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: junto

Forum Digging and the Fate of Netlabels

I was interviewed for WFMU's Radio Free Culture podcast.

Radio Free Culture WFMU exists to, per its credo, “examine issues at the intersection of digital media and the arts.” I was excited to be interviewed for the podcast by Erik Schoster, aka the musician He Can Jog. We talk about a wide range of subjects, including the role of netlabels in the age of streaming, listening strategies in our age of sonic abundance (forum digging as the new crate digging), the benefits and challenges of platform agnosticism (in light of the Disquiet Junto’s shifting dependence on SoundCloud), the imminent 250th weekly Disquiet Junto project, the imminent 20th anniversary of Disquiet.com (December 13, 2016), and the return to active duty of Aphex Twin.

As of August 30, 2016, I’ve updated this with the audio embedded. You can also listen at prx.org.

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The Generative Patch as Fixed Recording

A live video by Flohr of Atlanta, Georgia

Like yesterday’s featured video, this video pushes the legibility of live filmed performance. Yesterday’s technically involved multiple live takes overlaid, each obscuring the others, and the ambient quality of it having less to do with any individual performance in the first place and more with the chance correlations that occurred as a result of the post-production act of accrual. Today’s video, by Flohr, is too murky and unidentifiable to ever be mistaken as a tutorial. And, of course, any modular synthesizer piece, such as this, that employs self-generating patches thus involves little if any human interaction. The hand comes down from above, the scale and surprise a bit like a Monty Python animation, a couple times, but by and large, this is really a live performance as fixed document — a patch playing out in realtime as something set in stone nonetheless, or in this case set in plastic and metal. The piece, “Spring Reverb Feedback Paths” by Flohr, is a shiny, rapidly cycling shimmer worth putting on repeat.

Flohr is Eric Flohr Reynolds of Atlanta, Georgia. More from him at soundcloud.com/flohr and ericflohrreynolds.bandcamp.com.

It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.”

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Delay in Multiple Directions

An effort of layered sameness

Echo, reverb, delay — common elements in ambient music, as they take sound and expand the space in which the sound resounds, the space the sound suggests, the impression the effects in turn give of a large hall, a deep cistern, a lengthy corridor. By expanding that space, they make space the prevalent concept of the music, the organizing principle. Music that makes you think about its spaciousness makes you stop thinking about it merely as a forward progression. To think spatially is to think in multiple directions at once, and to think of them as having relatively equal value. Even if the spacious music isn’t expressly static, like a drone, it is still distinct from music that moves firmly from beginning to end.

All of this came to mind while listening to an overlay video by Bassling, aka Jason Richardson of Australia. He posted a piece in which multiple test runs of a Junto project — the current one, which involves providing a mini-tutorial for a favorite skill — are played atop one another. The impression is of echo, of a single motif repeating off into the distance. But the effect, the reality, is quite different. Certainly for each note there are others than follow, but it isn’t consistent in which of the layers the note is first heard. Likewise, the notes fade in near unison, rather than in sequence. Thus the echo effect is complicated significantly — made both flatter and more chaotic. The layering itself was inspired by a previous Junto project, one proposed by Brian Crabtree (a developer of the Monome grid instrument), called “layered sameness.”

More from Richardson on the piece at bassling.blogspot.com. Video originally posted at YouTube..

It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.”

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Disquiet Junto Project 0242: Share Yer Knowledge

The Assignment: Make (and annotate) a track that provides an example of a trick/skill/tip you want to share about a piece of musical software or hardware.

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Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, 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. A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required. 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.

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, August 18, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 22, 2016.

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

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0242: Share Yer Knowledge
The Assignment: Make (and annotate) a track that provides an example of a trick/skill/tip you want to share about a piece of musical software or hardware.

Please pay particular attention to all the instructions below, in light of SoundCloud closing down its Groups functionality.

Big picture: One thing arising from the end of the Groups functionality is a broad goal, in which an account on SoundCloud is not necessary for Disquiet Junto project participation. We’ll continue to use SoundCloud, but it isn’t required to use SoundCloud. The aspiration is for the Junto to become “platform-agnostic,” which is why using a message forum, such as llllllll.co, as a central place for each project may work well.

And now, on to this week’s project.

Project Steps:

Step 1: Think of a specific trick or skill or tip you have honed in regard a particular piece of music software or hardware.

Step 2: Create a piece of music in which that trick or skill or tip is intrinsic.

Step 3: Annotate the track to detail the trick/skill/tip.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Per the instructions below, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0242” in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: This is a new task, if you’ve done a Junto project previously. In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co post your track:

http://llllllll.co/t/share-yer-knowledge-disquiet-junto-project-0242/4218

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

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

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, August 18, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 22, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Between 30 seconds and two minutes seems about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0242” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, 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.

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 online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 242nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Make (and annotate) a track that provides an example of a trick/skill/tip you want to share about a piece of musical software or hardware” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0242/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

http://llllllll.co/t/share-yer-knowledge-disquiet-junto-project-0242/4218

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

The image associated with this project is by Susanna Bolle, and is used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

flic.kr/p/8F9Jmz

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Disquiet Junto Project 0241: Foreground Effect

The Assignment: Compose a piece of music in which the material processed is secondary to the processing.

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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.

This project was posted around noon, California time, on Thursday, August 11, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 15, 2016.

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

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0241: Foreground Effect
The Assignment: Compose a piece of music in which the material processed is secondary to the processing.

Please pay particular attention to all the instructions below, in light of SoundCloud closing down its Groups functionality.

Big picture: One thing arising from the end of the Groups functionality is a broad goal, in which an account on SoundCloud is not necessary for Disquiet Junto project participation. We’ll continue to use SoundCloud, but it isn’t required to use SoundCloud. The aspiration is for the Junto to become “platform-agnostic,” which is why using a message forum, such as llllllll.co, as a central place for each project may work well.

And now, on to this week’s project.

Project Steps:

Step 1: Consider the following. New music can often involve flipping a perceived hierarchy: between rhythm and melody, between harmonic and melodic development, and between background and foreground, for example. This project involves flipping another perceived hierarchy: between the effect employed and the source audio on which it is employed (for example, between a flanger and a rhythm guitar line, or a gate and a drum kit, or between a filter and a complex waveform).

Step 2: Create an original piece of music in which the effect is the prominent thing heard throughout, while the source audio changes frequently between varied materials. The compositional goal is that the piece still hangs together as a considered whole unto itself.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Per the instructions below, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0241” in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: This is a new task, if you’ve done a Junto project previously. In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co post your track:

http://llllllll.co/t/foreground-effect-disquiet-junto-project-0241/4134

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

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

Deadline: This project was posted around noon, California time, on Thursday, August 11, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 15, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Between two and four minutes seems about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0241” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, 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.

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 online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 241st weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Compose a piece of music in which the material processed is secondary to the processing” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0241/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

http://llllllll.co/t/foreground-effect-disquiet-junto-project-0241/4134

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

The image associated with this project is by Nadar, and is used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

flic.kr/p/iaNB

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