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

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Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

tag: field-recording

Disquiet Junto Project 0213: Complex Signatures

The Assignment: Combine three field recordings from artist Charles Lindsay to explore and express notions of perceived techno-organic intelligence.

image001

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. There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project was posted shortly before noon, California time, on Thursday, January 28, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 1, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0213: Complex Signatures
The Assignment: Combine three field recordings from artist Charles Lindsay to explore and express notions of perceived techno-organic intelligence.

This week’s project is being done in conjunction with the head of the Artist in Residence program at the SETI Institute. His name is Charles Lindsay, and he has provided us with three very different field recordings. Work completed for this project will be considered for employment in a future project of Charlie’s. Work won’t be used without the given participating musician’s permission.

Step 1: Consider what it is that Charlie is exploring in his work: “I’m thinking about evolution, entropy, sentience, and the complex signatures of intelligence: what microtonal soundtrack would best express the micro and the vast, the field and the matrix, what we call nature and what we call machine, in unity, as music or as sound?”

Step 2: Download the three tracks recorded by Charle that are in this playlist on SoundCloud. The first track was made on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, rain-forest ambient sounds caught with a parabolic microphone at nightfall. The second was made with a hydrophone at dusk amid the Bunsby Islands in British Columbia. The third was made at the D-WAVE2 Quantum Computer at NASA Ames.

https://soundcloud.com/charlies-experiment/sets/disquiet-junto-complex-signatures

Step 3: Follow this request from Charlie: “Please process, merge, and mix these tracks to seven minutes total. Imagine the final track looping indefinitely in a sound installation in a museum or gallery environment. This use of sound in controlled space is something I’m very interested in, as a real time, real space tool to blend so-called realities. Imagine dream images, much the way our mind seems to, glitches and all. I look forward to what you come up with, and thanks very much for your interest.”

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

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

Deadline: This project was posted shortly before noon, California time, on Thursday, January 28, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 1, 2016.

Length: Your track should be seven minutes in length — if that request proves too long, certainly consider submitting something shorter.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this project, and be sure to 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 in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0213-complexsignatures.” Also use “disquiet0213-complexsignatures” 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 213th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“The Assignment: Combine three field recordings from artist Charles Lindsay to explore and express notions of perceived techno-organic intelligence”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2016/01/28/disquiet0213-complexsignatures/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

The photo associated with this project is the cover of Charles Lindsay’s forthcoming book, Carbon, more on which here:

http://minormattersbooks.com/collections/books/products/charles-lindsay-carbon

And here are details on a MASS MoCA exhibit he will be participating in. It begins May 28, 2016:

http://www.massmoca.org/event_details.php?id=1045

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What Is the Sonic Domestic Utility of the Ocean Surf?

Listening to the Irish coast from the top floor of a Los Angeles hotel tower

I spent the past few days in Los Angeles at a hotel in Hollywood. My room, a small studio on the 11th floor, was awash with ocean sounds when I first walked in. The hotel had a little sound machine set up near the bed. It was on a crowded end table, what with the lamp, cordless phone, and iPhone-friendly alarm clock also sharing the space. Each item was vaguely elegant on its own, but collectively they were a matter of overkill and incongruity by accrual. The sound machine itself was fairly old, the speaker rattly, the recordings mechanical — a fax machine’s idea of surf. There were other options, too: stream, rain, white noise, and so on.

I’d had a similar experience previously at the same hotel chain in a different city, but that time I’d arrived late at night and struggled to find the source of the ocean and turn it off. I used to travel a lot for work, and became amazed by how much variation there could be in the placement and functionality of something as presumably straightforward as a light switch. It’s one thing to master the ever-mutating light switch. A “sound machine” is its own far-from-ubiquitous apparatus, a still-striving category aspiring to private-space normality. The hotel intended the sound machine to be relaxing; it was anything but.

20161009-bedside

This time around I knew how to turn it off: that helpful large element in the front center was, in fact, a very large button — so large that it was hiding in plain sight.

Days passed, and this morning, while drinking coffee and listening through Bandcamp and SoundCloud, I came upon this track (up above) by Hilary Mullaney. It’s a deeply detailed field recording of surf off the Irish coast. A brief note from Mullaney sets context:

This is an edit of a longer recording made at the waters edge on a beach in Spanish Point, Co. Clare, leaving the recording device on the ledge of a black rock to capture the surrounding sounds. It was a cold, wet and windy day in August.

I had it on repeat for a couple hours, the nearly three-minute track washing out through my laptop speakers, a brief pause at each repetition, like a dream starting over again. There’s perhaps too much detail in a track like this to serve as serene background listening — the bird song, rough noise of perhaps the recorder herself moving about, the waves and bubbles washing at imagined feet, the ocean rumbling somewhat threateningly in the distance.

