New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • Disquiet.com F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Last Night

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt

Final night in the house I grew up in. Tomorrow it becomes someone else’s house. They’ll be its second owner. I had long forgotten, until this afternoon, that there was a peculiar additional doorbell on the exterior wall facing the backyard. Not quite Rosebud, but something for sure.

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45 Holder

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt

Back on Long Island, helping my mom clean out the house we moved into when I was about two weeks old. Found this spot in a cabinet where my late dad had installed a holder for the family room stereo system’s 45 rpm adapter.

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twitter.com/disquiet: Guitar-less Practice, Diminished Chords

From the past week

I do this manually each Saturday, usually in the morning over coffee: collating most of the tweets I made the past week at twitter.com/disquiet, which I think of as my public notebook. Some tweets pop up sooner in expanded form or otherwise on Disquiet.com. I’ve found it personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud. This isn’t a full accounting. Often there are, for example, conversations on Twitter that don’t really make as much sense out of the context of Twitter itself. And sometimes I tweak them a bit, given the additional space. And sometimes I re-order them just a bit.

▰ Thinking about diminished chords for too long diminished my brain. Generally speaking the more complex chords look like chemistry symbols to me, but the slash-zero as half-diminished chord in the thick handwriting of the Real Book makes me think about the runes in an old Tolkien paperback.

▰ Oh, sure, internet, send me news of a new Michael Mann interview three minutes before I have a long and important work call. Thanks. I’ll savor it later.

▰ Album title if you need one:

▰ Just finished reading Blindsight by Peter Watts. In it, a post-human spaceship crew is on the verge of first contact. And just to make matters more complicated, the ship is sentient and the person in command is a vampire. This is so-called “hard” sci-fi, but unlike a lot of hard sci-fi that’s really just heavily researched arcane jargon en masse, this is actually hard (as in difficult), in that the technical matters are connected to what it means to be human — heck, to be alive. (The 19th novel I’ve finished reading this year.)

▰ You’re traveling for a few weeks without a guitar. How do you best practice guitar, other than locating a loaner:

Speaking note sequences out loud?
Disecting chords?
Watching tutorials?
Reading theory?

Ideas welcome. Thanks.

▰ I want to see this remake of Nosferatu. (via twitter.com/_simeonsmith)

▰ I’ve had some weird coincidences recently. Last night’s took the cake. About to watch Only Murders in the Building, I first watched a brief Michael Mann interview, during which was a Last of the Mohicans clip — only for Martin Short to then say the same line in the OMitB episode.

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30 Years after Cage

Connecting two festivals

Tobias Reber informed me this morning — or this evening, that is, in Bern, Switzerland, where Reber is based — that today marks the 30th anniversary of John Cage’s death, which occurred on August 12, 1992. The comment, via Facebook, came on the occasion of a project we’re currently undertaking, the third in a sequence of music prompts for Musikfestival Bern. This marks the fourth consecutive year of the Disquiet Junto’s collaboration with the festival, thanks to Reber’s invitation. As it turns out, the project currently underway is built on Cage (details at disquiet.com/0554). It takes a chord from a Cage composition and asks contributors to create drones based on that chord. The project began yesterday, the 11th, and will continue through this coming Monday, the 15th.

As always with Junto projects, which I’ve now been moderating for over a decade, the sheer variety of approaches by musicians has been inspiring. One participant built a system in the Pure Data coding language, while another used a different instrument for each note in the chord, and someone else played it on the beautiful Hyve touch synthsizer. The tracks are appearing one at a time on a llllllll.co discussion thread.

Cage’s death is also on my mind because I’ve been re-reading his conversations with Morton Feldman that were collected in the essential MusikTexte book Radio Happenings, a portion of which inspired another Musikfestival Bern project a few weeks ago.

It’s been a while since I thought about the one time I saw Cage in person, which must have been not long before he passed away. He sat just in front of me in the audience at a Bang on a Can Marathon performance by Margaret Leng Tan of some of his work. I could swear it was toy piano music being played, but a review by Edward Rothstein that year — the year Cage turned 80 — says it was a regular piano (see: nytimes.com). This would have been at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in Manhattan. If memory serves, I was sitting with the late K. Robert Schwarz, who died of AIDS in 1999 and had written for me when I was an editor at Tower Records’ Pulse! magazine. Also, if I’m not mistaken, Tan sat with Cage in the audience up until it was time to perform. And Cage, quite sweetly, drifted off to sleep during her performance.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0554: Cage Chord

The Assignment: Riff on a chord by John Cage.

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.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, August 15, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 11, 2022.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0554: Cage Chord
The Assignment: Riff on a chord by John Cage.

This project is the third of three that are being done in collaboration with the 2022 Musikfestival Bern, which will be held in Switzerland from September 7 through 11. The topic this year is “unvermittelt,” which is a little tricky to translate. Literally it’s “unmediated,” but it can also mean “sudden,” “abrupt,” or “immediate.”

We are working at the invitation of Tobias Reber, an early Junto participant, who is in charge of the educational activities of the festival. This is the fourth year in a row that the Junto has collaborated with Musikfestival Bern.

Select recordings resulting from these three Disquiet Junto projects will be played and displayed throughout the festival.

Step 1: Consider this chord:

E5
A#4
E4
D#4
Db3
C3

If MIDI is of use to you, here is a link to the chord in a MIDI file:

https://disquiet.com/0554-midi

Step 2: You might read up a bit about the source of the chord, the piece “Organ²/ASLSP” by John Cage. Cage desired the piece to be played “As Slow As Possible.” Currently it is being performed in Halberstadt, Germany, on a special organ that will play it for a total of 639 years. It’s been going for 21 years so far, and is at this moment playing the above chord. Read up here:

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-02-04/john-cage-organ-slow-as-possible-halberstadt-germany

Step 3: Produce a loopable drone (duration between one and three minutes) of your own based on that chord.

Note: Submitted drones will be sequenced into one large drone piece to be played at the Cage Room, a pop-up workshop and exhibition space of the festival at Progr, Bern, Switzerland.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0554” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your tracks.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0554” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation of a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your tracks. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your tracks.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0554-cage-chord/

Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #DisquietJunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Step 8: Also join in the discussion on the Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to [email protected] for Slack inclusion.

Note: Please post one track for this weekly Junto project. If you choose to post more than one, and do so on SoundCloud, please let me know which you’d like added to the playlist. Thanks.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, August 15, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 11, 2022.

Length: The length should be between one and three minutes.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0554” in the title of the tracks, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, 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 always best to set your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 554th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Cage Chord (The Assignment: Riff on a chord by John Cage) — at: https://disquiet.com/0554/

Thanks to Tobias Reber and Musikfestival Bern for collaboration on this project. More on the festival at:

https://www.musikfestivalbern.ch/
https://www.instagram.com/musikfestival_bern
https://www.facebook.com/musikfestivalbern

More on the Disquiet Junto at: https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here: https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0554-cage-chord/

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)

  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

    Recent Projects

  • 0554 / Cage Chord / The Assignment: Riff on a chord by John Cage.
    0553 / Break That Cycle / The Assignment: Record in a steady tempo but break it on occasion.
    0552 / The Radio in My Life / The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation.
    0551 / The Bends / The Assignment: Get less strict about something you're strict about.
    0550 / Abrupt Probability / Make music based on a chance graphic score.

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    And there is a complete list of past projects, 554 consecutive weeks to date.

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