Siren’s Voice is an engaging five-part audio drama about a techno musician who is contacted by a woman who claims to be from the future. The musician, whom we know by his first name, Sean, performs and records under the moniker Cyanide, and he’s embarking on an overseas tour when the woman’s voice first intrudes on his thoughts. Travel proves so exhausting to Sean that he’s not sure if the voice is his imagination or not; all he really wants is some rest and privacy. Soon enough, though, he’s intrigued by his ghostly inquisitor, whose line of questioning, delivered in a voice as ethereal as it is husky, may even be arousing him. The drama’s segments are each five minutes in length, and are available for free as MP3 files on a promotional website. (Originally the files were distributed on Napster and other peer-to-peer services, and much of the Siren’s Voice website promotes P2P file-swapping as a unique performance venue; the P2P theorizing is interesting, but in this case the message, fortunately, is more substantial than the medium by which it is transmitted.) Also available is an MP3 of a song credited to Cyanide, which according to the site was recorded once Cyanide had come to grips with his otherworldly experience. The electronic-music theme works well in Siren’s Voice, providing a stylish aural backdrop and infusing the story with a techno-spiritual vibe, like something straight out of a Japanese manga or a cyberpunk story by William Gibson or Richard Kadrey. The five-minute episodes are seamlessly edited, and the traditional tools of the electronic musician (sampling, reverb, sound effects, quick edits) are also employed in the telling of the story. Siren’s Voice was directed by Bernard Vehmeyer from a script by Willem Verhoef, with music by Roy Cordu, who records for Rush Hour, an Amsterdam-based label. They’ve successfully applied the old-time radio format to a contemporary music phenomenon set in the sci-fi near future.
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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