FB 50 is the second 3″ CD-ROM compilation from fals.ch. It consists mostly of MP3 files (Zbigniew Karkowski, Koji Asano and others), but also includes Quicktime and Shockwave activities, some applications, and a copy of the PDF file for the album’s cover art. It’s reported to work on PC, Mac, Linux and Unix platforms. Fals.ch is an online label whose website is purposefully obscurant, burying content deep in a maze of fragmented pages that make art out of your worst computer-error nightmares. The CD-ROM edition is more manageable, though its index screen’s tendency to switch colors and type size maintains a taste of the website’s visual impact. Merzbow, the Japanese noise unit, contributes a brief psychedelic video loop. Francisco Lopez appears in a video of a performance from the Electrograph Festival held in October 2001 (“recorded by Andreas Pieper on MiniDv using Sony PC-100e with nightshot[tm]”). An application by Atau Tanaka purportedly uses tracks from your computer, but it didn’t seem to function properly. (A file attributed to Gescom was likewise not recognized on two PCs on which the disc was run.) But the MP3 files all run smoothly, and range from manic exercises in digital disarray (Max Muster) to dark downtempo techno (Lutsch Symphonic Orchestra). More than just a set of listening material, the CD-ROM format, as envisioned by fals.ch, is a intriguing hands-on situation that lends a kind of tactile experience to a brand of music that tends to be abstract and disembodied.
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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