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: voice

Grouper on the Side of the Angels

A preview of the Bug's forthcoming album

20140716-bug Like Moby with the album Innocents and Prefuse 73 with The Only She Chapters, the Bug (aka Kevin Martin) for his next album is teaming up with a suite of guest vocalists. The record, Angels & Devils, is due out August 25 from Ninja Tune. On the angels side of that title equation is Grouper, aka Liz Harris, who contributes a bit of breathy heaven to the appropriately titled “Void,” a downtempo track whose fairly relaxed pace is undercut by anxiously jangling percussion. The embeddable seems to be turned off, but it’s streaming for free at soundcloud.com/ninja-tune. Other vocalists announced for Angels & Devils thus far include copeland, Miss Red, Gonjasufi, Flowdan, Manga, Death Grips, and Warrior Queen. More from the Bug at atwarwithtime.com and ninjatune.net.

One warning: Angels & Devils is, by definition, an album of contrasts, and at the current moment, as if to emphasize that modus operandi, the Harris track fades out only to be followed by the intense “Function,” featuring Manga.

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Vocal Confection

A new track from Brooklyn-based Lanx

Layers of vocal elements combine to form “As We Fall,” some of them hazy and textural, while others feature a restrained but formidable coloratura one might listen for in opera. The track, just over five minutes in length, moves through several phases, in a suite-like fashion, each punctuated with occasional pneumatic beats, chimes, and other percussive elements.

The track is by Lanx, who is based in Brooklyn, and who I believe is Christine Papania of the ensemble Pantree Owl.

Bonus: There’s video of a vocal track-in-progress on vine.co:

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/lanx-music. More from Lanx at twitter.com/__Lanx. More from Pantree Owl at pantreeowl.bandcamp.com.

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Got Those Junto Blues

Kurt Anderson's Studio 360 and John Schaefer's Soundcheck both praise Disquiet Junto tracks.

The winning entry — well, one of two tying winning entries — in a blues-song cover challenge launched by Kurt Anderson’s Studio 360 radio show was the work of a Disquiet Junto regular, and the result of a Disquiet Junto project.

Back on May 8, Studio 360 announced its “1914 Blues Challenge,” in which listeners would create covers of the W.C. Handy blues classic “The Yellow Dog Blues,” which turns 100 this year. And today the show announced the winners, as chosen by guest judge Chocolate Genius, aka Marc Anthony Thompson. Thompson couldn’t decide between two entries, one of them by Junto regular Westy Reflector, aka Dave Westreich. The other winner was Kelly Pratt, who records as Bright Moments.

Here’s the Studio 360 announcement:

And here’s Westy Reflector’s cover:

Challenges like the blues cover initiated by Studio 360 have a lot in common with the Disquiet Junto: open calls based around a specific prompt. I’m always on the lookout for an external project that seems like it would be fun to put forward to the Junto, especially a project where the Junto’s interest in abstract sound might provide some unique contributions. This particular Studio 360 project seemed especially appropriate because of the sense in which the blues was never fully about composition as an end, but about a rich community of shared source material. The blues, like other forms of folk music, is a source of inspiration for the Creative Commons, and this seemed like a good time to make that connection. That connection is emphasized in the Studio 360 broadcast, when it’s mentioned how in the blues “lyrics are passed form person to person, generation to generation.”

And I just learned today, as well, that a month ago on John Schaefer’s Soundcheck radio show, two more Junto entries from the “Yellow Dog” project were commended, versions by Tom Anderson and Ethan Hein. Here’s the broadcast, from May 28:

Here’s Tom Anderson’s version:

Here’s Ethan Hein’s version:

And here is the full Junto project, which was number 125:

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Disquiet Junto Project 0128: One Year Ago

Write a score to accompany a short piece of text you wrote a year ago today.

20140612-ayearago

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.

This project was published in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, June 12, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, June 16, 2014, as the deadline.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0128: One Year Ago

We just these past few weeks launched a new online forum for discussion by members of the Disquiet Junto (at disquiet.com/forums). So, it seems fitting to engage in a project that involves us hearing each others’ actual voices — and, thanks to the vantage provided by passing time, to hear our own.

These are the steps:

Step 1: Locate some text that you wrote one year ago. It might be a tweet, a Facebook post, an excerpt from an email, a review of a product on Amazon.com, a shopping list, a diary entry, the day’s events in a calendar. (You can interpret “today” in the first step to mean June 16, or the date that you do this project.)

Step 2: Record yourself reading the text aloud.

Step 3: Compose a short piece of music that accompanies the recording of you reading the text. Have the piece open with at least five seconds of sound before your voice kicks in and have at least five seconds of sound at the end after you speak your final syllable.

Deadline: Monday, June 16, 2014, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: The length of your finished work will be determined by the text you select, likely between 30 seconds and two minutes.

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.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0128-ayearago″ 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 128th Disquiet Junto project — “Write a score to accompany a short piece of text you wrote a year ago today” — at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/06/12/disquiet0128-ayearago/

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

Photo associated with this project originally by Dustin Ground, used via Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) license:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dground/502943475

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“Så Kan Det Gå”

Alveola unveils her glitchy puzzle.

“Så kan det gå” by the Swedish musician Alveola Ämting lays a tremulous vocal amid a light shimmer of broken static. Her granular sounds, a gentle if brittle smattering of nano-sonic fissures, give way as time passes to her halting, slow-paced intonation:

I was not looking for trouble But I got caught by a siren song You keep me busy with your puzzles

I know I should keep off your heart But I don’t fancy normal love You can hold me responsible Cause I’m the one that follows you around

The vocal is lightly processed, the words melding with the background, so where the treated verbalization ends and the backdrop begins is kept enticingly uncertain. Alveola indeed keeps our ears busy with her puzzles.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/alveola. Alveola Ämting is based in Härnösand, Sweden. More at alveola.se and her youtube.com channel.

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