Promise to not make a habit of it, but this week’s Friday Downstream link is the same as last Friday’s: the BBC’s Mixing It radio show, at bbc.co.uk/radio3/mixingit. Same link, but new show, as each Friday brings a brand new broadcast. This one features — in addition to fine commercial recordings by Sion Orgon (real-world sounds warped until they sound like avant-garde chamber music), “underground hip-hop” mainstay El-P jamming with jazz musicians (among them Daniel Carter, William Parker and Matthew Shipp) and Mira Calix (mixing live insects and orchestra) — live studio performances by, and conversation with, Californian tuba player Tom Heasley, whose deeply reverberant solo works are often reminiscent of whale song. Heasley talks with the Mixing It hosts about his early improvisation experiences on tuba with one of jazz bassist Charlie Haden’s large-scale ensembles circa 1984, the influence of Robert Fripp (whose 1970s “Frippertronics” work make him think, “I could sorta see doing something like this with a tuba”), his prized loop sampler (“[It] records 14 seconds of music, and then you can overdub over that, and it just constantly mixes together and it becomes other things”) and the differences between a tuba and a didjeridu, which he also plays. More on Heasley at, naturally, tomheasley.com.
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.
• 0494 / Insect Menagerie / The Assignment: Record a 20-second clip of the sounds of an insect that you yourself have invented.
• 0493 / AudioCorrect / The Assignment: Think about the utility and the useful failures inherent in autocorrect and apply this to your music.
• 0492 / Kintsugi Rework / The Assignment: Employ the Japanese technique of mending broken ceramics as a metaphor for remixing.
• 0491 / Footsteps Sequencer / The Assignment: Compose a piece of music structured upon a walk through your home.
• 0490 / In Conversation / The Assignment: Compose a piece of music structured like dialog.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 494 consecutive weeks to date.
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