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.

A Moment of Reflective Calm Before All Hell Breaks Loose

This is "Melting Square" by Suss Müsik, with Marc Manning

Suss Müsik refers to his music as “Post-classical ambient minimalism for crepuscular airports,” which seems about right. The track “Melting Square” is a flowing amalgam of overlaid guitar patterning: strumming electric beneath louche waveforms amid spaced-out echoes. It’s like the midpoint music from a Michael Mann film, a moment of reflective calm before all hell breaks loose. The track, which teams Suss Müsik with musician Marc Manning, itself gets calmer as it proceeds, the strumming eventually fading out entirely in favor of the voluminous echo, that echo then fracturing into a quietly intense, psychedelic field of ghostly twinkling.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/suss-musik. There’s no active external links on his SoundCloud page, but the easily Google-able sussmusik.com has a promising “Website coming soon / We’re on it” dated February 3 of this year.

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What Sound Looks Like

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


Spotted on a walk to the ocean, this is a marvel of truly mediocre upgrades. The added plastic buttons make you wonder if the individual tenants were left by an absentee landlord with the responsibility to replace faulty equipment themselves, and to ponder just how ragged the original hardware was that it made sense not to rewire it. Then again, perhaps the buttons are assigned to unlabeled sublets for mothers-in-law, or even for small businesses. Maybe what appears to be lazy is in fact a hasty badge of entrepreneurial zeal.

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

From Netherlands-based Kopenz

“Modderlaars” is the sort of track that is quiet enough to draw you in and dense enough to then creep up and surround you. By all rights, the minimal materials should seem tattered and light. And yet they accumulate with an unmistakable hardness, like thick musty glass, acknowledging the world but still blocking it out. Throughout is a steady pulsing that has a blood-in-the-ear intensity, especially on headphones. But much as the sounds are thin yet strong, the pulse is pounding yet slow. The result is an enticing sonic interiority. You can luxuriate in it, but you also cannot escape.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/kozepz. More from Kozepz, of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, at kozepz.bandcamp.com.

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It’s Not a “Drone” in the Military Sense

Except to the extent that it sounds that way

“That’s Not Me” feels like the sound design for the opening credits to a thriller — maybe a video game, likely a film, but in any case a very good thriller, indeed, packed with septuple agents and all matter of styling, technologically mediated skullduggery. The underlying pulse of the piece is a slow, methodical burr that rises up and cuts off. It’s like a contained flare, or an especially militant drone. The track, recorded by Adam Fielding, sets the pace for a growing assembly of careful additions. There’s a secondary beat that eventually arrives, the echo treateed as a rhythmic shadow, and then vaporous percussion and thick atmosphere synthesis fill in the space between those pulses.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/adfielding. It’s part of a Bandcamp subscriber release, Apparitions, at adamfielding.bandcamp.com. More from Adam Fielding, who’s based in Huddersfield, England, at www.adamfielding.com and twitter.com/misterfielding.

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This Week in Sound: Swan Speakers + X-Files Music

+ Mediterranean blues + fracking the atmosphere

A lightly annotated clipping service:

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The Uncanny Lake: This whimsical image is of inverted satellite dishes (with added speakers) whose design and deployment are intended to refer back to the silhouette and motion of swans. The work is an outdoor installation by Berlin-based artist Marco Barotti. So often the exposed speaker is intended to be ignored in sound art. Kudos to Barotti for making something of the form. There’s video at creativeboom.com, which provides additional information: “Two layers of sound design consisting of bass frequencies and human breath passing through brass instruments provide them with voice and motion. Eight individual audio channels are used to transport the sound through the swans, bringing them to life and remodelling the landscape.”

THE X-FILES:  David Duchovny in the "Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-monster" episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Feb. 1 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Ed Araquel/FOX

Cellphone Home: We’re now halfway through the reunion of The X-Files, and the third episode is, in my opinion, easily one of the best told and most enjoyably self-conscious episodes in the history of the show. This six-episode miniseries is clearly about the midlife crisis of Agent Mulder, whose long-held desire to believe has to, now, make due in the age of snopes.com. That scenario is a little disappointing because it leaves Agent Scully playing second fiddle, but Mulder’s self-doubt is more than enough to carry the show, and Scully makes a great foil for his crisis of xenobiological faith. This third episode, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” casts two fine comedians, Rhys Darby (the band manager from Flight of the Conchords) and Kumail Nanjiani (one of the main programmers on Silicon Valley), in roles the least said about the better, except that the duo, along with Mulder, give Scully plenty of opportunity to marvel as the sheer ridiculousness of what life as an X-Files agent involves. Scully can get sanguine, even giggly, while Mulder seems maudlin. At one point he wakes up in a cemetery with a freshly minted hangover. His cellphone is ringing. It’s playing, of course, the theme music from The X-Files. How this meta-congruity fits into the mythology of the series is unclear, but what I really wants to know is if this ringtone is reserved only for Scully. There are three more episodes to go. Perhaps all will be revealed. What’s for sure is that the ringtone works well within the overarching self-awareness of the episode (which features Darby wearing the same hat and clothing as the hero of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, which was as much a premonition of The X-Files as The X-Files was of Fringe). The score-within-the-show cellphone moment is a reassuring reminder that, like Mulder himself is advised, the audience needs to take a deep breath and stop trying to connect the dots. At least until next week.

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Basin Blues: That is a map of the Mediterranean. Despite the colors, it is not pretty. The colorful pixels are not recreational spots but locations of especially high noise density. Then again, maybe they are recreational spots as well. More importantly, the map is reportedly the first full map of “underwater noise sources” in the Mediterranean basin, the work of researchers in France, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States. The primary activity appears to be four sources: harbors, offshore activity (not just oil and gas drilling but also wind farms), seismic surveys, and military exercises. These closely map to cetacean habitats, hence the concern on the part of the researchers. The news was released as part of one of several oceancare.org campaigns to raise awareness. (Found via sonicstudies.org.) … In related news, the Telegraph reports that the noise of ocean-going ships may keep orca whales from communicating with each other.

Sonic Weapons: Via gizmodo.com, sometimes that man-made quake sensation isn’t from fracking down below, but from something on high: “Tremors felt by residents of New Jersey Shore and Long Island today prompted speculation that an earthquake had occurred—but the US Geological Survey confirmed that the rumbling sensations were caused by a sonic boom.” Measurements over at earthquake.usgs.gov.

This first appeared in the February 2, 2016, edition of the free Disquiet “This Week in Sound” email newsletter: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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