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: software

Surface Pro 4 Meets a Soft Synth

A little video about touch screen music software

I have a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for the next few weeks. I don’t think I’m going to keep it, but I may yet switch from my MacBook Air to the Surface Pro 5 when that device comes out, supposedly later this quarter (early 2017). This video is simply a glimpse at how the touch screen works for music, specifically in this case how the Aalto synth, from Madrona Labs, works. Aalto is running here from within Ableton Live. The sound quality is poor because I’m just using my phone for both the video and the audio.

The short version is that the screen is great for this sort of software, something with lots of virtual knobs and patch cords and buttons intended for touchpad/cursor use. Aalto is fine with a keyboard and trackpad, but it’s even better with the touch screen. (Less great was finding an angle that would allow me to play the instrument and yet have the screen fairly visible. This is the best I could manage. I’m not much of a videographer. I annotated the video using iMovie. My iMovie skills are pretty limited, so forgive the junior-grade typography.)

The main thing that happens once you start using a synth like Aalto with a touch screen is that things that aren’t touchable, such as the shape of an envelope, suggest themselves as touchable. Perhaps software will become more touchable as time proceeds, with some features only available on touch screens. As a friend said elsewhere, once some things are touchable, you want everything to be touchable.

Shortly after I posted the video, Randy Jones of Madrona Labs took note of it and said interface adjustments were possible: “Nice. Yes, I could probably do something with those envelope areas.”

In related news, late last year I started this modest subreddit for Surface Pro audio discussion: reddit.com/r/winSurfaceMusic.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0239: Code Requiem

The Assignment: Compose a short composition in memoriam for a piece of recently deceased software.

deadcode

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 in the morning, California time, on Thursday, July 28, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 1, 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 0239: Code Requiem
The Assignment: Compose a short composition in memoriam for a piece of recently deceased software.

Please note the instructions below, in light of SoundCloud closing down its Groups functionality.

Project Steps:

Step 1: Compose a short composition in memoriam for a piece of recently deceased software.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done :

Step 1: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud (this task will continue until the August 22 sunsetting of that service). It’s here:

Step 2: This is a new task, if you’ve done a Junto project previously. In the comment field to the track mention @disquiet. This will ping me to add the track to a playlist.

Step 3: Per the instructions below, be sure to tag your track #disquiet0239

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 in the morning, California time, on Thursday, July 28, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 1, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Between one and three minutes seems about right.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this project, 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.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0239.” Also use “disquiet0239” 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 239th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Compose a short composition in memoriam for a piece of recently deceased software” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0239/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

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

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place on a Slack (send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for inclusion) and at this URL:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

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The Circuit Board Record Album

Tristan Perich on Loud Objects, machine art, and the aesthetics of code

Tristan Perich - Noise Patterns - 7 - Headphones

The Noise Patterns album, plugged into a pair of headphones

Tristan Perich’s Noise Patterns comes in a clear jewel case, but it isn’t a CD. It’s a small, matte-black circuit board. Powered by a watch battery, it produces a series of musical compositions built from the on/off operations on the minuscule chip at the center of the device, the same sort of chip you might find in a microwave oven.

What follows is a lengthy, detailed interview in which Perich talks about the development of Noise Patterns, and various other aspects of his artistic efforts, which range from full-scale museum installations of drawing machines and “microtonal walls,” to live performances in which he builds circuits in front of the audience.

In Perich’s telling, his previous circuit-board album, 1-Bit Symphony, was built from “tone” while Noise Patterns, as its name suggests, is built from “randomness,” from what sounds like white noise twisted and tweaked to Perich’s design.

There will be a more detailed introduction to this interview posted here soon, but in the interest of time — there is a party/concert celebrating the release of Noise Patternstonight at (Le) Poisson Rouge in Manhattan, with guests, Robert Henke, Karl Larson, Ricardo Romaneiro, Leo Leite, and Christian Hannon — the transcript, along with annotated images from the production of Noise Patterns and other aspects of Perich’s work, is being posted today.

01 - Tristan Perich - Microtonal Wall at MoMA

Perich’s Microtonal Wall, installed at MoMA in Manhattan

Tristan Perich - Noise Patterns - 1 - Angle

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Slacking About Remixing

A window on the new Disquiet Junto Slack discussion group

This past week I opened up a discussion group on Slack (slack.com), the popular messaging and collaboration platform. I remain more wedded to forum-style discussion, but I am also aware that preference may simply be me, and that Slack’s success may indeed relate to a more contemporary, fluid, less structured format.

In any case, as I’d hoped, discussion about specific projects while the projects are still happening has been solid. This week’s Junto project involves a remix of three unrelated tracks. I share a brief bit of that conversation below. (And if you’re part of the Junto Slack discussion, you can view the full thread here.)

mtnviewmark [7:36 AM]
I might suggest that we ​don’t​ post our tracks here. I think this channel would be better for discussion than as another rolling list of submissions, which can be found on SoundCloud as is. So… In the past Disquiet submissions I did the assignments in the void: I didn’t even load up the SC list until after I finished my submission. I didn’t want to hear others’ work and be influenced by them. That seems silly in the face of the premise of this week’s assignment: remix! Also, want to see if having a live discussion ​during​ the assignment helps. So… I’m looking at first two tracks – rhythmic / arrythmic – and rather than remix them directly, I’m working on swapping the rhythms between them…. so far, this is slow going. Also, if it helps anyone, the first track is at 128.41bpm by my measure….

marc.weidenbaum [9:21 AM]
It does feel a bit redundant. On occasion may be good for reference during conversation. Look forward to what you make of it.

joemcmahon [9:45 AM]
@mtnviewmark: Yeah, I prefer it that way too; if I let myself hear what others have done, sometimes I just say, “well, that’s better than I could do it” and skip it. :slightly_smiling_face:

audio_obscura [3:57 AM]
Its true what others say in that I often here junto submissions and think I could never better that, in fact I think I have 4 tracks I did and never submitted as they just weren’t any good. But this weeks challenge is a good one as the variety of posts from the same sources is really different. Just my opinion but I like to hear the elements from the source material in the remixes – some people twist the sources so much you can’t really hear any of the original. I think with mine you can still distinctly hear the three referenced works

marc.weidenbaum [5:41 AM]
@audio_obscura: That hearing the originals in the remix gives me great pleasure. Have you ever checked out the Stonesthrow Beat Battles? I love listening in each week and checking out how everyone’s redone the shared sample.

audio_obscura [6:34 AM]
@marc.weidenbaum: I think next’s weeks Junto should be to take 3 of this weeks remixes, download them and take the 1st 30 seconds of the tracks and remix them – basically repeating this weeks challenge but taking it another step down the road!

audiodays [6:55 AM]
Really enjoyed the challenge again this week. some weeks I know straight away what I’m going to do, but this week.s took a bit of thinking time and some experiments. I agree with that has been said about hearing the source material and I think I’ve ‘just’ about go away with it this week. But as I said in my notes on SC, I struggled finding a a way of bringing HNY and Pepper Jelly together without it sounding too much like a car crash. I rarely, if ever, listen to other contributions until I’ve uploaded my own, and settling down to hear how other have interpreted the brief is just as joyous as the Disquiet Junto email dropping on a Thursday evening (UK time).

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Now on Slack.com: Disquiet Junto Discussion

A test run is underway of the popular messaging tool

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 8.31.07 PM

There is now a Slack team set up (at disquietjunto.slack.com) for Disquiet Junto discussion.

If you want to participate, send me your email address. I’m at marc@disquiet.com. Apparently Slack is invitation-based, so I need to send you an invite to join in.

The general idea for the Junto Slack is it’s a replacement for the discussion boards that were once quite active on SoundCloud, before the service mothballed them, and it’s a complement (or temporary stand-in) for the disquiet.com/forums, which are running on a somewhat antiquated platform (Vanilla Forums). The disquiet.com/forums will likely be upgraded at some point later this year to a better platform, but for now the Slack team is where Junto conversation will be focused — of course, there will still be plenty of talk on Twitter, which is where many of the initial core group of Junto participants first (virtually) met up, and elsewhere.

As of this moment there are 26 members of the Slack Junto, and there are 8 channels underway, pictured up top. We’ve been (re)introducing ourselves, talking about playlist curation as cultural participation, comparing physical and software modular synthesizers, and sharing videos of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Taylor Deupree, and others.

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