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: recommended stream

The Patzr Radio Podcast

Jimmy Kpple's micro-odes to everyday noise

Podcasts aren’t radio, but in many cases they might as well be. When someone says, “I don’t watch TV,” yet is up to date on lots of shows by virtue of a Hulu or Netflix account, there’s a disconnect at work that’s difficult to address politely, one that seems to have more with identity flag-waving than with anything technologically persuasive.

Podcasts may align with radio, but they’re something else entirely — or, more to the point, they’re capable of being something else entirely. Many, nonetheless, still feel like radio, from the structure to the content to the intonation. Not, as they say, that there’s anything wrong with that. The podcast mode has been on my mind a lot as I’ve been planning my own, titled Disquietude. Now that it’s out, I hear other podcasts through a different … well, not lens, but through instinctively analytical earbuds. When amid a hastily recorded bit of timely tech news, for example, the word “Googleable” sounds oddly close to “giggle-able,” I can relate to the anxiety in regard to whether you really want to do one more take. There’s at least one grammatical error in my first Disquitude podcast episode that kills me, a simple plural/singular misalignment, but I just couldn’t face the mic one more time.

I did radio twice for long stretches, first on WYBC on the East Coast during college, and then on KDVS on the West Coast after moving to California. Reviewing plays during college is how I learned the concept — if not the fully adopted practice — of whittling one’s discussion points to a select few, and hanging them on some semblance of narrative. Both stations encouraged relatively freeform approaches for its DJs, and that’s what I took pleasure in. Disquietude, as I plot episode two, is still very much a work in progress. I have aspirations to “play with the form,” as my friend Erik Davis (of the Expanding Mind podcast) encouraged me recently. It’ll come in stages.

If there’s a podcast that gets at the orthogonal-to-professional notion of the medium, the other-than-radio aspect, it is the excellent Patzr Radio series, which is helmed by Jimmy Kipple, who (employing a brief vocal element by Paula Daunt) did the theme for my Disquietude podcast. His Patzr consists of collections of #cheap-concrete, to employ Kipple/Kpple’s favorite tag. It’s snatches of everyday sound, rendered into “listening material” courtesy of nothing other than the mere fact of the podcast’s existence.

There are 72 Patzr episodes to date, all the same one minute and forty seconds in length, the latest a mix of unintelligible passing voices, and rough noises against subterranean leakages, doppler-effect motoring, and exquisitely banal footsteps that are not in the least bit threatening — except to the extent that the assemblage threatens the tidy conception of a podcast. When a format is merely a feed and a file, a few lines of RSS code and a fixed audio document, there’s a lot you can do with it, and sometimes doing very little, doing something explicitly contained, is the best reminder of the potential therein.

Check out the full series at soundcloud.com/patzr-radio, iTunes, and podbean.com.

Also tagged , , / / Comments: 2 ]

Disquietude Podcast Episode 0001

A new podcast from Disquiet.com

This is the first episode of the Disquietude podcast of ambient electronic music. All six tracks of music are featured with the permission of the individual artists. The first episode started online first at SoundCloud, Mixcloud, and YouTube and then made it into iTunes and Stitcher. There’s also an RSS link, should you need it.

Below is the structure of the episode with time codes for the tracks:

00:00 theme and intro

02:05 Brian Hendricksen’s “2.10.2017″

04:32 Carl Mikael Björk’s “Live Looping Improv w/ Piano and Erica Synths Varishape & Wavetable”

18:08 Erika Nesse’s “Circle”

21:30 Marcus Fischer’s “170211 – Dual Deck Piano Loop (RRR)”

28:56 Sarah Davachi’s “Ghosts and All”

37:21 Mark Rushton’s “Severe Thunderstorm Warning Sirens”

43:50 notes

53:34 end

What follows is a rough transcript of the spoken material in the podcast, as well as links to the artists whose work is included: Read more »

Also tagged , , , / / Comment: 1 ]

Disquiet Junto Project 0272: Exoplanetary Intervals

The Assignment: Use music to express the relationships between planets.


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 for the duration of the project:

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, March 20, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, March 16, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0272: Exoplanetary Intervals
The Assignment: Use music to express the relationships between planets.

