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.

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Detail from Daredevil (2014) #1, written by Mark Waid.

Cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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Disquiet Junto Project 0146: Swyping Silence

The Assignment: Make a short piece of music based on a typographic symbol for the word "silence."

20141016-silence

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at Disquiet.com, 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.

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, October 16, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, October 20, 2014, as the deadline.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0146: Swyping Silence
The Assignment: Make a short piece of music based on a typographic symbol for the word “silence.”

In this week’s project a symbol for the word “silence” will be probed for its sonic associations. The image is available at this URL:

http://goo.gl/swcNxA

As is evident in the image, this is the “Swype” gesture for the word “silence.” Swype is an alternate text-entry system in which a single stroke along the various keys that spell a word trigger the word’s appearance, in contrast with the traditional keyboarding method of typing with one keystroke after another. The resulting symbols for words can take on a certain familiarity and even a kind of enchantment as time passes and frequency of use increases. The symbol that results from the word “silence” has many characteristics, including bit not restricted to the sideways hourglass timer, the inherent asymmetry, and the mix of sharp angles and curves.

The steps for this week’s project are as follows:

Step 1: Consider the symbol that results from using the Swype technique to enter the word “silence” on a keyboard, as shown in image at this URL:

http://goo.gl/swcNxA

Step 2: Develop sonic associations with this symbol.

Step 3: Produce a short piece of music informed by those associations.

Step 4: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

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

Length: Your finished work should be between one and three minutes long.

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.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0146-swypingsilence″ 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 146th Disquiet Junto project — “Make a short piece of music based on a typographic symbol for the word ‘silence’″ — at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/10/16/disquiet0146-swypingsilence/

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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Asynchronous Serendipity + Piano Beats

Getting Screws, again — a French reworking of Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm’s 2012 Screws EP is the gift that keeps on giving, not just because it was made available for free download, and continues to be available for free (at screws.nilsfrahm.com), but because variations on his intimate themes, all recorded on piano when one of his fingers was inactive due to an injury, continue to pop up at unexpected intervals. Such asynchronous serendipity is one of the underlying pleasures of music produced amid a culture informed by the Creative Commons, in which non-commercial reworkings of existing material is encouraged, even rewarded. Back in January 2013, shortly after the year anniversary of the Disquiet Junto weekly music project series, we did a group take on the Screws audio, and 51 of those tracks are still online. More recently, as an example of the album’s continued existence as a source of inspiration, Fred Yaddaden of Lyon, France, committed an elegantly rhythmic reworking of the Screws track “Fa.” It opens with some scratchy sounds, resembling the surface noise often employed as a signifier of authenticity in hip-hop, but here quite likely lifted from the noises that result from Frahm’s penchant for using close microphones to capture the gestural intimacy of performance. From there he curtails much of the willfully meandering original and structures from it a simple, patient new track.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/fred-yaddaden. More from Yaddaden, who is based in Lyon, France, at lzorecords.com.

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New Album from Makers of Buddha Machine

Sample one of its six tracks in advance of the release.

20141014-fm3

There is a new album coming from the creators of the Buddha Machine, the tidy little looping box that gained renown as a consumer-grade piece of sound art. This would be the China-based duo of Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian, collectively known as FM3.

Titled Ting Shuo (or, in Chinese, 听说), the forthcoming album is a six-track collection, one track of which is currently available for download in advance of the November 2 full release. The initial piece of music to be shared is the title track, “Ting Shuo,” which layers slow-moving strings above a lightly pulsing beat. It plays like something from a particularly reflective moment in a Michael Mann film.

In an announcement about the record, FM3 notes that this is the group’s first full-length album in a decade, though of course in that same time they’ve introduced several generations of Buddha Machines and related devices. The Bandcamp page for the album shares the following information by way of listing instrumentation: “Cello, Steinway Grand Piano and a vintage Roland keyboard meet for this journey of melody, mood and meditation.” There’s also a brief note about the origins of the work: “Ting Shuo evolved during a series of concerts across China and Hong Kong in 2013-14. It was recorded in hotel rooms and studios along the way and mastered in Berlin by Kassian Troyer.”

More on Ting Shuo at buddhamachine.bandcamp.com. More from FM3 at fm3buddhamachine.com and twitter.com/buddhamachine.

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San Jose Museum of Art visitors checking out my Sonic Frame installation, part of the current Momentum exhibit.

Cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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