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

“Sound as Commentary”

Niki Korth interviewed me about my San Jose Museum of Art installation.

20150203-korthsjma

Niki Korth asks great questions. She interviewed me recently about the “Sonic Frame” audio-visual installation I developed for the 45th anniversary of the founding of the San Jose Museum of Art. The work will be on display through the 22nd of this month. “Sonic Frame” is a response to an earlier piece of work, a silent video by Josh Azzarella, that is part of the museum’s permanent collection. The interview was published today at The Big Conversation Space, the website of a collaboration between Korth and Paris-based Clémence de Montgolfier.

Below is the opening question and my response, about the nature of that overused term “disruption” and the unique capabilities of sound in an artistic context. Later in the interview she asks about the source video for the project, the extent to which I was in touch with the original artist, the inherent subject of terrorism, the nature of the Creative Commons, and what was involved in working with around 80 composers in the process of developing the piece.

Korth: The SJMA describes the Momentum exhibition as one that ¨disrupts the status quo¨ by inviting artists to ¨intervene¨ on the works from their permanent collection that are on display by responding to them through the creation of new works. Do you consider your work to function as a disruption, in this context? What do you see as the function of disruptions and interventions within art practice more generally, in particular as they pertain to sound?

Weidenbaum: I’m personally a bit hesitant about the specific word “disrupt” because of its current broad use, perhaps its overuse, as an adopted term of tech jargon. Even in tech jargon it’s a meaningful and useful term, but for every useful employment there are dozens that are less than informed, more received, less considered. But more generally, yeah, certainly: this work, like the other work in the Momentum exhibit, was generated as an act of disruption, as the word was specifically employed by the fine folks at the San Jose Museum of Art. I think the museum’s use of the word was a solid choice — the museum is at the heart of Silicon Valley, and this approach to the world, this upending of systems, is very much on the minds of many of the people who visit the museum, the people who drive by it every day, the people who live and work in its vicinity.

The goal of the interventions was to develop something original that influences the audience’s reception of the source work. “Intervention” is a word that the museum also employed, in addition to “disrupt,” and I personally connected a bit more to “intervention” than to “disrupt.” I like the idea of intervening between the original work and the spectator, the idea of being an “active spectator,” somewhere between the original artist and traditional spectator. I am quite engaged by the idea of appropriative musicians, those who work with pre-existing material, being what I like to call “active listeners,” and I saw this project as being something of an “active viewer” — someone who has an impression of what they view, in this case Azzarella’s video, and expresses that impression by making something in response.

I use the phrase “sound as commentary” a lot to describe this process, that there’s a non-verbal yet still sonic way to communicate ideas. The original video is silent and singular, and I worked on something that is sonorous and has myriad points of view. I think anything that reminds people that the art on the wall is the start of a process as much as the end of one is a good thing. We tend to think of art as the culmination of artistic intent, and it’s great to have an opportunity to make active and to present the idea that art builds on art, as well as the fact that our perception of a work can be influenced in many ways by external circumstances. I think that sound is a particularly useful tool in such a scenario because there is always a sonic content for work, even work that is intended to be silent, and drawing attention to that activity can be thought-provoking, informative, disorienting.

The full interview is at thebigconversationspace.org, where the above photo is sourced from.

Also tagged / / Leave a comment ]

Disquiet Junto Project 0161: Netmix Relabel

The Assignment: Create a new track from three tracks from three different netlabels.

20140213-actsofcommons

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at Disquiet.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.

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

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, January 29, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 2, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0161: Netmix Relabel
The Assignment: Create a new track from three tracks from three different netlabels.

Every couple of months the Disquiet Junto hosts a netlabel remix. All of the source audio for a netlabel remix is available for free, non-commercial download and creative reuse thanks to a Creative Commons license. This series of “netlabel remixes” is intended to promote that sort of thoughtful, collaborative sharing.

These are the steps:

Step 1: Create a new piece of music by using nothing but the following segments of the following songs:

The first 15 seconds of “Dog Kiss” by Chtin Mara off the album Animus Animal Anima (Enough Records), available for free download at: http://goo.gl/iWcJJs

The first 10 seconds of “Qif Kiff” by Ayato & Natalia Kamia off the album Cluster (eg0cide Records), available for free download at: https://eg0cide.bandcamp.com/album/eg0-131-ayato-natalia-kamia-cluster

The first 10 seconds of “Espasmo” by Lingering Last Drops (Bump Foot Records), available for free download at: http://www.bumpfoot.net/foot237.html

Step 2: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 3: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, January 29, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 2, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work should be between two and four minutes.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and 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 include the term “disquiet0161-netmixrelabel” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: It is necessary for this specific project 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 161st Disquiet Junto project — “Create a new track from three tracks from three different netlabels” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/01/29/disquiet0161-netmixrelabel/

This track includes material from the songs “Dog Kiss” by Chtin Mara off the album Animus Animal Anima (Enough Records), “Qif Kiff” by Ayato & Natalia Kamia off the album Cluster (eg0cide Records), and “Espasmo” by Lingering Last Drops (Bump Foot). More on Enough at enoughrecords.scene.org. More on eg0cide at eg0cide.com. More on Bump Foot at bumpfoot.net. All work used courtesy of a Creative Commons license allowing for derivative use.

