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

Cinchel Plays His Audience

A live ambient participatory performance

When the musician who goes by Cinchel steps away from his instruments three minutes into this live video of a recent Chicago concert, it isn’t much of a surprise. Electronic instruments often perform, in essence, by themselves. Often they are more nudged that played. They are tools set in motion, coaxed and cajoled rather than strummed or plucked or bowed. But when Cinchel makes his move elsewhere in the room, it isn’t simply because his equipment can manage without him. It’s because there are more instruments to be attended to. Already a rich tonal drone has filled the room, and now he’s using a mallet to eke out notes on what might very well be a child’s metal xylophone. Soon after he’s elsewhere in the space, ringing a bell. Each time he returns to the central equipment, adjusting the encompassing ringing sound that is the main component of the piece. Then he’s back off, with a spring instrument, more bells, and that xylophone again. And, naturally, the audience eventually joins in, taking the cue that these various tools can be employed by others when Cinchel is too busy. In just 15 minutes, he goes from playing to the audience to playing with the audience. By the time they join in, they’re under his spell. They have been, themselves, coaxed and cajoled.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at youtube.com. The video is a section of a longer performance titled “Walking into an Unfamiliar Place You Already Know.” More from Cinchel at twitter.com/cinchel and cinchel.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0269: Duet Portion

Record half of a live duet.

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.

Tracks will be added to this playlist:

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 27, 2017. This project was posted in the late morning, California time, on Thursday, February 23, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0269: Duet Portion
Record half of a live duet.

Step 1: This week’s Junto will be the first in an occasional series allowing for asynchronous collaboration. You will be recording something with the understanding that it will be unfinished.

Step 2: The plan is for you to record a short and original piece of music, on any instrumentation of your choice, live, with no post-production edits or overdubbing. You can do as many takes as you’d like, but the final recording should be a document of a wholly live performance. Conceive it as something that leaves room for something else — another instrument, performed by another person — to join in.

Step 3: Record a short piece of music, roughly two to three minutes in length, as described in Step 2. If possible, it would be great if you could make a video of your live performance as well.

Step 4: Also be sure, when complete, to make the track downloadable, because it will be used by someone else in a future Junto project.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If you hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0269″ (no spaces) 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: In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track:

http://llllllll.co/t/record-half-a-duet-disquiet-junto-project-0269/6652

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’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 27, 2017. This project was posted in the late morning, California time, on Thursday, February 23, 2017.

Length: The length is up to you, though about two to three minutes feel about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0269″ 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: Please set your track for download and with a license that allows for attributed reworking (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 269th weekly Disquiet Junto project, “Duet Portion: Record half of a live duet” at:

http://disquiet.com/0269/

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:

llllllll.co/t/record-half-a-duet-disquiet-junto-project-0269/6652

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

Image associated with this project is by Tony Tsang. It’s used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

flic.kr/p/6565DF

creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

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The Elbow at the Machine

The human intervention in generative music

Björn Bommersheim posted this seven-minute synthesizer performance, which he describes as a “self generative eurorack modular patch,” which is to say it’s an instrument that plays itself. This isn’t to say the synth is entirely self-sufficient. Putting aside the necessity of someone (Bommersheim, that is) to conceive of and implement the patch — “patch” meaning the various connections between various modules, and the various settings of those modules — there are numerous instances throughout “Chtou | Eurorack Ambient Soundscape” when the author is physically present. Bommersheim is seen adjusting knobs early on to set the piece in motion, and moving up and down between the levels of modules to nudge the piece in a desired direction at various instances. For the duration of the sedate, welcomingly distracting performance, rich swells of cloudy waveforms come and go, and whispy, playful, slurpy smaller tones make themselves heard.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at Bommersheim’s YouTube channel. More from Bommershein, who is based in Bochum, Germany, at soundcloud.com/bjornbommersheim.

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Sarah Davachi Live Video

A painstaking drone gives way to violin-like textures

It’s saying something when the wafts of stage smoke evidence more motion than does the performer. Such is, on this occasion, the painstaking, thoughtful, and introspective work of Sarah Davachi. This solemnly paced video went live late last year, coincident with the November 25, 2016, release of Davachi’s excellent Vergers album on the Important Records label, and yet it’s had oddly few viewings, at least according to YouTube’s accounting. It’s a gorgeous performance. The first half is an encompassing drone, settling into a heavy mid-range and dense with a slow boil of quarter-step commotion. Then enters what sounds like a patiently bowed violin, given to layering, its steadiness allowing for exploration of its gracefully bleak textures.

In related news, Davachi has been filling out her back catalog. Two EPs that predate Vergers appeared on her Bandcamp today: Qualities of Bodies Permanent and neustadt / altstadt EP, both dating from March 2015.

Update (February 16, 2017): I got a note from Rick of Shasta Cults that the Important Records video had previously been posted on the Shasta YouTube channel, and that it was shot “at Kunstencentrum Vooruit, Eastern Dayz festival in Ghent.”

Video originally posted on the Important Records YouTube channel. More from Davachi at sarahdavachi.com and soundcloud.com/sarahdavachi.

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The (Other) Helicopter Quartet

Aka Chrissie Caulfield, Michael Capstick, and a floor full of guitar pedals

This Helicopter Quartet isn’t four Stockhausen-annointed violinists in their own individual whirlybirds. This Helicopter Quartet is two musicians — Chrissie Caulfield on violin and Michael Capstick on guitar, and he appears to play a theremin app on a smartphone toward the end of this video — along with a floor full of guitar pedals. The pedals more than fill out the billing, though the duo together strive to eke out as subtle a space as possible. This piece is called “Quiet,” appropriate for a work that for all its myriad constituent parts sounds like one person working alone with a limited toolset, if not a limited palette. It’s all slow, arching tones, looped and layered, the seesaw of a slow lapping of water against a pier, the mood as calm as the deepest recesses of the night.

“Quiet” is a trial run toward a track from the Helicopter Quartet’s forthcoming album. Video originally posted at Chrissie Caulfield’s YouTube channel. It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.” More from Caulfield at chrissieviolin.info. More from the Helicopter Quartet at helicopterquartet.bandcamp.com.

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