The online label Microbio’s (microbiorecords.net) latest release provides not only free MP3 files, recorded at a high level of data integrity (224kbps), but also a nifty free CD sleeve, in color, ready to be downloaded and printed (in the common AdobeAcrobat PDF file format). Even if the listener doesn’t choose to print the image, many MP3 players (hardware and soft) include the option to catalog an album cover right along with the music files. The latest Microbio release is Conjunto, a three-track EP credited to Mendigo, born Renzo Peressi, a Venezuela-based musician who also records as UVA, Poloto and Krotos. The EP’s individual tracks explore what’s generally referred to as “glitch” music — sounds that are mere microsonic irritants. The music involves melodies that are less suggested by the musician than they are inferred by the listener’s brain, which is striving to make sense of the organized flow of barely disguised static. He uses those steady beats to chart a course through a thick sonic undergrowth (the metaphor would be apt even without the record label’s life-sciences moniker, or the little biographical tidbit of Peressi’s having lived in an Andes mountain town, Mérida). It’s a deep aural atmosphere constructed entirely of buzzes and hums, rings and whirs, the overheard chattering classes of some unseen bug world underfoot. Much of the music has a palpable high-wire tension to it, though as a soundtrack it would best serve activities filmed at a cellular level, as blood clots or amoebas cleave themselves. Soon after the start of the title track, he breaks away from the haze for an extended bit of percussive play, the little beats like highly receptive, and cautious, antennae. The album, Microbio’s 12th so far, is located on the site’s “releases” page (here). Further information on Peressi is available on his Poloto MP3.com page (here).
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.
• 0456 / Line Up / The Assignment: Interpret a painting by Agnes Martin as if it were a graphic score.
• 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.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 456 consecutive weeks to date.
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