Online electronic-music EPs are generally all-or-nothing affairs: sets recorded on the same equipment, at the same time, with the same raw materials, processed on the same software by the same person. Occasionally one of the tracks will rise above, but more often than not they all work together as parts of a whole. Jerzz‘s three-cut Fear EP is an exception. It’s the debut album for the fourth and latest sublabel of the Netherlands-based ear-recordings.nl netlabel. “What Happens,” Fear’s lead track, is where it’s happening. The first minute two-steps through the harsh no man’s land that stretches out between industrial music, with its affection for decay, and drum’n’bass, with its emphasis on automated rhythm. Then, at almost exactly the minute and a half point, it pauses; when it returns, is has gotten bleaker, darker and utterly de-calibrated, the rhythm falling apart and struggling, for the remaining six minutes, to find itself. “What Happens” is a must-download. “When the World” is a solid B-side, to employ an anachronism, but it doesn’t have the messy strangeness of “What Happens.” And “Goes Down” should be avoided; the mix is all off, especially where its coy and overly loud vocal snippets are concerned. “What Happens” is the keeper, for sure. Very promising. Get the MP3 directly, or visit the album’s ear-recordings.nl page. (A variety of file-compression densities and formats are available on the album’s archive.org mirror page.)
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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