratifying, like transcriptions of recordings of utterly failed stake-out surveillance from around world.

Martin Dittus, whose account doesn’t list a location but whose desktop.de URL sports the German suffix, wrote:

@disquiet i hear a machine learning geek talking about L1 norms

Beth, who lives in Newcastle, in the U.K., wrote as follows. Her parenthetical — “(distant)” — serves as a nice summary of this entire little endeavor:

@disquiet Autechre, birds, plane (distant), voices (distant).

Darren Shaw, who lives in Rochdale, in the U.K., wrote:

@disquiet office chatter, computer fans, whine of HMI lights, phone notification beeps.

Nathan Thomas, who has a UK URL (afternoondust.co.uk), wrote:

@disquiet photocopier, keyboard clacking, an apple being bitten into, computer fans #officedrone

Inevitably, the middle of the night in the U.S. doesn’t entirely limit North American participation.

Chris Hutson of Peoria, Illinois, wrote:

@disquiet i’m an insomniac in the USA and i hear crickets and frogs

Lee Rosevere, who’s based in British Columbia, wrote:

@disquiet Simple Minds “Don’t you forget about me” playing in the studio.

Joshua Anderson, who lives in Buffalo, New York, and was up early, wrote:

@disquiet crickets, a fan, my wife moving a plastic bag

And Chicago-based Cinchel weighed in after the fact:

@disquiet i’m 3hrs late..but at 5am CST i was listening to cats running around my apt playing with a pen

I may do this again, either the same way, or with a different query and with a different time stamp.

(Globe photo by Kenneth Lu, thanks to flic.kr and Creative Commons.)

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How Silent Is the Silent Meal?

A quiet zone in Brooklyn

It seems fair to say that a meal without good conversation is never going to be a great meal. It’s arguable that good food is, in fact, just part of a good meal. But there’s another point of view on the topic. A New York City restaurant, named Eat, via bostonherald.com, is emphasizing food in exclusion from conversation, with an emphasis on a kind of monastic experience (well, monastic aside from the cost of entry). Eat, based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, holds a “silent meal” one Sunday each month, organized by the restaurant’s Nicholas Nauman.

As Richard Morgan points out in The Wall Street Journal, the individuals doing the dining aren’t the only source of noise, and Eat is onto this:

In a New York magazine essay in July on the “Great Noise Boom” at city restaurants, food critic Adam Platt pointed out the on-purpose loudness of top-dollar spots including Babbo and Le Bernadin, noting that Midtown’s Lavo restaurant “was measured at 96 decibels, louder than the whine of a suburban lawn mower.”

Perhaps, though, the patrons themselves are as much to blame as the establishments, with their awful offal blather and endless prattle about every nuance and sub-nuance of the food. And that’s not to mention the all-too-familiar smartphone zombie meal, where diners are glued to their iPhones and Androids.

Mr. Nauman’s goal was to call out dining’s sound and fury on both sides of the kitchen.

There’s also some great listening notes in Morgan’s piece: “At 8:12, the first muffled sneeze. At 8:20, the first throat cleared.”

And Julia Kramer in Bon Appétit notes that silence can lead to other forms of civility:

While guests at the Brooklyn dinner were reportedly texting, making paper airplanes, and sustaining conversation through hand gestures, there was absolutely none of that at the silent dinner I attended.

Hermione Hoby at theguardian.com mentions Honi Ryan’s traveling silentdinnerparty.com feast as a point of comparison, and touches on what could be perceived as a resulting alienation from the world:

for the next 90 minutes, the only human voice I hear comes from a woman talking loudly into her phone as she walks past on the street. If she had happened to have looked to her left, she would have seen an illuminated restaurant and 21 silent heads turned to look at her.

Perhaps the diners were merely turning their heads at the intrusion, though it seems like a kind of received righteous indignation — external quiet apparently doesn’t always lead to internal quiet.

Details at eatgreenpoint.com.

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via instagram.com/dsqt

The city no doubt makes especially intense generative music here.

Cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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