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.

What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


One building, one door, one mailbox, two buttons, both the same model, but one new, one quite old, one labeled A, one with its previous label removed, the outline of the latter left behind like the adhesive of a bandaid on a child’s shin.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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David Torn, Live (Video)

An early listen to what became Only Sky

The latest David Torn album, Only Sky (ECM), feels like the album he’s been striving for his whole recording career. It manages to find a place at home with his interest in deep, expansive atmospherics, and yet that place is one in which Torn’s pyrotechnic fluency with stringed instruments isn’t entirely put aside. In fact, the intensity of his actions feeds the equal intensity of the ambient foundation, often in the form tiny fragments set on repeat until they merge into a mist. The video follows his manipulation of the sounds, how the automation lets him trade instruments — between electric guitar and oud — without missing a beat. And better yet, at the end he speaks to the audience, apparently back in March 2013, two full years before the album’s release, at a TEDxCaltech event. What he’s playing is what became the album’s title cut.

Video at youtube.com. Found via Michael Ross’ great guitarmoderne.com website. More from Torn at davidtorn.net.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0182: Diverge Converge

Do a rendition of Ethan Hein's laptop orchestra score by yourself.

divergence-convergence

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 early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, June 25, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, June 29, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0182: Diverge Converge
Do a rendition of Ethan Hein’s laptop orchestra score by yourself.

Step 1: The following is Ethan Hein’s score for laptop orchestra. You will record a version that you will do by yourself — an orchestra of one:

  • Each performer loads a short, shared sample. It should have a distinct attack and decay, for example a bell or gong. It can be pitched or unpitched, musical or unmusical.

  • Each performer triggers the sample repeatedly, either as a steady loop or at any arbitrary time interval.

  • After a few repetitions, each performer manipulates the sample as they see fit, via pitch shifting, time stretching, filtering, or other effects. Transformations should be gradual and clearly perceptible.

  • Once the entire ensemble is playing altered versions of the sample, the performers begin to undo their manipulations, preferably in the reverse order that they were originally applied.

  • When all performers have resumed playing back the original sample, the piece ends.

Step 2: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 3: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, June 25, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, June 29, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work is up to you, but between one minute and four minutes is probably best in this context.

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. 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 “disquiet0182-divergeconverge” 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 182nd Disquiet Junto project (“Do a rendition of Ethan Hein’s laptop orchestra score by yourself”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/06/25/disquiet0182-divergeconverge/

The piece is based on Ethan Hein’s score, more on which here:

http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/brahmss-third-racket/

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/

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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


When is a doorbell not a doorbell? When it’s the doorbell next to your front door, that many years later — well over half a century — was rendered useless when a metal gate was eventually installed at the sidewalk. There’s another doorbell, quite plain, at the gate of our house. This ornate if hollow item just sits quietly. The vestigial doorbell. The emeritus doorbell.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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The Laptop Orchestra as Remix Engine

A piece by Ethan Hein

divergence-convergence

Friends who have attended creative-writing MFA programs have said the best thing about them is simply the unadulterated time during which to write. Friends who have done advanced programs in musical composition have stated even more practical concerns: That thesis or dissertation project may be the last time they’d ever hear their music performed by an actual orchestra (or chamber group, or chorus — insert your dream ensemble here).

Ethan Hein, a prolific writer on the intersection of music theory and sampling, among other subjects, expressed that sort of pleasure when he posted his “Divergence/Convergence Remix,” a rapturously chaotic mix of chance sonic encounters and hip-hop–derived syncopation. Hein writes of it:

My first legitimate composition to be performed by someone other than me. I was asked by Daphna Naphtali to write it for the NYU Laptop Orchestra. You can read about the process of writing the piece and see the score here: www.newmusicbox.org/articles/brahmss-third-racket/

The recording is the debut performance of Divergence/Convergence at NYU. While I was asked not to include dance beats in the piece, there was nothing stopping me from adding them to the version I posted here. I feel like they really tie the whole thing together.

There’s a more in-depth piece at newmusicbox.org in which he tracks his interest in the laptop orchestra, debates the aesthetics of classical music from John Cage to John Cleese, considers the role of pleasure in art, and then shares the rule set at the heart of “Divergence/Convergence”:

Each performer loads a short, shared sample. It should have a distinct attack and decay, for example a bell or gong. It can be pitched or unpitched, musical or unmusical.

Each performer triggers the sample repeatedly, either as a steady loop or at any arbitrary time interval.

After a few repetitions, each performer manipulates the sample as they see fit, via pitch shifting, time stretching, filtering, or other effects. Transformations should be gradual and clearly perceptible.

Once the entire ensemble is playing altered versions of the sample, the performers begin to undo their manipulations, preferably in the reverse order that they were originally applied.

When all performers have resumed playing back the original sample, the piece ends.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/ethanhein. More from Hein at ethanhein.com. (Full disclosure: while writing about his piece, Hein refers to the Disquiet Junto as “the internet’s most happening electronic music collective,” which means a lot to me.)

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