After a month off here at Disquiet.com, a return to free music on the web. John Kannenberg‘s Four Painters EP collects piercing, minimalist tributes to a quartet of modern master visual artists: Paul Klee, Agnes Martin, Kazimir Malevich and Cy Twombly. Each track appears at first as little more than the sort of server-room rumble familiar in most 21st-century office buildings, a mix of chillingly high tones and some intangible thudding in the low to mid-range. Over time, with each listen, each piece takes its own surprisingly individual shape: the Klee with its cinematically rich opening, the way in which staggered samples are echoed into a reverberant, ecstatically ominous haze, and its penchant for the odd mechanical cesura; the Martin, the way its near inaudible opening comes to singular glow; the Malevich, the most varied of the four, how it moves from UFO hovering to a dog’s pant; and the Twombly, which goes as deep and wide as the Martin does high and narrow. Ranging in length from eight to over 13 minutes, the compositions last long enough to get lost in. Kannenberg’s passion for his subjects is evident particularly in the rich rhythms of the Klee and in the teeth-rattling intensity of the Martin as its root pitch rises. These selected artists aren’t merely prime figures from the 20th-century canon. Each in one way or another helped set the aesthetic stage for today’s electronic music: Klee with his colorful abstractions, Malevich with his affection for monolithic simplicity, Martin and her elegant graphs, which always looked like silent musical compositions in the first place, and Twombly with his gestural simplicity. One looks forward to another set of Kannenberg MP3s at an exhibition; here’s a vote for Robert Ryman, Mark Rothko, Piet Mondrian and, just for the fun of it, Jack Kirby. Available for free download here from the Stasisfield netlabel, which Kanneberg runs. More info at stasisfield.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
• August 15 - September 15, 2019: The Disquiet Junto is teaming up with Musikfestival Bern for a series of projects.
• August 29, 2019: This day marks the start of the 400th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project. It will be a collaboration with the novelist Malka Older.
• December 13, 2019: This day marks the 23rd anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2020: This day marks the 8th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• March 2020: A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the forthcoming book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen.
• 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.
• 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.
• 0400 / Sub Divided / The Assignment: Create a score to a Malka Older story using the author's own voice as source audio.
• 0399 / Edges & Echoes / The Assignment: Make sonic art for a space with the sounds of that space.
• 0398 / Rauschen Bern / The Assignment: Make music by making a collage of noises.
• 0397 / Numbers Racket / The Assignment: It's 808 Day. Do it up.
• 0396 / Front Page / The Assignment: Make music with by humming a song and then processing the humming.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 400 consecutive weeks to date.
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