February 13, 2014, is the official release date for my 33 1/3 book on Aphex Twin's 1994 album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, 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: video

The Dance Music of Failing Digital Memory Systems

A downloadable 2011 performance by Valentina Vuksic

20140705-vv

As solid state drives (SSD) rapidly put old physical digital memory into the trash bin of history, it’s worthwhile to reflect on the sounds intrinsic to them. While today SSD is widely appreciated for its near-silent operation, the primary sound source being the fan that is occasionally required to cool a computer system, in its day the physical disc drive was itself seen as a respite from the devices that had preceded it: the click of the shuffling CD player, the surface noise of vinyl, the playback mechanism of cassette tapes. Valentina Vuksic has made much of the inherent idiosyncrasies of the hard drive, the galloping clicks and fizzy transgressions, turning those signals of function and malfunction into sound for its own sake, a post-digital chamber music of delicate tensions. She’s employed the word Harddisko as an umbrella name for many of these projects.

It’s been two years since Sonic Circuits, the Washington, DC–based experimental music promoter, has updated its SoundCloud page, but there’s still plenty of engrossing listening there. A track by Vuksic dates, as well, from two years back, but since it currently shows just 331 listens, it’s safe to say it can benefit from some additional coverage. The performance is from a September 26, 2011, Sonic Circuits show at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. At nearly half an hour it is an engaging and challenging listen, the dance music of failed digital memory systems.

And here’s video of one of her Harddisko installations, from the 2007 Dutch Electronic Art Festival, including interview segments in which she describes her artistic and musical activity:

More on Vuksic’s Harddisko at harddisko.ch. More from Sonic Circuits at dc-soniccircuits.org, twitter.com/soniccircuits, and soniccircuits.tumblr.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0134: Music from Choreography

Compose music to accompany one minute of a dance video by Cori Marquis.

Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.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 are added to this playlist as they appear in the SoundCloud group:

This assignment was made in the late evening, New York time, on Thursday, July 24, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, July 28, 2013, as the deadline. The instructions are available in English, French, Italian, and Japanese — the three translations courtesy of, respectively, Éric Legendre, Claudio Gallo (twitter.com/daualset), and Naoyuki Sasanami (soundcloud.com/naotko).

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0134: Music from Choreography
Compose music to accompany one minute of a dance video by Cori Marquis.

This project is to contribute one full minute of music to accompany a video of original choreography. The project steps are as follows:

1: Watch the nine-minute video at the following link. It was choreographed by Cori Marquis expressly for this Disquiet Junto project:

http://vimeo.com/96093149

2: Choose a random number from 0 to 8. One option is to use this following link, which will automatically generate a result:

http://goo.gl/J0ofmF

3: Your one-minute segment begins with the number resulting from Step 2. For example, if you get the number 6, then you compose from 06:00 through 06:59. If you get the number 0, then you compose from 00:00 through 00:59.

4: When you are done, upload the track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud, following the directions below.

Note: Please note that participating in this project means you understand that Marquis may employ some of the music you produce in a final cut of the video, and she may edit the music. Marquis may also reach out to some participants to see if they want to develop the work further. If you have any questions, direct them to marc@disquiet.com.

Deadline: Monday, July 28, 2014, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: The length of your finished work should be 1 minute.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, 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. Also note the segment of the video you worked on.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0134-MusicFromChoreography″ 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, and note the segment of time you composed for:

More on this 134th Disquiet Junto project — “Compose music to accompany one minute of a dance video by Cori Marquis” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/07/24/disquiet0134-MusicFromChoreography/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/?p=16588

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums

. . .

Here are the instructions in French:

Projet Disquiet Junto 0134 : Musique à partir d’une chorégraphie

Composez une musique pour accompagner une minute d’une vidéo de danse de Cori Marquis.

Ce projet consiste à composer une minute de musique pour accompagner une vidéo d’une chorégraphie originale. Les étapes du projet sont les suivantes :

1 : Regardez la vidéo de neuf minutes en suivant ce lien. Elle a été chorégraphiée par Cori Marquis expressément pour ce projet Junto de Disquiet :

http://vimeo.com/96093149

2 : De façon aléatoire, choisissez un nombre de 0 à 8. L’une des manières est d’utiliser ce lien suivant, qui automatiquement va générer un résultat :

http://goo.gl/J0ofmF

3 : Le minutage de votre segment d’une minute débute à partir du nombre obtenu à l’étape 2. Par exemple, si vous obtenez le nombre 6, vous composerez à partir de 06 min 00 sec. jusqu’à 06 min 59 sec. Si vous obtenez le nombre 0, vous composerez à partir de 00 min. 00 sec jusqu’à 00 min. 59 sec.

