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. • Disquiet.com 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.

Monthly Archives: July 2001

Orchestra, Beats, Craft

Demolition Squad: On the band’s MP3.com site is a song titled “Get On Down,” definitely worth a listen. The initial effect, an avant-garde orchestra slicing its strings over a stuttered beat, sounds obvious enough, but the longer it goes on, especially once a spoken-word segment concludes, the more the group’s craft becomes evident.

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Sound Art for Art

Toshoklabs: The electronic site/label produced an hour-long set (89 MB) at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s opening reception for its electronic-art exhibition, titled Bitstream. (Speaking of which, here‘s a good story about the overall exhibit.)

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Pop After Portishead

The single “Paths” off the recent Robert Miles CD, Organik (Shakti), features Nina Miranda (of the British trio Smoke City) contributing a sinewy, Portishead-style riff of a vocal against Miles’ blend of urban and Middle Eastern sounds. He combined electronics with a mid-size orchestra on the album, and the effect is moving and sensual. The single’s B-side provides an answer for those who’ve been wondering what Future Sound of London have been up to lately. By redeploying “Paths” (dubbing their effort the “Cosmic Juke Box Remix”) to add a bit of groovy electric guitar, hand claps and thick backing vocals, FSOL (purposefully or not) bring to mind early Jesus Jones and Big Audio Dynamite singles, which set multi-culti joy against a looping backbeat. A good introduction to a worthy CD.

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Atomspheric Remixes

Shinju Gumi is the name adopted by Frederic Paul, a Paris-based composer who is more than comfortable repeating a bar for the Nth time, to Zen effect, before moving forward. Mixing a Ghost (Shadow) isn’t quite a snail’s-pace affair, but this collection (largely of remixes) achieves a lovely, atmospheric effect. The remixers include Tarwater (aka Bernd Jestram and Ronald Lippok), 7-Hurtz, Solex and others. The influence of soundtrack-style drama and proto-minimalist classical music (especially Satie — there’s a substantial amount of rudimentary acoustic piano) is highly evident, but never unenjoyable or overstated.

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Shakespeare Auto-Mashup

Name: Shakespeare Cuisinart Ӣ Rating: Way Cool Ӣ Format: Phone Service Ӣ Info

Get thee to a phone booth. Shakespeare Cuisinart is an automated composition machine that you activate with your telephone. The instructions are simple: you dial a phone number and, when prompted, speak for up to 20 seconds. The Cuisinart then produces a piece of musique concrete from your words, looping them, slicing them up, layering them. To access the service, dial 1-800-555-TELL. When you get to what’s called the “main menu,” enter the code: 133156. Instructions will follow. (And yes, it’s free.)

The software was created by Columbia graduate student Jason Freeman, who suggests that people use their favorite quote from the Bard for source material. The Cuisinart temporarily saves the files on the Internet, so you can download your composition to your computer, or email it to a friend.

Here are two such samples, saved as half-megabyte “.wav” files: (1) “DisquietIntro.wav” (475K), a quote from the introduction to the Disquiet.com web site, and (2) “DisquietBeat.wav” (688K), for which the sound was a simple, steady tapped rhythm. (This service came to Disquiet’s attention thanks to an article by Matthew Mirapaul in the June 25, 2001, edition of the New York Times.)

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  • about

  • 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

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  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • 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 (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • 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 oup.com.)

  • 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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  • 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

  • 0548 / Drone Vox / The Assignment: Make a drone using just your voice.
    0547 / Genre Melee / Combine two seemingly different genres.
    0546 / Code Notes / The Assignment: Make music that includes a secret message.
    0545 / Unself-Awareness / The Assignment: Learn from feedback intended for others.
    0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.

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