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.

Laptop Concert in Tokyo Nest

At a club called Shibuya Nest in Tokyo, Japan, on February 9 of 2003, Christian Fennesz, who records under his last name, took the stage with his laptop and let loose three quarters of an hour of sublimation and noise. The event is now available as full-length CD, Live in Japan, from the Tokyo-based label Headz. Aside from one fadeout half an hour in, it’s a single continuous piece of music — continuous, but not homogenous by any means. What is beautiful in a familiar way about the recording (the occasional spurts of guitar, the squawking of birdsong, various lyrical samples) is often muffled by layers of static and fuzz. And that static and fuzz, in turn, is often shaped into its own musical material — repeated, for example, until what sounds like interference becomes a riff; the experience is a bit like seeing enormous and threatening clouds overhead come to resemble faces and forms. (Throughout the record, various segments might be recognized by anyone who has heard Fennesz’s previous Endless Summer and Field Recordings albums.) His music thrives on its proximity to chaos, which is what makes it sublime. In contrast with cathartic work that openly embraces chaos, his has the detailed beauty of a carefully produced song, though that song may take several listens to hear, and the production several listens more to appreciate.

Almost seven minutes into Live in Japan (the disc contains one single track, 43 minutes in length), after a flurry of fuzz has settled down, an acoustic guitar surfaces tentatively to provide a distinct signal. The digital hubbub subsides, soothed like a pack of digital beasts, rabid robot scouts lured to the campfire by the promise of a lullaby. The hisses and crunches that had previously defined the recording seem to coalesce around the guitar, echoing or otherwise complementing the melody that’s being plucked and strummed. There’s an extent to which these fluctuations and irritants are welcome, since some of the guitar playing sounds like second-rate singer-songwriter mush. Twenty minutes or so in, as an electric guitar emerges, again it’s downright enticing how peculiar particulate sounds — bleeps like terse foghorns, scintillate like amplified fireflies — mesh with the guitar. On first listening, the noise can be little more than a distraction. But Fennesz has the unique ability to suggest an interplay between what is foreground and what is background, and how those two merge into one thick moment is what makes Live in Japan worth sitting through repeatedly. So heat up some sake, dim the lights, and sink in.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Leave a comment ]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

Subscribe without commenting

  • 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

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe



  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    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.

  • Recent
    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.)

  • Ongoing
    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).

  • disquiet junto

  • 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

  • 0511 / Freeze Tag / The Assignment: Consider freezing (and thawing) as a metaphor for music production.
    0510 / Cold Turkey / The Assignment: Record one last track with a piece of music equipment before passing it on.
    0509 / The Long Detail / The Assignment: Create a piece of music with moments from a preexisting track.
    0508 / Germane Shepard / The Assignment: Use the Shepard tone to create a piece of music.
    0507 / In DD's Key of C / The Assignment: Make music with 10 acoustic instrument samples all in a shared key.

    Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 511 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts