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

Disquiet Junto Project 0169: HTML505

Make a track using only an HTML5 drum machine.


Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on and at, 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 duration of the project:

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, March 26, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, March 30, 2015.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0169: HTML505
Make a track using only an HTML5 drum machine.

Every Junto project is about, to some degree or another, exploring the freedom to be found within constraints. This week’s project takes a piece of software as its constraint.

Step 1: Go to the following webpage in a browser that supports HTML5:

Step 2: Create an original track using only this tool.

Step 3: Upload your track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 4: 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, March 26, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, March 30, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work should be roughly between one 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, please include the term “disquiet0169-html505” 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 169th Disquiet Junto project — “Make a track using only an HTML5 drum machine” — at:

More on the drum machine at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

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Fuzzy Metric Logic

A rhythmic experiment by Mint Loader of Hampshire, Britain

One person’s test run is another person’s listen-on-repeat. Case in point: a rhythmic experiment by Mint Loader, who describes the sonic event as follows: “Test run of code I am working on, to create rhythms with phased control arrays in SuperCollider.”

The result is a cool bit of fuzzy metric logic, under two minutes’ running time. The on and off of the beat has a semblance of binary to it, but each step has the fritz of a laundry room’s threadbare neon sign. This means the on is never fully on and the off never fully off, and the transitions between are not as clear cut as they might be. In addition, the resulting broken shimmy has an elegant randomness to it, like the neon sign has absorbed lessons from decades of hip-hop and r&b hits produced by Timbaland.

Track originally posted at Mint Loader is based in Hampshire, Britain.

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This Week in Sound: Misophonia, Fridays Are the New Tuesday

Also: Google crowd-surfing and Wikipedia activism

A lightly annotated clipping service:

— Misophonia Home: At the New York Times, Barron H. Lerner, M.D., a professor at the NYU Langone Medical Center, writes about the condition that makes some individuals hypersensitive to specific sounds, often sounds associated with the human mouth. He discusses how the existence of the diagnosis is itself a source of comfort to sufferers, an idea that connects to something I often focus on in relation to noise pollution complaints: to the cultural context that makes noises seem louder or quieter.

— Aphex Activity: I was happy that Flavorwire’s Jesse Jarnow covered my proposed Selected Ambient Works Volume III, a playlist culled from the 173 tracks currently up on Aphex Twin’s rogue SoundCloud account. As Jarnow notes, one particularly effusive collation of Richard D. James’ off-label activity is a crowd-sourced effort to identify characteristics, such as era and source audio, for the numerous tracks. The hive mind’s tool of choice? A massively shared Google spreadsheet:</br?

— Industrial Calendar: Whether with a whimper or a bang, it is as of yet unclear, but the “global music industry” has decided, as reported in Billboard, that Friday is now the official release date for record albums, in order to fight piracy. In the U.S. it has historically been Tuesdays, followed the next day by comic-book Wednesday. What effect this will have, aside from making lower-level record-industry employees work over the weekend playing whack-a-mole with piracy sites, is not clear. What effect this will have on the growing legion of musicians who post their releases as they see fit to Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and other such services, or who pre-sell through campaigns on Kickstarter and PledgeMusic and the like, is all the more unclear. Quite likely they’ll simply ignore it:

— Wikipedia Activism: At ArtNews, Robin Cembalest covers an effort by 600 volunteers to contribute to an “edit-a-thon” to significantly increase the presence of women artists on Wikipedia, among them Cosima von Bonin and Aviva Rahmani, both of whom work with sound. This is a tremendous effort, and one worth emulating in various fields and disciplines. (Found via Shane Myrbeck.)

This first appeared in the March 3, 2015, edition of the free Disquiet “This Week in Sound” email newsletter:

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This Week in Sound: Superheroes, Maps, Freesound(s), …

A lightly annotated clipping service

• Heroic Jingle: Kudos to readers of for noticing the small text on the poster for the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie and discerning from it that Spider-Man may very well be in the film. Why? Because there’s a credit for composer Danny Elfman, who wrote the theme for the modern Spider-Man films:

• Sound Trip: My friends Nick Sowers and Bryan Finoki are now using sound to investigate the urban environment with a series at Design Observer. The first takes them to San Francisco’s Mission District:

• Tracking Sound: This is a bit old, dating from late December, but I just came across the news that, a massive shared database of field recordings and other sounds, now allows users to track specific tags and users. Useful if you have a fetish for creaking doors, foghorns, or particular species of bird:

• Mapping Sound: The National Park Service has mapped the quietest places in the United States of America. The word “sonification” is a useful one in discussing the way sound can be employed to explain data, but in this case it is, in turn, a simple visualization that best depicts how the west is far more quiet than the east:

This first appeared in the February 24, 2015, edition of the free Disquiet email newsletter:

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Tokyo Beat Playlist

Collecting the daily ritual of Hideyuki Kuromiya

After two days running posts of elegant beats by Tokyo-based Hideyuki Kuromiya, I corresponded with him, and asked if he might put together a playlist of his beats, so they’re all in one place and easy to follow. He graciously did just that, and he added a new beat for today, “hb24,” in which the vocal sample is more evident than in the prior two. That vocal is a bit of moaning melisma that is crunched between sandpaper percussion, vinyl-skip plosives, and a sharp short-circuit shock. I’m covering these three days in a row because while I occasionally report on regular woodshedding projects by folks like Madeleine Cocolas, Taylor Deupree, and Marcus Fischer, featuring such work in an immediate sequence does a better job of making an impression of the effort involved, which in Kuromiya’s case is daily.

Set of beats originally posted at More from Kuromiya, who is based in Tokyo, Japan, at

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