If LTJ Bukem’s recent double album, Journey Inwards, left you wanting — if his hybrid of drum’n’bass and cool jazz was, perhaps, a little too sleek — seek out the new 12″ series from Kosma, called New Aspects in Third Stream Music and available from the German label Infracom. The first of five scheduled releases is titled “Odessa,” a fine, free-floating example of jazzy drum’n’bass (the B-side is a Peter Kruder remix of the same track). Like Bukem’s model, the underlying percussion here is drum’n’bass perpetrated by highly life-like instrumentation, an apparent drum kit tracing patterns we’ve come to associate with computers. The rhythm is spare and circular, with the odd beat dropped out for drama’s sake. Thick piano chords accentuate key moments. Laid on top is a host of lounge-oriented material, from operatic exotica vocals to John Barry-style strings. Computerized tones float by occasionally, but the overall effect is very “real.” The series’ title, of course, comes from Gunther Schuller’s formulation for a classically motivated form of jazz music: “third stream” was meant to describe the overlap of chamber composition and meditative jazz improvisation, anything from Stan Kenton’s conceptual big-band charts to George Russell’s theoretically informed small-band stuff. Kosma may simply be having fun with the term (and the period album graphics) but he makes a point, nonetheless, about the friction between computerized composition and its reliance on sampled material that was, once upon a time, not only live but spontaneous. Kruder’s remix is fairly non-intrusive. He has some fun with a wah-wah-ish sound, and drops bits of percussion and other elements off to the side of the stereo spectrum.
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
• February 5, 2020: The first session of the 15-week course I teach at the Academy of Art about the role of sound in the media landscape.
• April 15, 2020: A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the forthcoming 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.)
• December 13, 2020: This day marks the 24th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2021: This day marks the 9th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
• There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the forthcoming 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.
• At least two live group concerts by Disquiet Junto members in the San Francisco Bay Area are in the works for 2020.
• I have liner notes for a musician's solo album and an essay in a book about an art event due out. I'll announce as the release dates come into focus.
• 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.
• 0455 / Inner Invertebrate / The Assignment: What does a moment (or a day) in the life of a jellyfish sound like to a jellyfish?
• 0454 / Lsoo Vneg / The Assignment: Encode the name of someone you love into a piece of music.
• 0453 / Dial Up / The Assignment: Imagine the technologically mediated First Contact through sound.
• 0452 / Let's Scream / The Assignment: Get cathartic. Be resilient. Turn your scream into music.
• 0451 / Ursula's Silences / Make music inspired by a line from A Wizard of Earthsea.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 455 consecutive weeks to date.
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