4 : Lorsque vous avez terminé, téléverser la piste au groupe Junto de Disquiet sur SoundCloud, en suivant les instructions ci-dessous.

Note : Veuillez noter que la participation à ce projet signifie que vous comprenez que Marquis peut utiliser une partie de la musique que vous avez produite dans un montage final de la vidéo, et qu’elle peut aussi monter la musique. Marquis peut également contacter certains participants pour connaître s’ils veulent développer plus avant leur travail. Si vous avez des questions, les poser directement à marc@disquiet.com.

Date limite : Lundi 28 juillet 2014, à 23 h 59 où que vous soyez.

Durée : Votre pièce complétée doit avoir une durée d’une minute.

Information : S’il vous plait, lors du téléversement de votre piste sur SoundCloud, veillez à inclure une description de votre processus lié à la conception, la composition et l’enregistrement. Cette description est un élément essentiel du processus de communication inhérente au Junto de Disquiet. Notez également le minutage du segment vidéo sur lequel vous avez travaillé.

Titre/mot-clé : Lorsque vous ajoutez votre pièce au groupe Junto de Disquiet sur Soundcloud.com, veillez à y inclure l’expression « disquiet0134-MusicFromChoreography » dans le titre de votre pièce, mais
également comme mot-clé.

Téléchargement : Il est toujours préférable que votre piste soit définie comme téléchargeable, et permettant de la remixer avec une attribution (soit une licence Creative Commons permettant une diffusion à des fins non commerciales avec attribution).

Lien : lorsque vous publiez votre pièce, S.V.P. inclure ces informations et noter le minutage du segment vidéo sur lequel vous avez travaillé :

Plus de détails à propos de ce 134e projet Junto de Disquiet — « Compose music to accompany one minute of a dance video by Cori Marquis » : http://disquiet.com/2014/07/24/disquiet0134-MusicFromChoreography/

Plus de détails à propos du projet Junto de Disquiet : http://disquiet.com/?p=16588

Rejoindre le groupe Junto de Disquiet : http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Discussion générale à propos du projet Junto de Disquiet : http://disquiet.com/forums

. . .

Here are the instructions in Italian:

Progetto 0134 Disquiet Junto: Musica per coreografia Comporre musica di accompagnamento di un minuto di un video della danza di Cori Marquis.

Questo progetto prevede di contribuire con un minuto di musica per accompagnare il video di coreografie originali. Le fasi del progetto sono i seguenti:

1: Guarda il video di nove minuti al seguente link. E’ stato coreografato da Cori Marquis appositamente per il progetto Disquiet Junto:

http://vimeo.com/96093149

2:. Scegliere un numero casuale da 0 a 8. Una possibilità è quella di utilizzare questo seguente link, che genererà automaticamente un risultato:

http://goo.gl/J0ofmF

3: Il tuo segmento di un minuto inizia con il numero risultante dalla Fase 2. Ad esempio, se si ottiene il numero 6, si compone a partire dal minuto 06:00 al 06:59.. Se si ottiene il numero 0, allora si compone dal minuto 00:00 al 00:59.

4: Quando hai finito, caricare la traccia al gruppo Disquiet Junto su SoundCloud, seguendo le istruzioni riportate di seguito.

Nota: Si prega di notare che la partecipazione a questo progetto implica il consenso che Marquis possa impiegare alcune delle musiche prodotte in un edizione finale del video e che la musica sarà modificabile. Marquis potrebbe contattare qualche partecipante per considerare un ulteriore sviluppo del lavoro. Se avete qualche domanda, scrivete a marc@disquiet.com.

Scadenza: Lunedi 28 July 2014, alle 11:59, ovunque tu sia.

Lunghezza: la lunghezza del vostro lavoro è di 1 minuto.

Informazioni: Quando pubblicherai la tua traccia su SoundCloud, per favore inserisci una descrizione del processo di pianificazione, composizione e registrazione. Questa descrizione è un elemento essenziale del processo comunicativo inerente a Disquiet Junto. Si faccia notare anche il segmento del video hai lavorato.

