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.

tag: field-recording

100th Podcast, 20 Field Recordings

Touch Radio celebrates a milestone.


The Touch Radio series of podcasts, an offshoot of the esteemed Touch Editions label, has reached its momentous 100th episode, and it is marking the occasion with just the sort of low-impact gesture that would be expected of an enterprise that traffics in the everyday. See, much of the Touch output is field recordings: expertly recorded, lovingly sourced, casually framed documents of the sonic quotidian. The 100th episode features a montage, a medley as it were, of recordings from the archives of BJNilsen.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The sources range from ports to cemetaries, industrial factories to fishmarkets. The full list is as follows: Beachy Head, Eastbourne, England; Karl Marx Tomb, Highgate Cemetery, London, England; Whitstable Bay, Kent, England; CleanCar Berlin, Mitte, Germany; Temple Gas Works, Glasgow, Scotland; Fruitmarket City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland; Port of Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Carlsberg Brewery, Copenhagen, Denmark; Unknown Music School, Naples, Italy; Galleria Umberto, Naples, Italy; Barbed Wire, Todmorden, England; Side Street, Lisbon, Portugal; Tempelhof Airfield, Berlin, Germany; Cave, Durness, Scotland; Fishmarket, Via Tribunali, Naples, Italy; Hatún, Reykjavik, Iceland; the Jacobite Steam Train, Armadale, Scotland; London Olympic Rehearsal, Islington, London, England; Boleskine Cemetery, Scotland; Train Bridge, Nijmegen, Netherlands (MP3). The sensory overload is titled “Bottomless Perfume.”

Track originally posted for free download at touchradio.org.uk. More on Nilsen, who also did the very first Touch Radio podacast, at bjnilsen.com.

[ Also tagged / / Leave a comment ]

Disquiet Junto Project 0101: Analog Binary

The project: Make a phase composition based on the sounds of three switches.


Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.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 project was published in the evening, California time, on Thursday, December 5, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, December 9, 2013, as the deadline.

Tracks by participants will be added to this playlist as the project proceeds:

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0101: Analog Binary

Record the audio of three objects in your home or workplace that have on/off switches. Capture the unique sound of them being turned on and off. For each of the switches, record several seconds of this on/off action so you can create loops of a steady pace. Then create an original piece of music that employs phase shifts — that is, in which the tiny distinctions between loops create noticeable patterning as time progresses. You can use some light processing, but the sense of “switch-ness” of the source audio should never be lost.

Deadline: Monday, December 9, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your track’s length should be between two and five minutes.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, 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: Include the term “disquiet0101-analogbinary” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: Please consider employing a license that allows for attributed, commerce-free remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, be sure to include this information:

More on this 101st Disquiet Junto project (Make a phase composition based on the sounds of three switches) at:


More details on the Disquiet Junto at:


Associated image found via:


[ Also tagged , / / Leave a comment ]

Sound of Commerce

John Kannenberg, our man (temporarily) in the U.K.


John Kannenberg is a sound artist with a particular interest in place. Much of his work is raw or lightly edited recordings of physical environments, notably art museums. He has, in the past, reversed the idea of sound art by making sound art of places that house art. He travels with his audio recording equipment as others might with a camera or a sketch book. What follows is his audio of a shopping mall in the U.K. It is the sound of commerce, of activity and inactivity, of daily life: a barker, passing conversation, thick local accents, even the squeak of shoes against the floor. Framing lends the mundane a sense of drama. Repetition lends structure, narrative.

Track posted for free download at soundcloud.com/johnkannenberg. More from Kannenberg at johnkannenberg.com.

[ Also tagged , / / Leave a comment ]

Sound by Fire

A memorial from Ernest Gonzales of San Antonio, Texas


That is how Ernest Gonzales sums up his grief, and his way through grief: “Sound by fire.” He reports in the liner note to his new, 11:13-long piece “Cremation” that after the passing on a single day last month of his grandmother and of the man he describes as the closest thing he had to a grandfather, Gonzales took the electric guitar he received in fifth grade and ceremoniously burned it to ashes. The source audio of that destruction yielded this music.

He writes:

“It was with this instrument that I learned how to make music. There’s a lot of sentimental value with that guitar … that’s what made it really difficult for me as I plugged it in and placed it on the fire. I recorded the electrical signal the guitar made as I cremated it. I recorded the ambient sounds of the fire and my backyard as well and then took all of it into Ableton for some final touches. … The song is 11 minutes and 13 seconds. 11/13 for the day both my grandparents left earth.”

The result is an extended rumination, like a bell struck once and left to ring on and on, a full-throated and yet world-weary drone that simultaneously signals sadness and fortitude. It’s a tuned thing, this drone. On first listen, it seems singular in its capacity for bleak, systemic, sonic consumption, but in fact the pitch varies as it proceeds, like a song too slow to recognize as a song.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/exprecords. More from Gonzales at twitter.com/ernestgonzales and whileonsaturnsrings.wordpress.com. Gonzales, also known as Mexicans with Guns, earlier this year released the excellent Atonement album with Diego Bernal. Both men are based in San Antonio, Texas, where Bernal represents District 1 on the City Council. Here’s a stream of that Atonement record:

[ Also tagged / / Leave a comment ]

1 from the 7th Sequence’s 30

Cello + piano + field recordings = bliss


Among the best free-download ambient-leaning experimental music projects is the Sequence compilation series. Each collects a bounty of recent work by a wide range of contributors. The latest, Sequence7, is 30 tracks in all, the selection whittled down from approximately 200 that were submitted for consideration. The recording artists include such notables as Radere, Moon Zero, Guy Birkin, Masaya Ozaki, and Subnaught. Many of these Sequencers have participated in the Disquiet Junto series of weekly creative-restraint composition prompts. A highlight of the current album is Linear Bells, aka David Teboul, whose “San Francisco Broke My Heart” is an aching drone of cello, piano, and field recordings, a thick veil of maudlin langourousness. The sawing on the cello brings to mind the song-less country soundscapes of Boxhead Ensemble, while the way the piano peeks out of the haze suggests moments from Brian Eno’s Thursday Afternoon.

Track available for free download directly at soundcloud.com/linearbells. More on the album at futuresequence.com. More from Linear Bells (David Teboul) at linearbells.bandcamp.com and twitter.com/linearbells.

[ Also tagged / / Leave a comment ]