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: video

The World-Weary Robots of Wouter van Veldhoven

Something akin to a team-up between Pierre Bastien and Nam June Paik

Before hitting play, consider expanding this video to full-screen, and turning off your lights, and wearing headphones, and maybe even dimming the screen a bit. For 10 minutes, immerse yourself in this compound-like studio installation of Wouter van Veldhoven. The performance is titled “automated reed organ, old televisions, radios and other machines,” which is helpful, because otherwise we’d very much be in the dark, quite literally, about what’s going on. Lights swell and recede, giving snapshot glimpses of equipment, notably a wide array of old reel-to-reel tape recorder-players, and cathode-ray TVs tuned to no channel in particular. The pacing and the clack of the momentary illumination suggests a slide projector is in effect. The “automated” aspect of the title gives some sense of what’s going on, that the machines are being triggered in various ways that treats them more like samples in physical form than as musical interfaces, and the line items of equipment explain what’s being triggered. The result is something akin to a team-up between Pierre Bastien (robotic derivations of old-world instrumentation, notably that sad-sack reed organ) and Nam June Paik (Cold War–era media art). It’s a tremendous piece, bringing to mind steampunk aesthetics, but exploring them without the emphasis on fashion filigree. There’s little here that doesn’t need to be here. There’s no visual artifice added to the tape machines or the TV, for example. They’ve just been jacked into a hand-made system that produces archaic, romantic music. Part of the romance relates to van Veldhoven’s presence. He’s seen coming in and out of view, apparently tweaking the apparatuses, like a custodian from a Hayao Miyazaki movie who is charged with the constant maintenance of some fragile, failing infrastructure.

Video originally posted at the YouTube channel of Wouter van Veldhoven, who is based in Utrecht. More from him at twitter.com/WvVeldhoven and woutervanveldhoven.tumblr.com.

It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.”

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Disquiet Junto Project 0243: Synth Trial

The Assignment: Share the best track from your audition tape for Blade Runner 2.

voightk

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 was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, August 25, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 29, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0243: Synth Trial
The Assignment: Share the best track from your audition tape for Blade Runner 2.

Please pay particular attention to all the instructions below, in light of SoundCloud having closed down its Groups functionality.

Big picture: One thing arising from the end of the Groups functionality is a broad goal, in which an account on SoundCloud is not necessary for Disquiet Junto project participation. We’ll continue to use SoundCloud, but it isn’t required to use SoundCloud. The aspiration is for the Junto to become “platform-agnostic,” which is why using a message forum, such as llllllll.co, as a central place for each project may work well.

And now, on to this week’s project.

Project Steps:

Step 1: As you now know, Jóhann Jóhannsson was selected to score Blade Runner 2. The news means, among other things, that you didn’t get the gig. Please reconcile yourself with this.

Step 2: Please share your favorite track from the audition tape you sent to Ridley Scott.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Per the instructions below, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0243” (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: This is a fairly new step, if you’ve done a Junto project previously. In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co post your track:

http://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0243-synth-trial/4288

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.

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, August 25, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 29, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Three minutes seems like a good maximum.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0243” 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:

More on this 243rd weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Share the best track from your audition tape for Blade Runner 2” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0243/

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/disquiet-junto-project-0243-synth-trial/4288

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

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The Generative Patch as Fixed Recording

A live video by Flohr of Atlanta, Georgia

Like yesterday’s featured video, this video pushes the legibility of live filmed performance. Yesterday’s technically involved multiple live takes overlaid, each obscuring the others, and the ambient quality of it having less to do with any individual performance in the first place and more with the chance correlations that occurred as a result of the post-production act of accrual. Today’s video, by Flohr, is too murky and unidentifiable to ever be mistaken as a tutorial. And, of course, any modular synthesizer piece, such as this, that employs self-generating patches thus involves little if any human interaction. The hand comes down from above, the scale and surprise a bit like a Monty Python animation, a couple times, but by and large, this is really a live performance as fixed document — a patch playing out in realtime as something set in stone nonetheless, or in this case set in plastic and metal. The piece, “Spring Reverb Feedback Paths” by Flohr, is a shiny, rapidly cycling shimmer worth putting on repeat.

Flohr is Eric Flohr Reynolds of Atlanta, Georgia. More from him at soundcloud.com/flohr and ericflohrreynolds.bandcamp.com.

It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.”

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More from Lanois’ Ambient Album

A second track from Goodbye to Language

The Anti- label has posted another track from Daniel Lanois’ forthcoming Goodbye to Language album. It’s even more tripwire and slipstream than the previously shared “Heavy Sun.” The new piece, “Deconstruction,” is even more likely to turn on a moment’s notice, and to shift subtly from one transient listening zone to the next. It plays almost like a trailer of the album, composed as it is of myriad small segments, muffled blasts of warped pedal steel, gaseous cloud effects in full force. It features Rocco DeLuca on guitar, though his performance, like Lanois’, is so deeply consumed by processing that the presence of the instrument is artfully muddied, to the extreme. The album will be released on September 9.

There’s also a video that, like the music, emphasizes atmosphere. It’s packed with images of Lanois at work, but they’re all through fish-eye lenses, or are filmed close up, or appear in quick, fractured moments:

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/antirecords. More on the album at anti.com.

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Amanda Feery’s Cello + Electronics

A rough draft of her "Stray Sods" — plus a video excerpt

“Stray Sods,” as heard here, is a rough take of a piece for cello and electronics by Amanda Feery, the Dublin-based composer. The first thing you hear in the piece isn’t the cello, at least not in recognizable form, but a pulsing, filmic, beading field of percussion. The effect of these tiny percussive tones is caught somewhere between a tossed snow globe and the sound design of a particularly heightened moment in a contemporary thriller. A cello enters that zone and saws long, held notes. It fills the space between the many pointillist dots. At first the cello is halting, cautious, and then it gains melodic complexity. This isn’t a whisper-to-a-scream composition, however. Pauses come at appropriate increments, and the percussion fades back and forth between modes in a manner that suggests time shifts and tectonic adjustments. There have been times when I’ve let the nearly seven minutes of “Stray Sods” play on repeat for hours, and I recommend doing so.

As a bonus, here’s a video excerpt of “Stray Sods” performed by cellist Amanda Gookin. It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.”

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/vanessaparody. More on Feery, who is completing a PhD in Compositon at Princeton, at amandafeery.com.

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