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.

Orbital Patterns Live in the Studio

Celebrating Jamuary with "Found in the Fog"

Opening with the scattery noise associated with wind on an exposed microphone, before fading into what appears to be backward-masked strings, “Found in the Fog” is the first video of the year from Orbital Patterns (aka Michigan-based Abdul Allums). The camera moves around his studio as the piece plays, a glimpse of a synthesizer here, a standalone music-computer there, a guitar pedal, a laptop. (Also, note that at least one of the modules heard, visible at the two-minute mark, is from the Instruō company, whose founder was the subject of an interview I posted last weekend.) It all comes together with Allums’ trademark seesawing ease, a loping quality that is as mellow as it is mysterious, as casual as it is reclusive.

Video originally posted at YouTube as part of Jamuary. More at instagram.com/0rbitalpatterns and twitter.com/orbitalpatterns.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0472: Jam Time (1 of 3)

The Assignment: Record the first third of a trio that others will complete.

We’ve done variations on this project several times in the past as part of the Disquiet Junto, and it’s always been a great way for members, new and longtime, to experience quite immediately the sorts of connections, community, and collaboration that inform ongoing participation. When we began this project last year, on March 19, 2020, the pandemic had just begun to kick in here in the United States, where I live. It had already, of course, begun to make its mark elsewhere around the globe.

Ongoing circumstances, then and now, bring special meaning to the project, different from when we first did it many years ago. The idea this week is that you will record the first third of what will eventually become a trio. Next week people will add to tracks from this week, and the week after people will, in effect, complete the unforeseen, unimagined trios. Some of this week’s projects will, inevitably, be used more than once, leading to interrelated branches of creativity — and more importantly, connecting musicians around the world.

It’s a foundational concept of the Disquiet Junto, since January 2012, that the participants all gain energy and inspiration from the knowledge that somewhere around the world, other people are cogitating on and acting on the same four-day project as they are. Projects such as this particular one build on that idea by bringing together various subsets of the far-flung Junto community into short-lived, ad-hoc, self-guided groupings.

The difference during the pandemic, of course, is there exists a larger set of factors we all have in common, and we have them in common not just with the 1,600-plus other subscribers to the Junto mailing list, but with the world’s populace. We aren’t just facing this creative challenge together. We are facing a new challenge in the form of the global pandemic and its ramifications — physical, emotional, economic. Which is to say: thanks, as always, for your generosity with your time and creativity, and all the more so during these strange times in which we find ourselves.

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, January 18, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 14, 2020.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0472: Jam Time (1 of 3)
The Assignment: Record the first third of a trio that others will complete.

Step 1: This week’s Junto project is the first in a sequence intended to invite, encourage, and reward collaboration. You will be recording something with the understanding that it will remain unfinished for the time being. Your part will be done, but more will happen. Read on.

Step 2: The plan is for you to record a short and original piece of music, on any instrumentation of your choice. Conceive it as something that leaves room for something else — other instruments, other people — to join in.

Step 3: Record a short piece of music, roughly two to three minutes in length, as described in Step 2. When done, if possible, pan the audio so that your piece is solely in the left side of the stereo spectrum.

Step 4: Also, and this is important, be sure, when done, to make your track downloadable, because it will be used by someone else in the next Disquiet Junto project.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0472” (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 “disquiet0472” (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 tracks in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0472-jam-time/

Step 5: Annotate your tracks 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.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, January 18, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 14, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Between two and three minutes is recommended.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0472” 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 472nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Jam Time (1 of 3) / The Assignment: Record the first third of a trio that others will complete — at:

https://disquiet.com/0472/

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-0472-jam-time/

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

Image associated with this project is by Meg Jones, and used thanks to Flickr and a Creative Commons license allowing editing (cropped with text added) for non-commercial purposes:

https://flic.kr/p/mDRT9

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

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A Day in the Life of a Looper

Killian Vidourek's short documentary on tape master Amulets

Enjoy this 10-minute video about the work of the musician Amulets (aka Randall Taylor), who has dedicated much of his music to exploring the low-fidelity pleasures of tape loops. It starts with him buying a thrift store cassette player, which promptly begins to break in his hands. He plugs it in, nonetheless, at his workshop, using children’s bells as source audio for experimentation. “It’s not great, which is great,” he says of the resulting audio, pretty much summing up the aesthetic (frayed) and sensibility (shopworn) that has helped his releases find a receptive and supportive audience.

The mini-documentary, titled “Tape Wizard,” is by Killian Vidourek, a student from Notre Dame who flew to Portland, Oregon, to record it. It was produced in 2019, pre-pandemic, so we get to watch Taylor as he picks up some t-shirts, visits one of his LPs at a record store (Beacon Sound), and does soundcheck before a show.

Video originally posted at YouTube. More from Amulets at amuletsmusic.com, and from Killian Vidourek at instagram.com/kilianvidourek.

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Watch and Listen to Instruō Oscillate in Real Time

A follow-up to that interview

The full performance begins in earnest at the two-minute mark, but I recommend starting at the beginning. This is an ambient set, veering into the realm of space music, from the Amsterdam-based Little Ambient Machine channel on YouTube. I’m posting it as a follow-up to my interview, this past weekend, with the founder of the Instruō manufacturer of synthesizer modules, Jason Lim, who talked about how the company, based in Glasgow, ported its physical modules for use as virtual ones on computers (using the free VCV Rack software). The reason I chose this Little Ambient Machine video is it centers on a module called the Cš-L, a voltage-controlled oscillator from Instruo, as its primary audio source. This means that, for the most part, all the other cables connecting, directly and indirectly, to it are creating variations and treatments on its sounds. In addition, those first two minutes provide a glimpse, with annotation, of how the patch itself came together. (The Cš-L is the module clearly labeled “Instruō,” the sole here with a black faceplate, one module in from the lower left.)

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13/16 on 01/10

A Jamuary track from Electric Kitchen

Mark Lentczner, who jams as Electric Kitchen, has been jamming through Jamuary one live video at a time. Jamuary is the annual music-making project where people make a new piece of music each day of the month, kicking off the new year in productive style. In this appealingly noisy, off-kilter track, Lentczner combines a richly throbbing rasp with an admirably peculiar beat, which he identifies it as 13/16.

Video originally posted at YouTube. More at electric.kitchen.

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