20160109-ireland

It’s unclear if real ocean surf serves the same sonic domestic purpose of fake surf, if the narrative inherent in a “real” recording, especially one as thorough as Mullaney’s, can provide the intended ease of the fake surf. Perhaps the main issue with the fake-surf device is the device itself: a substandard interface, a speaker that degrades over time, a busy addition to an already overstuffed bedside. Or perhaps it is the sound itself: a mechanical lullaby that reinforces (rather than distracting the listener from) the pressures of the modern world outside the window.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/hilarymullaney. More from Mullaney at hilarymullaney.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0210: Ice Coda


The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it.

20150101-icemusic2015

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. There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Tracks added to this playlist for the duration of this project:

This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, January 7, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 11, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0210: Ice Coda

The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it.

Happy new year! This week’s project is as follows. It’s the same project we’ve begun each year with since the very first Junto project, back in January 2012.

Step 1: Please record the sound of an ice cube rattling in a glass, and make something of it.

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.

Background: Longtime participants in, and observers of, the Disquiet Junto series will recognize this single-sentence assignment — “Please record the sound of an ice cube rattling in a glass, and make something of it” — as the very first Disquiet Junto project, the same one that launched the series back on the first Thursday of January 2012. Revisiting it at the start of each year since has provided a fitting way to begin the new year. At the start of the fifth (!) year of the Disquiet Junto, it is a tradition. A weekly project series can come to overemphasize novelty, and it’s helpful to revisit old projects as much as it is to engage with new ones. Also, by its very nature, the Disquiet Junto suggests itself as a fast pace: a four-day production window, a regular if not weekly habit. It can be beneficial to step back and see things from a longer perspective.

Deadline: This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, January 7, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 11, 2016.

Length: Length is up to you, though between one and four minutes is recommended.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this project, and be sure to 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 in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0210-icecoda.” Also use “disquiet0210-icecoda” 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 210th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2016/01/07/disquiet0210-icecoda/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Photo associated with this project by Michael Scott used via Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/5vyz3G

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Disquiet Junto Project 0209: Audio Journal 2015

The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen five-second segments.

20151231-BarrySilver

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 project was posted just before noon, California time, on Thursday, December 31, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 4, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0209: Audio Journal 2015
The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen five-second segments.

This week’s project is a sound journal, a selective audio history of your past year.

Step 1: You will select a different audio element to represent each of the past 12 months of 2015. These audio elements will most likely be of music that you have yourself composed and recorded, but they might also consist of phone messages, field recordings, or other source material. These items should be somehow personal in nature, suitable to the autobiographical intention of the project; they should be of your own making, and not drawn from third-party sources.

Step 2: You will then select one five-second segment from each of these dozen audio elements.

Step 3: Then you will stitch these dozen five-second segments together in chronological order to form one single one-minute track. There should be no overlap or gap between segments; they should simply proceed from one to the next.

Step 4: In the notes field accompanying the track, identify each of the audio segments.

(Level Up: Alternately, you can use more than 12 audio segments — do two a month, or one a week, or one a day. Whatever you choose, just keep them evenly distributed across the year. You might make the segments shorter, to keep the full track length to 60 seconds.)

Step 5: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project was posted just before noon, California time, on Thursday, December 31, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 4, 2016.

Length: The track should be 60 seconds long.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this project, and be sure to 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 in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0209-journal2015.” Also use “disquiet0209-journal2015” 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 209th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen five-second segments”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/12/31/disquiet0209-journal2015/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Photo associated with this project by Barry Silver used via Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/8A6XQV

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Disquiet Junto Project 0208: In Situ

Record a composition in place using only the sounds around you.

20151224-davidkidd

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 project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, December 24, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, December 28, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0208: In Situ
Record a composition in place using only the sounds around you.

Step 1: The goal of this project is to make a composition in a short period of time, just one single sitting, from start to finish. You’ll only use the tools you have on hand (a laptop, an iPad, an OP-1, what have you). And you’ll only use sounds that you record on site. The first step is choose a time and place, preferably not at home or work, though those are certainly OK, too.

Step 2: At the appointed time, go to the place where you will make the composition. Sit for awhile and listen. Make some short source-audio recordings, preferably while remaining seated. Use only those recordings – snippets of room ambience, of overheard chatter, and so forth – as the raw material for your composition. Transform the sounds as you see fit, but do retain some recognizability. For example, if you record on a bus, then the finished track should retain something unique to the sound of a bus.

Step 3: Bonus round: use a photo of your setup/location as the image associated with your recording.

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

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

Deadline: This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, December 24, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, December 28, 2015.

Length: The length is up to you, though between one and three minutes seems appropriate.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this project, and be sure to 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 in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0208-insitu.” Also use “disquiet0208-insitu” 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 208th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“Record a composition in place using only the sounds around you”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/12/24/disquiet0208-insitu/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Image associated with this project by David Kidd, used thanks to a Creative Commons license. Note: modification and commercial use aren’t allowed, and attribution is required:

https://flic.kr/p/c3mizb

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