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.

tag: gadget

First New Marcus Fischer Track of the Year

A simple loop, worthy of looping


The first sound uploaded this new year by Marcus Fischer is a tape loop experiment, the source material for which is just a metallophone and bells. The slow layering, the loose tape effects, like the brief slurring of recorded sound, and the evident crackle from seams and errant noises collectively make for an endlessly loopable listening experience: a loop intended to be looped. The track is accompanied by a photo of the employed tools, evidence of just how helpful such information can be in the appreciation of a recording. Note in particular how the length of the loop is accomplished by extending it beyond the recording device’s dimensions thanks to a pair of drinking glasses and what appear to be candles.

Track originally posted at and More from Fischer, who is based in Portland, Oregon, at

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Building a “Robot Friend”

From computers, keyboards, phones, printers, fax machines ...

“Robot Friend” opens like an early-Internet take on Pink Floyd’s “Money”: the beat is made of known, non-musical content. In place of the cash register, though, there is, foremost, the halcyon squelch of an ISP/fax handshake. According to the track’s composer/performer, Johnny Ripper, “everything in this song is made from recordings of electronic tools – computers, keyboards, phones, printers, fax machines, televisions, disk drives etc.” The result is a slow yet toe-tapping pleasure, one whose familiar verse/chorus near-monotony gains purpose thanks to its basis in everyday mechanisms.

Track originally posted for free download at More from Johnny Ripper, who’s based in Montréal, Canada, at

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SOUND RESEARCH LOG: On Gyrosurveillance

That fly on the wall could be the vibration of your cellphone:

“In the age of surveillance paranoia, most smartphone users know better than to give a random app or website permission to use their device’s microphone. But researchers have found there’s another, little-considered sensor in modern phones that can also listen in on their conversations. And it doesn’t even need to ask.”

From an article by Andy Greenberg at

This entry cross-posted from the Disquiet linkblog project

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SOUND RESEARCH LOG: The “Metallic Accent” of the Vocoder

The New Yorker posted a short, 11-minute mini-documentary about the Vocoder. Laurie Anderson praises its corporate aesthetic. Frank Gentges discusses its military history. Dave Tompkins talks about Bell Labs technical innovations (noting its “metallic accent”), among other things. There’s music from Kraftwerk, Afrika Bambaataa, and Newcleus, whose Cozmo D is interviewed; somewhat dispirated, he says with a half shrug, “Some of the dopest shit we have came out of military technology.”

The documentary is the second in the‘s Object of Interest series.

This entry cross-posted from the Disquiet linkblog project

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The Dance Music of Failing Digital Memory Systems

A downloadable 2011 performance by Valentina Vuksic


As solid state drives (SSD) rapidly put old physical digital memory into the trash bin of history, it’s worthwhile to reflect on the sounds intrinsic to them. While today SSD is widely appreciated for its near-silent operation, the primary sound source being the fan that is occasionally required to cool a computer system, in its day the physical disc drive was itself seen as a respite from the devices that had preceded it: the click of the shuffling CD player, the surface noise of vinyl, the playback mechanism of cassette tapes. Valentina Vuksic has made much of the inherent idiosyncrasies of the hard drive, the galloping clicks and fizzy transgressions, turning those signals of function and malfunction into sound for its own sake, a post-digital chamber music of delicate tensions. She’s employed the word Harddisko as an umbrella name for many of these projects.

It’s been two years since Sonic Circuits, the Washington, DC–based experimental music promoter, has updated its SoundCloud page, but there’s still plenty of engrossing listening there. A track by Vuksic dates, as well, from two years back, but since it currently shows just 331 listens, it’s safe to say it can benefit from some additional coverage. The performance is from a September 26, 2011, Sonic Circuits show at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. At nearly half an hour it is an engaging and challenging listen, the dance music of failed digital memory systems.

And here’s video of one of her Harddisko installations, from the 2007 Dutch Electronic Art Festival, including interview segments in which she describes her artistic and musical activity:

More on Vuksic’s Harddisko at More from Sonic Circuits at,, and

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