Permutation Amon Tobin (Ninja Tune) Endlessly listenable, Tobin’s latest full-length mostly eschews the Brazilian native’s bossa-nova penchant for cut-up variations on classic jazz.
Form & Function Photek (Science/Astralwerks) Rarified to his fans, antiseptic to his (mistaken) detractors, Photek sums up his early drum’n’bass work with a combination of archival material and remixes.
Sound for Spaces Scanner (Sub Rosa) Burbling, threatening ambience pervades this collection of site-specific work by the British musician who is obsessed with surveillance and the shape of the human voice.
Music Is Rotted One Note Squarepusher (Warp/Nothing) Gone are the cheeky themes and percussively aberrant drum-machine exercises. Here, Squarepusher rekindles early jazz fusion, at times abrasively funky, at others splendidly spacey.
LP5 Autechre (Warp/Nothing) A MiniDisc-only release got Autechre (aka Gescom) much of its press this past year, but it was the duo’s latest full-length that truly cemented their seniority in experimental audio.
chotto matte a moment! icu (K) Like Tortoise, World Standard and the Tied & Tickled Trio, icu mixes up live instrumentation and electronic skills. The trio’s brand of threadbare party music is sure to please.
Mold Praxis (Yikes) Bill Laswell releases so much music, he’s due to produce a gem like this group project on occasion. The CD consists of tidy cinematic cues — think Oval remixing Peter Gabriel.
Country Gazette World Standard (Asphodel) Taken literally, “country music” suggests a landscape of sounds. This international quartet mixes various string instruments with select electronic effects to evoke the exoticness of home.
Consumed Plastikman (Novamute) Richie Hawkins suggests techno, long the bastion of flailing mechanized dance numbers, as a highly nuanced act of introspection.
We Are Reasonable People Various artists (Warp) The Blue Note of electronica labels releases a state-of-the-music compilation. The highlight Aphex Twin squares off with Squarepusher. Also aboard Plaid, Plone, Red Snapper, and others.
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
• December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
• December 28, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
• January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
• July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in 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.
• 0506 / Wipe Out / The Assignment: Take something whole and erase half of it.
• 0505 / Line Out / The Assignment: Share a track, get feedback, and give feedback.
• 0504 / Transform Formula / The Assignment: Take a sound, change it, and contrast that with the original.
• 0503 / Sing Song / The Assignment: Record a song using only your voice transformed beyond recognition.
• 0502 / Global Swarming / The Assignment: Create a swarm of imaginary insects.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 506 consecutive weeks to date.
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