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

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

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Also tagged / / Leave a comment ]

A Qualitative Social Network

Stats, functionality, and community maintenance

It’s funny, much as I’ve used SoundCloud daily for all these years now, I’ve never really found use, myself, for the stats. Likely, that’s because almost all my focus is on the Groups functionality. I do post a track occasionally, but not with any particular hopes of a broad listenership, just to participate, to float a musical idea, or to mark a milestone, like the addition of a new module to my little synthesizer rig.

For the Disquiet Junto group each week, all I look at is three things:

(1) where we’re at in active users (not members, but accounts that have actually posted tracks, which just topped 500),

(2) the number of tracks in the most recent project (I don’t even keep track of the numbers, but I do note it mentally — we’ve been as high as 70+ in a week and as low as around 10, and we’re generally around 30 or so), and

(3) the number of total tracks (we’re so close to 4,000 in just over three years).

I tend to be more qualitative than quantitative in general, but, yeah, maybe if there were Groups-oriented stats, that’d help me a bit, but I wouldn’t make it a priority. I look at the Junto qualitatively — are folks commenting on each other’s tracks, and is the commentary constructive; are the projects being met with enthusiasm, not so much in terms of number of participants in a given week but the sense that effort was expended by those who did participate; are there any obvious breakouts, in terms of levels of listenership, that sort of thing.

I think I’m more focused on functionality than on stats. You know what I would love would be the ability to transfer a track. I’d love if someone who’s posted a track but didn’t want it associated with their account any longer could transfer it to me, or to someone else.

Note: I originally posted this in a conversation on Facebook, but figured I’d post it here, too.

Also tagged / / Leave a comment ]

Disquiet Junto Project 0160: One Minute Past Midnight

The Assignment: Make a one-minute field recording starting right at midnight (wherever you are).

20150122-oneminute

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at Disquiet.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.

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

This assignment was made in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, January 22, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 26, 2015. (This week there is a little wiggle room. See below.)

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0160: One Minute Past Midnight
The Assignment: Make a one-minute field recording starting right at midnight (wherever you are).

This week’s project is very simple. It asks that you make a field recording of sound, just one single minute, starting at a specific time: midnight.

From simple things complex things sometimes grow, and this project is a hopeful initial step toward a variety of related projects that may spring up over the course of 2015, perhaps even culminating in some sort of collection, maybe even in a physical space along the lines of the “Sonic Frame” installation at the San Jose Museum of Art (that piece largely drew its sonic material from an earlier Junto project). No one’s work will be repurposed without their permission, and it’s appreciated if you post your track with a Creative Commons license that allows for non-commercial reuse and sharing.

The steps are as follows:

Step 1: Record audio, outdoors or indoors, at midnight wherever you are.

Step 2: You can post the audio as is, or create a slight fade in of volume at the start and fade out at the end.

Step 3: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud. Please consider posting photography, even video, associated with your efforts.

Step 4: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: Projects are usually due at 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, January 26, 2015. This time, if you need to do the recording the final night of the project, it’s OK to upload early on January 27.

Length: The length of your finished work should be one minute.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and 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 include the term “disquiet0160-oneminutepastmidnight” in the title of your track, and 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 160th Disquiet Junto project — “Make a one-minute field recording starting right at midnight (wherever you are)” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/01/22/disquiet0160-oneminutepastmidnight/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

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

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Photo associated with this project adapted from one by Manuel Delgado Tenorio and used via Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/heAk6W

Also tagged , , , , / / Leave a comment ]

One More Month of “Sonic Frame”

My sound installation at the San Jose Museum of Art

20150122-sjma

The installation “Sonic Frame” that I developed for the San Jose Museum of Art will be exhibited for one more month from today. The exhibit runs from October 2, 2014, through February 22, 2015. I’ll be giving a little talk the early evening of February 19, 2015, at the museum as part of the latest edition of its Art Rage event series (details will surface at sjmusart.org).

“Sonic Frame” is a three-screen response to Josh Azzarella’s video “Untitled #8, 2004.” Each of the three screens has original pieces of music, 21 total, that are intended to serve as scores to the video. Each score changes the viewer’s experience of the video, which in its original form is entirely silent.

The scores are largely drawn from members of the Disquiet Junto community of weekly music projects (disquiet.com/junto), and were created by the following musicians: Taylor Deupree, Van Stiefel, Natalia Kamia, Naoyuki Sasanami, Carlos Russell, Mark Rushton, Paolo Mascolini (Sōzu), Stephen Vitiello, Steve Roden, ævol, Marcus Fischer, Julia Mazawa, the duo of Westy Reflector and Lee Rosevere, Ezekiel Kigbo (The Atlas Room), Steiner (Stijn Hüwels), Christina Vantzou, Scanner, Inlet (Cory K.), Jean Reiki, Marco Raaphorst, and Bad Trails.

There is a video in which I talk about the piece. The thorough summary is here: “How Sound Frames Vision.”

Also tagged / / Leave a comment ]