The BBC’s Hear & Now radio program has been posting segments of an interview with composer Gavin Bryars. The first three parts (of a total four) are up now (here). The primary focus of the conversation is Bryars’ new work, From Egil’s Saga, which involves using technology to reproduce architectural acoustics — “a hallway, a vestibule, and so on” — and which he calls “ambisonics” and credits in part to composer Alvin Lucier. “I’m not terribly interested in extraordinary digital trickery,” says Bryars, who layered murky sounds in his Sinking of the Titanic and looped a hobo’s prayer for Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet. In the interview, he talks about his devotion to a particular type of pencil, his use of the Sibelius score-production software, and his penchant for putting jokes into his written music. (In a related link, critic and composer Kyle Gann, on his PostClassic blog [here], has been discussing Sibelius, which he uses in his composition. “No one seems to be monitoring the impact of notation software on composing,” he writes, “and it is sure to be vast — and homogenizing.”) The BBC webpage suggests that the fourth and final segment of the Bryars interview will be uploaded on April 8. It also includes links to two interviews with Bryars from 2003.
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.
• 0479 / Truck Radio Rain / The Assignment: Locate three sound sources and make something with them.
• 0478 / Collage of Collages / The Assignment: Make a collage that will become part of a larger collage.
• 0477 / Flying Blind / The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which some substantial portion is performed without looking.
• 0476 / IAH Forecast / The Assignment: Here's your next single's cover. Now record it.
• 0475 / Low End (4 of 3) / The Assignment: Remix a trio by doing forensics on its component parts.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 479 consecutive weeks to date.
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