Recently, scientists announced the discovery of a nearby star system, TRAPPIST-1. Orbiting its ultra-cool dwarf star are seven planets, three in the habitable zone. Remarkably, six of the planets form the longest known chain where each orbits at a resonant frequency of it’s neighbor. From the slowest, the planets orbit at: 1x, 4/3x 2x, 3x, 5x, 8x. If you think of those as vibrating strings, they form a chord or scale: the slowest planet is the root, then fourth, octave, octave and fifth, two octaves and major third, three octaves. Major thanks to Junto participant Mark Lentczner for having taken the lead in proposing and developing this project.

Step 1: You’re going to record a composition employing these ratios, as a scale or chord — or a polyrhythm for that matter — as a means to express a sense of these newly discovered planets. Keep this in mind.

Step 2: Consider those intervals, play with them a bit, and think about how they can be employed to represent independent yet interdependent bodies in motion.

Step 3: Review the information on the relative orbits of the TRAPPIST-1 planets here:

http://www.ozonehouse.com/mark/dj/trappist.html

Step 4: Create an original musical composition that explores the exoplanets’ relationships based on Steps 1, 2, and 3.

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 “disquiet0272″ (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/exoplanetary-interv-disquiet-junto-project-0272/

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, March 20, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, March 16, 2017.

Length: The length of the finished piece is up to you. Three to five minutes feels about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0272″ 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, as well as the identity of the source track that yours accompanies:

More on this 272nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Exoplanetary Intervals: Use music to express the relationships between planets” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0272/

Major thanks to Junto participant Mark Lentczner for having taken the lead in proposing and developing this project.

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/exoplanetary-interv-disquiet-junto-project-0272/

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

Image associated with this project is from NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt, T. Pyle (IPAC):

http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/6266-ssc2017-01a-TRAPPIST-1-Planet-Lineup

Also tagged , , / / Leave a comment ]

Disquiet Junto Project 0271: Prison Sky

Mark the 5th anniversary of open-source software engineer Bassel Khartabil's detention.

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 for the duration of the project:

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, March 13, 2017. This project was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, March 9, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0271: Prison Sky
Mark the 5th anniversary of open-source software engineer Bassel Khartabil’s detention.

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with Bassel Khartabil. This coming Wednesday, March 15, 2017, will mark the fifth anniversary of open-source software engineer Bassel’s March 15, 2012, detention in Syria. It’s been more than a year since anyone has heard from him. Three times in the past the Disquiet Junto has done projects to raise consciousness about his predicament. We did the first one in January 2014, creating a soundscape to go with Bassel’s CGI reproduction of the ancient city of Palmyra:

disquiet.com/2014/01/23/disquiet0108-freebassel/

We did a second one, “Placid Cell,” in March 2015, marking the third anniversary of his incarceration:

disquiet.com/2015/03/12/disquiet0167-freebassel/

And in November 2015 we created audiobook chapters from a book, Cost of Freedom: A Collective Inquiry, written in Bassel’s honor:

disquiet.com/2015/11/12/disquiet0202-costoffreedom/

Read more at http://freebassel.org/.

Step 2: On January 31, 2014, Bassel wrote to his friend Jon Phillips from the Damascus Central Jail in response to Phillips’ suggestion that people might make a record album inspired by his ongoing incarceration. Bassel replied in part:

The Noura mentioned in the letter is Bassel’s wife. See the full letter and information about actions to mark the fifth anniversary at:

http://freebassel.org/campaign/events/freebasselday/2017/03/09/freebassel5years/

Step 3: Take that section of a “square sky” to heart, about being able “to see the blue sky for six hours each day.”

Step 4: Create a short piece of music in response to that image, that scenario, that mix of hope amid hopelessness.

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 “disquiet0271″ (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/prison-sky-disquiet-junto-project-0271/6877

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, March 13, 2017. This project was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, March 9, 2017.

Length: The length of the finished piece is up to you. Three to five minutes feels about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0271″ 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). That’s in accordance with the “share alike” aspect of the first stage of this project.

