On October 8, about a week before the launch of Disquiet.com’s Downstream department, this site published a package of downloadable and streaming music and music-video files courtesy of the Ninja Tune record label. That package (“N Is for Ninja”), and similar sets of Ninja files in the past, served as a kind of inspiration for the Disquiet Downstream, which now provides an array of recommended free music from around the web each weekday. In any case, a month-plus on, the “N Is for Ninja” file that stands out most strongly is Super Numeri‘s “The Coastal Bird Scene Pt. 1” (MP3, Real Audio stream, Windows Media stream), a 12″-only track, laden with harps, cymbals, lilting guitar and other symbols of lazy days; almost five minutes in length, it takes its time getting underway, content to linger like a British folk revival band’s interpretation of Miles Davis’ electric period. The Numeri file is not electronica, in the most banal sense of the word, but it’s both enjoyable and informative to hear specific elements of Davis’ electric work — the light drum figures, which have a centering purpose akin to a film’s voiceover narrative; the ephemeral string parts, which evaporate like cotton candy — echoed by a largely acoustic ensemble. At the time of “N Is for Ninja,” of the five tracks made available for download, the Numeri was at the bottom of the list. A month on, it’s become constant listening.
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
• July 28, 2021: This day marks the start of the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
• December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
• January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th 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.
• 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.
• 0484 / A Movable Heart / The Assignment: Transplant the sounds of Chris Kallmyer's wind chimes to a new location.
• 0483 / Type Set / The Assignment: Use a recording of yourself typing something as the underlying rhythmic track for a piece of music.
• 0482 / Exactly That Gap / The Assignment: Make a musical haiku following instructions from Marcus Fischer.
• 0481 / Capsule Time / The Assignment: Record a time capsule for yourself in the future.
• 0480 / Ongsay Aftcray / The Assignment: Record a piece of music by employing Pig Latin as a technique.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 484 consecutive weeks to date.
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