Marsen Jules‘ free online EP, Yara, on the Autoplate netlabel as of May of this year, is caught in a blissful limbo between the Cocteau Twins’ hypnotic chamber stews and Julee Cruise’s dub-tinged torch songs. The six-song set is both light and thick, elegant and rapturous. Much of it has the rich, formless, sing-song ambience of a tugboat’s midnight hymn. But what’s particularly amazing is how a seemingly neutral tonal field can fully subsume rhythmic clutter. This is certainly the case on the second track, which starts with a looped snippet, marked by the anti-percussive gap, or seam, where the sample is cued to repeat, but which gives way, effortlessly, to lush drone. The tracks are simply labeled “Yara 1” through “Yara 6.” Number four balances field-recording randomness with a deep, spacious blanket. Number five hangs out in a higher register, but with the same languorous pendulum swing that distinguishes many of the other tracks. Apparently the source material comes (permission granted) from a live performance by a group named Trio Yara — hence the mix of tonal and found sound. Trio Yara and Jules hail from the same city: Dortmund, Germany. Download the full Yara set from the Autoplate website, at autoplate.org. More on Marsen Jules at marsenjules.de.
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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