Titolo / Tag: Quando si aggiunge la traccia al gruppo Inquietudine Junto su Soundcloud.com, si prega di includere il termine “disquiet0134-MusicFromChoreography” nel titolo della traccia, e tra i tag della traccia.

Download: E’ preferibile che la traccia sia impostata come scaricabile e che permetta di attribuire remix (per esempio, una licenza Creative Commons che permette la condivisione non commerciale con attribuzione).

Links: Con la pubblicazione del brano, si prega di essere sicuri di includere queste informazioni e prendendo nota del segmento di tempo che si è composto.

“More on this 134th Disquiet Junto project — “Compose music to accompany one minute of a dance video by Cori Marquis” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/07/24/disquiet0134-MusicFromChoreography/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/?p=16588

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums

. . .

Here are the instructions in Japanese:

Disquiet Junto Project 0134: コレオグラフィのための音楽

Cori Marquisさんの一分間のダンスにつける伴奏音楽を作曲してください。

今回は一分間にわたるオリジナルのダンス・コレオグラフィー作品に貢献するためのプロジェクトです。手順は以下です。

ステップ1:以下のリンクからCori Marquisさんが特別にdisquietのために創作したコレオグラフィを見てください。

http://vimeo.com/96093149

ステップ2: 0から8までの数からランダムな数字を選択してください。一つの方法は以下のリンクからランダムに生成する事もできます。

http://goo.gl/J0ofmF

ステップ3: あなたの制作した一分の長さの作品はステップ2の結果の時間によって再生スタートしてください。例えば、あなたがステップ2で6の数字を得た場合、あなたの作曲は6:00分から6:59秒までとなります。もしあなたが0の数字だった場合、伴奏は0:00分から0:59秒となります。

ステップ4: 制作が終わりましたらサウンドクラウドのDisquiet Juntoグループへ投稿してください。

注記: このプロジェクトへの参加はMarquisさんがあなたの制作した音楽を最終作品に使用する可能性があります。そして最終的に編集する可能性があることに留意してください。また参加者には最終作品に向けて作品を変更する相談があるかもしれません.質問など詳しくはmarc@disquiet.comまでおねがいします。

締切: 2014年7月28日(月)あなたがどこに住んでいるにかかかわらず

長さ : 作品の長さは一分にしてください(挿入方法は以上の指示です)

インフォメーション: サウンドクラウドに投稿する際は制作過程や構想、録音方法などの説明をできる限り付けてください。その説明がDisquiet Juntoグループでのコミュニケーションの大事な部分となります。(英語での相談でお困りの場合は翻訳者にご一報ください https://soundcloud.com/naotko)

タイトル/タグ: 投稿する場合には“disquiet0134-MusicFromChoreography″ をタグとタイトルに追加してください。

ダウンロード: ダウンロード可能でリミックス可能である事が望ましいです。 (例えば クリエイティヴ・コモンズの非商用シェアのアトリビューション).

リンク: 以下のリンクと、あなたがどの時間を一分として設定したかの情報をつけてください。

More on this 134th Disquiet Junto project — “Compose music to accompany one minute of a dance video by Cori Marquis” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/07/24/disquiet0134-MusicFromChoreography/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/?p=16588

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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My Aphex Twin Talk at CCRMA/Stanford

Full video from February 19, 2014 — plus techno.stanford.edu

The first talk I gave on my book Selected Ambient Works Volume II, in the 33 1/3 series, on the Aphex Twin album of that name was back on February 19 of this year, a few days after the book’s official release date. This is full video of that talk. It took place at Stanford University’s CCRMA, the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics:

One cool thing that came out of the event was the reviving of a URL that played an indirect but influential role in the history of the album. My book is as much about the cultural afterlife of Selected Ambient Works Volume II as it is about the album itself. Part of that afterlife took place online, with particular vitality on email discussion groups. The ones housed at Hyperreal.org were frequented by Greg Eden, whom I interviewed in the book, and who is the individual bearing primary responsibility for the words associated as track titles for the album (on which with one exception, the tracks are officially untitled). As background for the book, I interviewed Hyperreal.org founder Brian Behlendorf, who among other things explained to me that before Hyperreal got that name, it was running on “a dedicated box at the Medical Information Systems Group.” The URL for the boards was techno.stanford.edu. This was on a Sun Sparcstation 1+. The Hyperreal lists IDM@ and Ambient@ started on techno.stanford.edu in early 1993.

