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: live-performance

Disquiet Junto Project 0162: Junto in a Box

The Assignment: Use Paul Lamere's "Girl Talk in a Box" to gain a new perspective on your own music.

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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 playlist for the length of the project:

This supplemental playlist sequences the “after” and “before” versions of the tracks in the project — well, those for which there is a “before” version on SoundCloud. It’s unusual that I’d make a second playlist, but this project suggests the treatment. Also, for the first time I’ve recorded a spoken introduction to the project.

This assignment was made in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, February 5, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 9, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0162: Junto in a Box
The Assignment: Use Paul Lamere’s “Girl Talk in a Box” to gain a new perspective on your own music.

These are the steps:

Step 1: Choose a piece of music of your own that you would like to get a new perspective on.

Step 2: Go to the following URL to access the web app Girl Talk in a Box, which Paul Lamere designed. As he explains, “While a song is playing, you can take control, speeding it up, slowing it down, skipping beats and so on.”

http://static.echonest.com/girltalkinabox/

Step 3: Upload your song to Girl Talk in a Box and play with it. After gaining some measure of facility with the web app, record your own edit of your song.

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

Step 5: Be sure to include a link to the original track, so listeners can compare and contrast.

Step 6: 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, February 5, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 9, 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 “disquiet0162-juntoinabox” 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 162nd Disquiet Junto project — “Use Paul Lamere’s ‘Girl Talk in a Box’ to gain a new perspective on your own music” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/02/05/disquiet0162-juntoinabox/

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/

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She Steadies the Noises with Her Harmonium

"External Cabinet" by Yiva Lund Bergner

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The harmonium is the steadying presence in “External Cabinet” by Yiva Lund Bergner. Amid her sheer, chilling, buzz-saw noise, and fragile splinters of sharp, momentary bursts, and whirligig juts, and rattly percussive overlays, there is the settling calmness of gently speculative keyboard movements. The organ sound provides an underlying drone that in turn serves as a glue for the other constituent parts.

The piece is fully scored for harmonium and electronics, and the score is available for download as a PDF from her website. The detail shown below, from the first page of the score, describes how the percussive elements, as the composition’s title suggests, are the result of using the harmonium casing as an instrument unto itself.

20150107-ylb-score

More from Bergner, who hails from Sweden and currently lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, at ylvalundbergner.com.

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First New Marcus Fischer Track of the Year

A simple loop, worthy of looping

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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 soundcloud.com/mapmap and dustbreeding.com. More from Fischer, who is based in Portland, Oregon, at mapmap.ch.

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This Week in Sound: Fahrenheit, Sonar Sabotage, Unsilent

An occasional clipping service

Audiobook Culture: The past weekend’s Sunday Book Review in the New York Times had an extensive section of audiobook coverage, including a review by Dave Itzkoff of Tim Robbins reading Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451. The conflict in Itzkoff’s piece seemed to be how the rise of the audiobook somehow is part of the gadget-ization of culture. And he credits Bradbury’s book for having posited the notion “that it was not a distant stretch from dismissing books as quaint and obsolete to banning them outright.” He writes, as well, “Fortunately, a few thousand years ago, we gave ourselves a sustainable and still reliable mechanism to provide shelter from these distractions, as well as the option to use it or not” — this “reliable mechanism” is, of course, the physical book. What he doesn’t mention in the review is how Bradbury’s book itself closes with an image of an even more ancient mechanism, in which people — not just people, but maintainers of culture — tell each other stories out loud. Full disclosure: I didn’t so much “read” Itzkoff’s review as listen to it via text-to-speech thanks to the function that is part of the New York Times’ Android app.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/23/books/review/fahrenheit-451-read-by-tim-robbins.html

Sonar Sabotage: The headline says it all: “Study Shows Bats Jam Each Other’s Sonar to Snatch the Best Prey” (via Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner). Rishi Iyengar reports in Time magazine on research published in the journal Science that bats can block each other’s frequencies. Science’s Penny Sarchet likens it to “sonar sabotage.” It’s nature’s own EMP. The researchers are Aaron J. Corcoran and William E. Conner.
http://time.com/3571704/study-bats-jam-sonar-hunting/

Secular Robot Choirs: Unsilent Night is the annual secular caroling event, in which communal processions of boomboxes layer ambient scintillates provided by the composer Phil Kline. The schedule for the 2014 holiday season is now appearing online, including Manhattan on December 13, San Francisco also on December 13, and Toronto on December 19, with more dates to be added soon. I’ve walked the route in San Francisco, in the Mission, for many years, listening as Kline’s music fills narrow alleys and disperses into the street, as slight variations in playback create false echoes backward and forward in time. If it’s coming to your town, don’t miss it. If it isn’t, consider taking a trip.
http://unsilentnight.com/schedule.html

This post first appeared in the Disquiet email newsletter: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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Office/Bus Playlist

Also a test run toward a year-end top 10.

What’s on repeat, in estimated relative order of frequency.

  • Loscil’s Sea Island (Kranky, 2014): Gentle beeps and light burrs, so much happening from so little. I was asked, on Twitter, what this sounded like when I was just three tracks in, and I replied: “like a rainy day after the Singularity.” Many days of listening later, it still does.

  • Stafford Bawler, Obfusc, and Grigori’s Monument Valley (Original Soundtrack) (ustwogames, 2014): The score to the beautiful “casual” game is the perfect backdrop for a game that is itself only slightly more active than wallpaper.

  • Gavin Bryars Ensemble’s The Sinking of the Titanic (Recorded Live on 2012 Centenary Tour) (GB Records, 2014): A live performance of a work that always felt like a studio concoction. Listen as a band continues its performance even after the ship goes down.

  • Grouper’s Ruins (Kranky, 2014): Haunting, at times willfully unintelligible, dirges.

  • Michel Banabila and Oene van Geel’s Music for Viola and Electronics (Tapu, 2014): A lovely duet for complementary toolsets, one analog, the other digital. It’s to the album’s credit that it isn’t always clear where one of those ends and the other begins. One track, “Dondergod,” gets a bit intense, in a European free improvisation sort of way, but the rest is elegant as could be.

This post first appeared in the Disquiet email newsletter: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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