Been meaning to link to this for a while. Over in the netlabel section of the Internet Archive, at archive.org, is a selection of the some of the most mundane weirdness (or perhaps it’s a matter of weird mundanity) ever recorded. It’s 150 MP3s of random-seeming sequences of numbers (and, occasionally, words), generally read in monotone by anonymous individuals. Trick is, there’s nothing random about it. They are, the story goes, coded messages transmitted via shortwave radio, a cryptic espionage of the air. The set on archive.org contains the entirety of the Irdial record label’s quadruple-CD box set, The Conet Project: Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations, including a PDF of the accompanying booklet. The Conet numbers game got some press when the alt-country band Wilco was sued by Irdial for including an unlicensed sample of one track on its Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album (the title, in fact, was lifted from a sequence of words on one of the Conet tracks). That’s all in the past, and the set is downloadable in its entirety for free, in all its lo-fi glory, at archive.org (search for “ird059”). Wilco was definitely onto something; if you’re into listening to several different sound sources at the same time, the Conet tracks make a nice foundation, lending a spooky Cold War cadence to anything ambient. More info at irdial.com/conet.htm.
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.
• 0499 / Out of the Landscape / The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which a sound emerges from a field recording.
• 0498 / Sonic Entomologist / The Assignment: Create a new hybrid insect from the sound of two different insects.
• 0497 / Benjamin's Glass / The Assignment: Pay tribute to Benjamin Franklin and his armonica
• 0496 / Isolation Room / The Assignment: Create new music around one strand of something you made in the past.
• 0495 / Protip Etude / The Assignment: Share a tip for making music or working with sound, and record a track that employs it.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 499 consecutive weeks to date.
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