Speaking to the hometown crowd, I mentioned the techno.stanford.edu URL in my talk. Shortly after the event, Carr Wilkerson at CCRMA managed to get the URL — which had long since gone 404-error dormant — to redirect to the CCRMA home page.

Oh, and two facts to correct:

1: Toward the beginning I mention Jonathan Lethem’s entry in the 33 1/3 series, about the Talking Heads album Fear of Music. It is #86, not #89, in the series.

2: And very close to the end, in response to a question from the audience, I can’t recall the name of a sculptor whom John Cage compares his compositions to in his book Silence. The sculptor of wire works is Richard Lippold.

The video is housed at youtube.com. Original event listing at ccrma.stanford.edu.

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Tangents: Data Immersion, the Tuning of the Internet, Superloops, …

Plus: the emotional key of books, physical computer drums, quantum computer sounds, steampunk modular, and more

Tangents is an occasional collection of short, lightly annotated mentions of sound-related activities.

Data Immersion: Characteristically breathtaking video of a new work by Ryoji Ikeda, perhaps the leading installation poet of data immersion. This is of his piece “supersymmetry,” which relates to his residency at CERN, the supercollider. More at supersymmetry.ycam.jp:

In an interview he talks about the dark-matter research that informed his effort:

“Supersymmetry is being considered as a possible solution of the mystery of this dark matter. During the period I’m staying at CERN, there are experiments being carried out with the aim to prove the existence of as-yet undiscovered ‘supersymmetry particles’ that form pairs with the particles that make up the so-called ‘Standard Model’ catalogue of physical substances. Data and technologies of these experiments are not directly incorporated in the work, but I’m going to discuss a variety of things with the physicists at CERN, and the results of these discussions will certainly be reflected.”

Tones of the Internet: The tonal repository of the Internet is very different from the room tone of the Internet, which we explored in a recent Disquiet Junto project. Over at wired.com, Joseph Flaherty profiles Zach Lieberman, with an emphasis on his Play the World project, which scours the Internet for sounds — the music heard on radio stations — and then allows them to be played back. “Using the set-up,” Flagerty writes, “a person can literally turn the internet into a musical instrument.” What makes that sentence more than hyperbole is that the source audio is played at the note triggered by the user, though it’s by no means “the Internet” being played, and instead a fairly well-circumscribed and specific subset of the Internet. (The effort brings to mind the title of R. Murray Schafer’s classic book of sound studies, The Tuning of the World.) It’s part of DevArt, a Google digital art endeavor that has nothing to do with Deviant Art, the longstanding web forum for (largely) visual artists, or with Devart, the database software company. “Play the World, and several other DevArt projects,” reports Flaherty, ” will make their debut at the Barbican Gallery of Art in London in July, but the code is available on Github today.” There’s something intriguing about an art premiere that is preceded by the materials’ worldwide open-source availability. Here’s audio of the note A being played for 20 minutes based on a wide array of these sound sources. It appears to be from Zieberman’s own SoundCloud account, which oddly has only 15 followers as of this writing. Well, 16, because I just joined up:

The Singing Book: At hyperallergic.com, Allison Meier writes about an effort to extract the emotional content from writing and turn it into music. It’s a project by Hannah Davis and Saif Mohammad. Below is an example based on the novel Lord of the Flies. More at Davis and Mohammad’s musicfromtext.com. A few weeks back, the Junto explored a parallel effort to listen to the rhythm inherent in particular examples of writing, and to make music based on that rhythm:

Everyday Drum: The divisions between words like “analog” and “digital,” and “electric” and “acoustic,” are far more blurred than they get credit for, as evidenced by this fine implementation of an iPad triggering not just physical beats, but whimsically innovative ones made from bottle caps, buttons, grains tacks, and other everyday objects (found via twitter.com/Chris_Randall). The project is by Italy-based Lorenzo Bravi, more from whom at lorenzobravi.com:

LED Modular: Vice Motherboard’s DJ Pangburn interviews Charles Lindsay (the SETI artist-in-residence, who invited me to give that talk last month) on his massive LED installation, which involves the chance nature of modular synthesis applied to recordings of the Costa Rica rainforest. Says Lindsay:

“I love modular synthesis, the unpredictable surprises, the textures and wackiness,” he said of his heavily-cabled Eurorack modular synthesizer. “My rig is populated by a lot of SNAZZY FX’s modules. I’m part of the company, which is essentially Dan Snazelle, a wonderful genius, inventor and musician. We share an approach that says ‘let’s build these things and see what happens.’”

