Despite an initial splash with Brian Eno’s Neroli album, Gyroscope Records, a spin-off — excuse the pun — of Caroline Records and Distribution, hasn’t quite pulled the ambient weight of Astralwerks, its Caroline sibling and home to Chemical Brothers and Photek. Gyroscope began as an American version of the British label All Saints, home to Roger Eno, Kate St. John, Bill Nelson and Laraaji, who also record together as the extraordinarily bland Channel Light Vessel. Collaboration has proven to be a theme in the Gyroscope catalog, from two promising but utterly unmemorable pairings (Andy Partridge and Harold Budd; Jah Wobble and Brian Eno); to its release in the U.S. of No Protection, Mad Professor’s critically lauded dub remix of Massive Attack’s ‘Protection’ album; to its distribution of the Sky label. Sky is home to the work of Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Kondrad Plank and Brian Eno, whose variety of teamings in the ’70s and early ’80s (the best-known being Cluster, consisting of Moebius and Roedelius) made them something akin to the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young of electronic music. Gyroscope has now licensed another label, called Source, from France. The compilation Source Lab 2, released last month, collects a dozen examples of French bass-and-drums studio experimentalism. The stuff kicks. Highlights include contributions by Bang Bang (slo-mo eclecticism, from ethno dub to jazz horns), Zend Avesta (rasty jungle) and Dimitri From Paris (downbeat urban atmospheres). The exceptional quality throughout lends further credence to the suggestion that Satie is the true father of ambient-techno music. Originally published on August 2, 1996, in epulse issue 2.26
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
• July 29, 2021: This day marks the start of the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
• December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
• January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th 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.)
• The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• 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).
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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.
• 0500 / Humming to Your Selves / The Assignment: Play a tune by yourself and as if by two people whom you invent.
• 0499 / Out of the Landscape / The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which a sound emerges from a field recording.
• 0498 / Sonic Entomologist / The Assignment: Create a new hybrid insect from the sound of two different insects.
• 0497 / Benjamin's Glass / The Assignment: Pay tribute to Benjamin Franklin and his armonica
• 0496 / Isolation Room / The Assignment: Create new music around one strand of something you made in the past.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 500 consecutive weeks to date.
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