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information, as well as the identity of the source track that yours accompanies:

More on this 271st weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Prison Sky: Mark the 5th anniversary of open-source software engineer Bassel Khartabil’s detention” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0271/

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/prison-sky-disquiet-junto-project-0271/6877

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

Image associated with this project is a detail that Bassel Khartabil wrote to Jon Phillips on January 31, 2014, from the Damascus Central Jail. More on Bassell’s detention at freebassel.org. Major thanks to Christopher Adams, Niki Korth, Jon Phillips, and Barry Threw. See the full letter and information about actions to mark the fifth anniversary at:

http://freebassel.org/campaign/events/freebasselday/2017/03/09/freebassel5years/

Also tagged , / / Leave a comment ]

Canada’s Finest Electronics

Daniel Lanois teams up with Venetian Snares

When Daniel Lanois released Goodbye to Language last year, he brought background to foreground. He made a full-length album flush with the gentle, rootsy, sing-song ambience that had informed decades of high-profile production work he’d done for the likes of Bob Dylan and U2, among others, and in turn connected that work back to his early ambient recordings with Brian Eno, notably Ambient 4: On Land and Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks.

Goodbye to Language was easily one of the finest electronic albums of 2016, and also of Lanois’ extensive career. The mix of guitar, pedal steel, and various electronic processing techniques yielded a classic ambient record, which is to say one that is just as beautiful played loud as it is at low, wallpaper-music levels.

The resulting question was, what comes next? Because what comes next will further define what Goodbye to Language was all about. On the one hand, the album can be read as a standalone recording, like Lou Reed’s Hudson River Wind Meditations or Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works, records that (to varying degrees) bear little resemblance to the majority of the artists’ broader catalog of work. On the other, it could be considered a formal statement of where Lanois is headed.

The videos that surfaced with Goodbye to Language put Lanois front and center in a way that he’s not always presented himself. He’s often been more comfortable as an éminence grise, the figure behind the curtain, or when on stage quite close to the curtain. Take for example Black Dub, the band he put together with Daryl Johnson on bass, Trixie Whitley on vocals, and Brian Blade on drums. Anyone unfamiliar with Lanois wouldn’t necessarily get his centrality to the band’s existence while watching them play; in the video for the band’s “Nomad,” the camera spends considerable time on Blade’s drumming during Lanois’ understated guitar solo. Which isn’t to say he hasn’t had his share of singer-songwriter outings over the years. However, what makes Goodbye to Language so powerful is how he puts himself out there without saying a word. There’s no lead-singer swagger, no folk-circuit storytelling. There’s simply gorgeous sound.

Over the past few weeks, it’s become clear that Lanois has no plans to leave that gorgeous sound behind. Three weeks ago he posted a pair of live videos of alternate versions of two tracks off Goodbye to Language, intimate fish-eye “basement mix” takes recorded in his Toronto studio. They’re the first two tracks off the album, “Low Sudden” and “Time On,” so perhaps he’s going to revisit the full set. Better yet, today he posted “Night,” a murky live performance video of him in collaboration with a fellow plugged-in Canadian, the electronica figure Venetian Snares (aka Aaron Funk), an old-school drum’n’bass character with an extensive discography of albums, EPs, and remixes. The video begins with nearly three minutes of Lanois piping his guitar into looping, glistening fragments. And then the beat arrives.

The video provides premonitions as Funk’s role, as he begins fiddling with his battery of synth equipment. He appears with a mid-tempo barrage of rhythmic exertion. On the one hand it’s everything Lanois’ music isn’t; on the other, Funk’s focus on beat for beat’s sake closely parallels Lanois’ own attention to tone. They are both polar opposites and consummate peers. Funk’s beats proceed to fill Lanois’ space, and to frame it, at time dropping out to lend focus to the guitarist’s presence. Here’s to hoping there are more such collaborations to come. If Lanois is sticking to Canadians, I’ll put my vote in for Loscil, Kid Koala, and Sarah Davachi. (According to the Venetian Snares account on Twitter, this is an outtake from an album they’re making together.)

“Night” video originally posted on Daniel Lanois’ YouTube channel. Be sure to check out the channel of the label Anti-, which released Goodbye to Language, for additional Lanois material. Thanks to Steve Ashby for having brought this to my attention. It was filmed by Sébastien Leblant.

Also tagged , / / Leave a comment ]