Also part of the LED exhibit, titled Carbon IV, is audio sourced from the quantum artificial intelligence laboratory at NASA Ames. Here’s audio from Linday’s SoundCloud account:

Superloops: Rob Walker shifts attention from the “supercut” of related material — like the “yeahs” of Metallica’s James Hetfield — to the superloop of standalone elements. “The opposite of a supercut,” writes Walker at Yahoo! Tech, “the superloop condenses nothing. To the contrary, it takes one brief moment of sound or video and repeats it.” It was an honor to be queried, along with Ethan Hein, in Walker’s research. I pointed him to the great sounds of the Star Trek enterprise on idle. … And in somewhat related news, in Walker’s “The Workologist” column in The New York Times, in which he responds to “workplace conundrums” from readers, he has some advice for someone bothered by an office mate’s gum chewing (“Other than the clicking of keys and occasional phone calls, it’s the only sound in an otherwise quiet office”); he writes, in part:

Because you’ve ruled out music, maybe a comfortable set of noise-canceling headphones — tuned to nothing — would be enough to blunt the irritating sounds. Or you could consider any number of “white noise” generators that are available free online. Noisli.com, for example, generates forest sounds, coffee-shop noise and the like. You also could do a little research on “ambient” music and use a service like Pandora to construct a nondistracting sound stream. Such approaches may be inoffensive enough that you can simply play the sound at low volume from your computer — no earbuds required.

Steampunk Modular: By and large, I tend to keep the threshold of coverage above the level of “things that look neat,” but sometimes that neat is neat enough that I can’t resist, especially when it’s tied to a fine achievement by a talented sound practitioner. Richard Devine has posted on Instagram this shot of steampunk-style effects module, encased in an old book, that he got from the makers of the Xbox One video game Wolfenstein: The New Order:

Synesthesia Robots: And here’s one from Kid Koala of his lofi visual interface for his sampler. Koala is a talented cartoonist as well as an ace downtempo DJ. Those efforts have collided in a score he’s made for a graphic novel, and in various staged performances he’s put together, and this achieves a functional correlation in a very simple manner:

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Aliens + Interrogative Music @ SETI

Video of my 20-minute talk on the Disquiet Junto (plus Ed Frenkel's and a Q&A) from April 22, 2014

When you reference Ezra Pound’s statement that “The artist is the antennae of the race” at SETI, the “antennae” part takes on a whole richer meaning. SETI hosts weekly colloquium at its Mountain View, California, offices, and a few times a year those talks put aside interstellar science and are, instead, organized by SETI’s artist-in-residence. Right now that artist-in-residence is Charles Lindsay, and he invited me and mathematician Edward Frenkel, professor at UC Berkeley and author of the well-received book Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality, to talk last week. This is a lightly edited video of the talk. The video is lo-fi, but the sound is good. The format of the video is that, after a short introduction by Lindsay, I talk for 20 minutes, then Frenkel talks for about 20 minutes, and then there’s an extended conversation, between the three of us, and then involving questions from the audience. I’m quite proud to have had my humanity thrown back at me during the Q&A by Lawrence Doyle. Also in the audience was SETI co-founder Jill Tarter.

My talk is about what I sometimes refer to as “Networked Creativity,” which I do here. Other times I call it, simply, “Doing Stuff Together Separately,” or “Ambient Participation.” In the talk I walk through the activity and development of the Disquiet Junto, the weekly music projects I’ve moderated since the first week of 2012. In the course of my talk I play five examples of results of these weekly music projects. The one by Mark Ward was particularly resonant at SETI, because it involved sounds recorded from Voyager 1 as it left the solar system. These are the five musicians whose tracks were included in my SETI talk:

Project 0036 / Grzegorz Bojanek / Poraj, Poland

Project 0002 / J Butler / Pittsburgh, Penn.

Project 0089 / Mark Ward / Sheffield, England

Project 0107 / Naoyuki Sasanami / Tokyo, Japan

Project 0066 / Jess Lemont / Milwaukee, Wis.

