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. • 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.

Luke Vibert’s Bedroom Is a Jungle

The Throbbing Pouch full-length album is making his Wagon Christ pseudonym a household name. Next comes Plug.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Ever since Luke Vibert moved into his new London apartment, a strange array of sounds has emanated from his bedroom: A chorus of angels sigh with eerie uniformity. An unidentifiable woodwind pipes catchy tunes worthy of Sesame Street. Sine waves surf like saucers over the ridge. And then there’s the endless stream of drum patterns: lockstep grooves thumping with inhuman precision, the sauntering cadences of American hip-hop, the ballistic Ping-Pong signature of “jungle” music. Despite which activity, Vibert reports no complaints from his new neighbors. Perhaps they think the 22-year-old merely is doing what 22-year-olds do: playing records at all hours. In fact he is doing what many 22-year-olds do these days, but he isn’t playing records. He is making them.

“There’s not much of it,” Vibert says on the phone, surveying the equipment that allows his bedroom to double as a recording studio. “It’s a very tiny work space, just in my corner. On my left I’ve got my old Atari and a sampler and a mixing desk, and then on my right there’s just one keyboard and the effects unit. And that’s it.”

Then again, maybe Londoners have simply gotten used to Vibert and his generation of bedroom Beethovens. There certainly are enough of them come 1996, these Aphex Twins and u-ziqs and Mouses on Mars, holed up in their PJs, assembling fabulist pastiches of electronic music with minimal resources. “Aphex has just got hundreds and hundreds of things in a lush little bedroom setup,” says Vibert of ambient music’s biggest star (and fellow Cornwall native). “Most of the others are quite small, like mine.”

The room’s dimensions have not constrained Vibert’s prolific nature. By his own estimation, he releases one in three of the tracks he assembles bedside. And that’s been enough material for a steady stream of albums, singles and work-for-hire remixes not only under his own name but as Wagon Christ and Plug. Rapid-fire 12″s keep his name afloat in ambient and jungle circles, but limited pressings (as few as 500 copies a title) lend them the substance of rumors. By the time word has circulated on Internet newsgroups, they’re sold out.

Fortunately for his U.S. fans, Vibert’s best work is also his most readily available: Throbbing Pouch (Rising High/Moonshine), a far-ranging instrumental expanse of sci-fi backdrops, ascetic mantras and insinuated funk. Call it information-age bachelor pad music, so thick and varied is the mix, including a solid debt to U.S. hip-hop that distinguishes Vibert from much of his competition. (“I’m mainly into East Coast stuff,” he says, “like Tribe Called Quest, DJ Premier, Group Home.”) He’s nicked a few samples from stateside rappers, but aside from royalties, what Throbbing Pouch most owes to hip-hop is the inspiration for his inventive use of sampled records.

“I had a really dodgy old record of my mom’s, actually,” he says, “that I stole from her a few years: Yves Montand, with this lush string intro. And I found it on CD up here, so I did this bit when it was really crackly and horrible and also sampled this lush CD, so it suddenly cut to the same sound but with no crackles.”

Perhaps Vibert’s neighbors aren’t far off the mark. He is playing records in his bedroom, or at least playing with them. They sit in crates by his computer, like so much clay waiting for the potter.

Originally published Pulse! magazine, April 1996.

/ Leave a comment ]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Subscribe without commenting

  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website 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

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe

  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of
    • 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 ( at Gray Area (
    • 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

  • 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

  • 0541 / 10BPM Techno / The Assignment: Make some snail-paced beats.
    0540 / 5ive 4our / The Assignment: Take back 5/4 for Jedi time masters Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond.
    0539 / Control Breath / The Assignment: Let your slow breathing guide a piece of music.
    0538 / Guided Decompression / The Assignment: Get someone from tense to chill.
    0537 / Penitent Honk / The Assignment: Do sound design for "a missing gesture" of vehicular life.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 541 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts