PREFUSE73 MP3: For every dozen folktronic tracks that find a nice, lowkey, occasionally trippy melodious zone between laptop digital synthesis and old-tyme lackadaisical stringed instrumentation, there’s but one upbeat song like Prefuse 73‘s “Pagina Dos Featuring the Books,” which hones a digital equivalent to bluegrass’ caffeinated kick. This superb little cut, off P73’s Surrounded by Silence, due out on March 21, is built from the sparest of materials: a cycling pluck of guitar, a smattering of arid beats, and these candid spoken-word snippets that lend the cut the urban-stoop soul of something out of Tommy Guerrero’s catalog (or, for that matter, one of Terence Blanchard’s soundtrack’s for Spike Lee, albeit with an amateur hum in place of the trumpet). It’s a delectable cut, from an album that’ll feature Kazu (of Blonde Redhead), Aesop Rock, Gza and Masta Killa. (The just-out single, “Hideyaface,” features Ghostface and El-P.) So, why’s the MP3 available for free in the first place? Apparently the last newsletter from Bleep.com, the online music retailer run by the Warp Records label, suffered some technical trouble, and this track is being given away as an apology. The newsletter said the file’s for subscribers only, but now the spring 2005 edition of the newsletter is archived on the Bleep.com site, along with a link to the track. Get it while the offer lasts, at warprecords.com/bleep/newsletter.
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
• February 5, 2020: The first session of the 15-week course I teach at the Academy of Art about the role of sound in the media landscape.
• April 15, 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. (Details at oup.com.)
• December 13, 2020: This day marks the 24th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2021: This day marks the 9th 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.
• At least two live group concerts by Disquiet Junto members in the San Francisco Bay Area are in the works for 2020.
• I have liner notes for a musician's solo album and an essay in a book about an art event due out. I'll announce as the release dates come into focus.
• 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.
• 0473 / Placebo Effect (2 or 3) / The Assignment: The Assignment: Record the second third of a trio that others will complete.
• 0472 / Jam Time (1 of 3) / The Assignment: Record the first third of a trio that others will complete.
• 0471 / Phase Transition / The Assignment: The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something with it.
• 0470 / Calendar View / The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments.
• 0469 / [Missing in Caption] / The Assignment: Make music that pushes the constraints of descriptive television captions.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 473 consecutive weeks to date.
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