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

Scanning the Background

A reworking of Alan Dunn and Martyn Rainford

20140414-colonize Scanner’s reworking of a track by Alan Dunn and Martyn Rainford is the latest in a series of efforts by the duo to explore the idea of “background.” The source audio for their remix is their A History of Background CD. This remix by Scanner is part of a dubplate made for an exhibit currently going on in Jamestown, New York, under the name Colonize. It’s a rich, constantly shifting piece, snatches of dubby static and gadgety fragments heard over a compelling electronic-tribal beat, bits of vocal tweaked and layered, filtered and muffled, until they’re just beyong ready comprehension — leaving them lingering in, as it were, the background.

Track originally posted for free download at 67projects1.bandcamp.com. More on the originating project at alandunn67.co.uk. The Jamestown exhibit was funded thanks to a kickstarter.com campaign. A previous remix in the series is by Dr Cyclops, and it is also available for free. Scanner promoted this on both his Facebook and Twitter pages, which are highly recommended.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0113: Pretty Groundhog

Record a piece of music that slowly improves, in tribute to the late Harold Ramis' film Groundhog Day.

20140227-ramis

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 by participants will be added to this playlist as the project proceeds:

This project was published in the evening, California time, on Thursday, February 27, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, Marc 3, 2014, as the deadline.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0113: Pretty Groundhog

This week’s project is dedictaed to the late Harold Ramis, and it takes as its theme his film Groundhog Day. In the film, the character played by Bill Murray gets up each morning and hears the same song on the clock radio. As the film proceeds, Murray’s character relives the same day over and over, slowly perfecting the day by making mistakes and then learning from his mistakes. This composition prompt is informed by that narrative.

Step 1: Extract the first 33 seconds of the track “Pretty Little Baby” as performed by Josephine Baker as housed on this web page:

https://archive.org/details/JosephineBaker-21-30

Step 2: Record a composition that follows the following format. You will play a few seconds of the track, and then insert a “mistake,” pushing the original composition in a direction other than the one documented in the recording. This “mistake” will proceed for a few seconds.

Step 3: The original composition will then be heard to begin again, from the start, and will play from the beginning for a few seconds more than the first time; again, when it reaches a certain point, you will insert a “mistake” and let it play for a few seconds.

Step 4: You will repeat this process several times, each time adding a little bit of the original recording, until the recording finally is heard to play in full.

Deadline: Monday, March 3, 2014, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your finished work should be between 2 minute and 5 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 “disquiet0113-prettygroundhog” 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, be sure to include this information:

More on this 113th Disquiet Junto project (“Record a piece of music that slowly improves, in tribute to the late Harold Ramis’ film Groundhog Day”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/02/27/disquiet0113-prettygroundhog/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

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

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

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

Photo associated with this project from the following Wikimedia page:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Groundhog,_eating.jpg

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Disquiet Junto Project 0110: WSB100

Celebrate the 100th birthday of that old cut-up, William S. Burroughs.

burroughs

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 by participants will be added to this playlist as the project proceeds:

This project was published in the evening, California time, on Thursday, February 6, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, February 10, 2014, as the deadline.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0110: WSB100

The day before this project began marked the 100th birthday of William S. Burroughs, who passed away in 1997. We celebrate his literary legacy by employing one of his classic artistic subroutines, the cut-up. (Special thanks to C. Reider of Vuzh Music for the centennial reminder.)

These are the steps:

Step 1: Take the lead article from your local newspaper and write down the first 18 sentences on separate slips of paper — or, if you prefer, extract the first 18 lines on separate strips of paper.

Step 2: Label these pieces of text from 1 to 18.

Step 3: Either read them out loud or use text-to-speech and record them.

Step 4: Construct the vocal of a song using the material. Sequence the vocal in the following order. Note that text element 3 serves as the chorus and text element 15 serves as the bridge. The remaining elements are in random sets of four, with no repetition.

3 3 3 3
14 10 5 7
3 3 3 3
8 18 11 4
3 3 3 3
6 17 12 9
15 15 15 15
3 3 3 3
13 2 16 1
3 3 3 3

Add music, whatever instrumentation you choose, to flesh this out into a proper song.

Step 5: When posting the track be sure to include a link to the originating source article. If you cut up the text by hand, please include photos of your process.

Deadline: Monday, February 10, 2014, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your finished work should be between 1 minute and 4 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 “disquiet0110-wsb100” 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, be sure to include this information:

More on this 110th Disquiet Junto project (“Celebrate the 100th birthday of that old cut-up, William S. Burroughs”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/02/06/disquiet0110-wsb100/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

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

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

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

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A Very Scanner Christmas

Holiday music from Robin Rimbaud

When you hear that Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner, has recorded a cover of “White Christmas,” perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is surveillance audio of Santa making his annual sleigh ride — a sound art version of the Official NORAD Santa Tracker. Scanner made his name — that name — early on by plucking dialog from the ether thanks to his namesake object, and adding layers of narrative and emotion with delicate electronic textures. But it turns out his “White Christmas” is very much the song, coming in at a relaxed three and a half minutes. The only plucking here is of what sounds like a harp, and there’s a fair amount of sleigh bells at the close.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/scanner. More from Scanner — who lives in London but who seems to travel more log more air miles than Santa — at scannerdot.com.

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Music for (and by) Software Testers

A three-track podcast from Mark Rushton of Iowa City

20131202-crandic

“This is music I make to listen to while at work,” says Mark Rushton of Iowa City, Iowa, at the start of the 60th episode of his Ambient Podcast. For some two decades, Rushton has worked as a software tester, and in his off hours he is a prolific maker of electronic music. As he explains in the episode, “I create my own soundtracks.” The podcast episode is under a quarter of an hour in length and it features Rushton introducing three tracks from his most recent album, titled Machines. The pieces are all rhythmically ambiguous, including a shuddering thrum that takes its name, “Crandic,” from the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway. The third, “Hello Friends,” was recorded in front of an audience and is an example of what he describes as “live hyper-micing,” about which I’m looking forward to learning more.

The full Machines album, from which these tracks are excerpted, is at markrushton.bandcamp.com. More about Rushton’s podcast at markrushton.com. Image from flickr.com.

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