News on Quiet, Minimal and Otherwise Atmospheric Music on the Big and Small Screens: (1) The good news: ambient-minded composer Cliff Martinez (Traffic, Solaris, Narc) scored Wonderland, the new film about porn star John Holmes. The bad news: there are no Martinez tracks on the film’s soundtrack CD, which instead features period hits and a couple of dialog excerpts. … (2) Among the few films directed by Steven Soderbergh that Martinez didn’t score was Out of Sight, based on an Elmore Leonard crime novel. David Holmes scored that film (he also scored Soderbergh’s later Ocean’s Eleven) and it’s good to be able to report that a TV adaptation of Out of Sight, titled Karen Sisco (Wednesday nights on ABC), is maintaining the Holmesian funk that made the original film so memorable. The TV series features soulful pop nuggets plus incidental cues credited to composer John Ehrlich. The title song is the Isley Brothers‘s “It’s Your Thing,” also featured in the movie. … (3) Looking ahead, the next features to be scored by both Martinez and Holmes are helmed by directors with a previous affiliation with electronic music. Martinez is next attached to Wicker Park (previously titled Obsessed), scheduled for release in 2004 and directed by Paul McGuigan, whose first film was 1998’s The Acid House, based on stories by Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting). (4) And Holmes (David, not John) has signed to score the next film by Michael Winterbottom, a sci-fi feature called Code 46, due for release in 2004; Winterbottom previously directed 24 Hour Party People, the 2002 dramatization of life at Factory Records, home to Joy Division and Happy Mondays. … (5) Finally, the Hayden Planeterium in Manhattan (full name: Hayden Planetarium Theater at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space) has recently updated its fabled laser-rock shows with a soundtrack compiled and mixed by celebrity DJ Moby. The show is called SonicVision and the songs are by Radiohead, Prodigy, Stereolab, Boards of Canada, David Byrne and Brian Eno, White Zombie, Moby and others. There’s more information on the museum’s site (amnh.org). One odd thing about the event, as pointed out by the New York Times in its review (“A Spacey Half-Hour at the Planetarium,” October 3) : “Surprisingly, every band is white, as if Moby couldn’t find appropriately astral material from Prince, Sun Ra, P.M. Dawn, Erykah Badu or John Coltrane.”
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.
• 0473 / Placebo Effect (2 or 3) / The Assignment: The Assignment: Record the second third of a trio that others will complete.
• 0472 / Jam Time (1 of 3) / The Assignment: Record the first third of a trio that others will complete.
• 0471 / Phase Transition / The Assignment: The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something with it.
• 0470 / Calendar View / The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments.
• 0469 / [Missing in Caption] / The Assignment: Make music that pushes the constraints of descriptive television captions.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 473 consecutive weeks to date.
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