The talk was somewhat tailored for SETI, so with that in mind, here is a transcript of my opening statement, just for context:

“I just want to say thanks, first, to SETI for inviting me, to Ed for sharing the stage with me, and to Charles for setting the whole thing up. It is very much appreciated. I recently had a book published, as Charles mentioned, and so my publisher would like to thank you, as well. [Jill Tarter asks from the audience, "Do you have copies here?"] Just this one, that Charles brought, because he’s much smarter about these things than I am. I learn a step at a time.

So, when Charles asked me to speak at SETI, he asked what I wanted to talk about. I do a lot of different things, all circulating around the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and I recently published this book. I write for places like Nature, I have my own website, Disquiet.com, since 1996, I teach a course about the role of sound in the media landscape. I gave a lot of thought to SETI, to what would be appropriate. I thought about the central focus of communication to what you do here, I thought about indirect and chance communication, especially communication that isn’t inherently verbal. I thought about the interconnected arrays of radio telescopes, and about the network effect of SETI@home, that pioneering achievement.

So, in turn, I welcome this, ultimately, as an opportunity to speak about a specific thing I’ve been doing for a while now, an ongoing and expansive networked community of hundreds of musicians around the world, and sound artists, that I initiated at the start of 2012. I should say that the project is now a I little over two years old, but I’m still learning to speak about it because of all the investiagations I’m involved in, this is the one I probe the least in terms of trying to figure out how it works. So this talk is me walking around it, trying to figure it out, because I don’t want to totally demistify it, but I do want to share what I’ve learned these past two years about working with hundreds of musicians, upwards of 450 at this point, around the world each week.”

The structure of the talk is as follows: I explain how the Junto works. I walk through three different projects (0036, in which we made music that explore how classical music connects with abstract expressionism; 0002, in which sounds of fog horns and trains are combined; and 0089, the Voyager 1 piece). I give an overview of the range of projects, 120 weekly ones as of when the talk was given. I talk about how this work arose from my enjoyment of interviewing musicians and artists — how an interview involves asking 50 questions of one person, and the Junto in turn is like asking one question of 50 people. I discuss how many Junto projects involve forging partnerships, and then how each project probes ideas. By way of example, I play music from a project that involves exploring ideas from my book on Aphex Twin’s album Selected Ambient Works Volume II (project 0107 above). I share a bad joke about experimental music concerts — that everyone in the audience is also an experimental musician — and try to turn it on its head and look at the positive aspects of that notion of community. I then express misgivings about the term “experimental music” and discuss how I’m slowly exploring an alternate phrase, “interrogative music,” to get away from the broad generalization of an experiment and to get closer to the purpose, the intent, the pursuit. I talk through examples of online music communities that came before and after the Disquiet Junto. I talk about the notion of “parallel play” in childhood development, and how it relates to doing something with the knowledge that someone else is doing it nearby (even if “nearby” means across the world, but also in the same network of creative individuals). I note the term “acoustemology” and talk about what the “sonic potential energy” of the Internet might be. I play a fifth and final Junto piece, in which members commune with a Junto regular who passed away a year ago this month. I talk about the Ezra Pound quote regarding how “Artists are the antennae of the race.” And in closing I talk about how communities of creative individuals — whether musicians, or artists, or scientists — set the stage for their participants to achieve greater things than they might have individually, even if they don’t directly collaborate with each other.

And at the end of the talk I mention that the next project, the 121st, would explore ideas from Frenkel’s book.

Like the Junto, this talk is a work in progress, but it’s a pretty good snapshot of where my head is at right now.

By the way, if the “antennae” of Ezra Pound’s statement “The artist is the antennae of the race” takes on new meaning at SETI, this is all the more the case when you’re sharing the stage with a mathematician who, as an ethnic Jew raised in Russia, suffered from intense state-sanctioned anti-semitism that clearly took Orwell and Kafka as playbooks. Frenkel, during his SETI lecture, doesn’t dwell on the anti-semitism he experienced as a teenage math prodigy raised in Russia, though it is at the core of his compelling and educative book Love and Math. This particular connection to Pound is one I hadn’t made until it came up in conversation on Tuesday. Such additional connections and layers of meaning are the natural result of a discussion by individuals who have quite different pursuits, and Tuesday, for me at least, was no disappointment in that regard. It was a highly enjoyable conversation.

Video posted at youtube.com. It’s also online at SETI’s plus.google.com page. More on Frenkel’s book at loveandmathbook.com. More from Lindsay at charleslindsay.com. Visit SETI at seti.org.

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