Late last year, the San Francisco-based electronic duo Matmos took over a gallery in the city’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and turned it into its studio, complete with throw rug, piano, computers and all manner of lo-fi noisemakers. For most of a month, Matmos (the pair of M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel) showed up at the gallery-turned-studio as if it were a culture factory, a workplace, and made music while museum-goers wandered through. Most nights, they invited musician friends to drop by and jam. A baker’s dozen of those jams now appear for free download as a package of MP3 files on the group’s website (brainwashed.com/matmos), featuring them playing with Coelacanth; Sagan; J Lesser and Vickie Bennett (under the DISC moniker); Kendra Juul and Phatima and the Stud Middle Eastern Drum Ensemble; Sutekh and Safety Scissors; Wobbly and Thomas Dimuzio; and Wobbly and People Like Us. Particularly recommended are (1) the DISC track, which despite its meager substance (“As ever, it’s just compact discs skipping,” reads an accompanying note), churns richly, and (2) the Phatima track, which mixes live percussion and dark, treated piano. (Also, this is the first Disquiet.com posting in over two months. Apologies for the unintended hiatus.)
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 29, 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 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).
Most Recent Posts
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.
• 0500 / Humming to Your Selves / The Assignment: Play a tune by yourself and as if by two people whom you invent.
• 0499 / Out of the Landscape / The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which a sound emerges from a field recording.
• 0498 / Sonic Entomologist / The Assignment: Create a new hybrid insect from the sound of two different insects.
• 0497 / Benjamin's Glass / The Assignment: Pay tribute to Benjamin Franklin and his armonica
• 0496 / Isolation Room / The Assignment: Create new music around one strand of something you made in the past.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 500 consecutive weeks to date.
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