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: August 2003

Site Update / F.A.Q., RSS

(1) Disquiet.com now has an F.A.Q., or list of answers to “frequently asked questions,” such as “Can I send you music for review consideration?” (No. 4) and “Where does name ‘Disquiet’ come from?” (No. 6).

(2) Disquiet.com now produces its own RSS feed that lists major additions to the site. If you don’t know what an RSS feed is, check out … the F.A.Q. If you’re aware of good RSS feeds regarding ambient/electronic, send ’em in (via the contact page), because a collection of them would make a good addition to the site’s Elsewhere link repository. Here’s one excellent example: a programmer named Adam Wendt has produced an RSS feed that tracks additions to Discogs.com, the online electronic-music discography, which is approaching its 200,000th entry, courtesy of almost 9,000 volunteer contributors. You just sit back, and watch the new entries shuffle by. (Here’s Wendt’s blog homepage, which has not been updated recently.) Another example: the zine Electronic Music World features a newsfeed with headlines from various websites, via RSS.

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Three Tracks Beat as One

Over six years passed between an evening in late January 1997, when Colin Bradley slow-burned the air during a Manchester, England, concert performance, and early 2003, when he made recordings from that show available on CD for the first time. It’s a lovely EP, even before you pop it in your CD player — a modest 3″ CD, slipped into a full-size, bleach-white, corrugated-cardboard CD sleeve, looped by a glossy-paper band displaying Bradley’s prolific moniker, Dual; the set’s title, Pace (CEE); and the terse titles of its three tracks, “auxpin,” “chpstk” and “pyrrhic.” (All three were performed with the assistance of Sean Reynard, and the third is co-credited to Julian Coope.) Pace is three tracks of industrial ambience for which the guitar serves as the primary sound source, that being Dual’s code of honor, its modus operandi. On other recordings, more recent ones, Dual has milked the guitar for its soft curves, for the way both the guitar strings and the instrument’s feedback have an inherently natural sound to them — the cycles of the sine waves, the hazy edges and ambiguous shapes that evade all but the most patient and craft-minded of digital synthesists. Bradley finds so many sounds in his guitar, the tender pizzicato as “pyrrhic” fades out, the scratches that irritate the opening track’s dub-like zone. Pace is three tracks in name only. Track one, “auxpin,” doesn’t fade into “chpstk” so much as bleed into it, its thought-level buzz continuing on as a somewhat lifelike beep and a distant, coastal hum become prominent. And “chpstk” doesn’t fade into track three so much as it sounds, at the end of track two, as if the performers were cleaning up after themselves in preparation for their “pyrrhic” close. There’s a smattering of loose noises, of objects moved around, of small occurrences that cannot all have been pre-planned. Fans of Han Bennink’s brand of “European free improvisation” will hear resemblances to his favor for wild chance clutter, the everyday percussion of dropped objects and nervous activity. Fans of typical electronic ambient music may be confused by the theatricality of these recordings, especially the way “chpstk” sounds like footsteps, like tentative movement. If so, “pyrrhic” offers some respite in its gently layered long tones, its high-pitched gossamer. But the three tracks should be heard together, because their various elements complement each other. Pace is reportedly the first in a series of three, and the next two are eagerly awaited.

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Proto-Downstream / Kermani, Brion, Powell, Simone

There was for a short time a section of Disquiet.com called the 4D, which quickly transformed into the site’s long-running Downstream section. These are the 4D entries for August 5, 2003, the day it launched:

(1) Composer Elise Kermani takes a Vivaldi concerto and remixes it into a minimalist rag on “Viva” — check out the free two-minute excerpt, downloadable from her website, ishtar.cdemusic.org/elise.html.

(2) Before teaming composer Jon Brion with songwriter Aimee Mann for Magnolia, director Paul Thomas Anderson matched Brion with Mann’s future husband, Michael Penn, for Hard Eight (1996). There’s no CD, but ptanderson.com provides an MP3, the literal and figurative bell-tolling of “Clementine Loop.” The site, noting “Loop”‘s presence in Anderson’s first three films, credits it to Penn and Patrick Warren.

(3) The opening credits of the 2003 Hollywood remake of The Italian Job expertly layer disparate sonic elements: strings, finger snaps, soundbites. Composer John Powell‘s cut’n’paste method matches the credit-sequence montage of blueprints and other caper documents; track one on the soundtrack CD (Varese Sarabande), it is a finely wrought heist overture.

(4) The second Verve/Remixed collection, due out August 26, 2003, is teased by some advance 12″s, including a clubby reworking of Nine Simone‘s “Sinnerman” by Felix da Housecat. The 12″ features an extended instrumental version that tightly splices snippets of Simone’s piano. Commanding stuff (ververemixed.com).

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tangents / Sun, Audiopad, Kafka

Sam Phillips passed away last week, on July 30, 2003. Regarded as one of the founders of rock’n’roll, thanks to his work with Elvis Presley, Ike Turner and others, Phillips was also an early experimenter in recording-studio technology. An obituary in the Memphis newspaper, the Commercial Appeal, summed up Phillips’ Sun Studio innovation well: “Beyond producing the music made there, Phillips cooked up the room’s angled white-tile ceiling and walls, a clever sonic design envisioned … as if an oversize speaker were on its side. Many have commented on its unique design, which contributed to what we know as the ‘Sun sound.’ Onetime Sun engineer/songwriter/producer Jack Clement has even described the studio as an instrument in and of itself.” (Click here for the full text of the July 26, 2003, obit.) … (2) Wired.com reported on a new musical interface, the Audiopad, developed at MIT by James Patten and Ben Recht. Click here for the July 31, 2003, news story and here for the Audiopad’s website. … (3) Composer Max Richter has launched his website. Richter has recorded with Future Sound of London and Roni Size and he released his own album, memoryhouse, last year on the BBC’s Late Junction label. He is preparing a new album, The Blue Notebooks, inspired by Franz Kafka, for release on the FatCat label’s 130701 imprint.

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Quote of the Week: Dylan on Electricity

Bob Dylan said, “Electricity ruined music,” according to filmmaker Larry Charles. Charles told the anecdote during a Q&A session following the July 31, 2003, screening of his new film, Masked & Anonymous, in San Francisco. The film stars Dylan as a musician preparing to perform at a troubled benefit concert. During one of two full days of recording music for the film, Dylan was experiencing difficulty with his band’s equipment, which led to his tart complaint. Charles reported that the legend — who mythically plugged in at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, pissing off (apocryphally, some say) the roots-oriented audience — was fully aware of the irony of his statement.

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