So, where is the free MP3 hidden on the website of Beck, urban folklorist turned sample meister turned r&b ironist turned (as of his new album, Guero) back on himself? Well first you go to beck.com, and then you click on the prominent link to Guero, which was produced by the Dust Brothers, who previously midwifed his Odelay, and one half of whom, John King, produced the great Medeski Martin & Wood album of 2004, End of the World Party: Just in Case (Dig). On the Guero webpage, you’re greeted by the album’s cover art, by Marcel Dzama, and so you click on the little puppet figure raising his hands in the air like he just don’t care. What does the puppet spit out when you tickle his belly? A remix, by the band Subtle, of Guero‘s “Fairwell Ride.” The original was built from hand claps, tasty slide guitar, kalimba, thick backing vocals, piano and a dirge of a main lyric somewhere between burned-out Neil Young and apocalypse-weary Glenn Danzig. The remix, almost a minute longer, exaggerates the percussion, emphasizes the piano and uses various effects to shade specific words. Oh, and it adds a rap, and takes its sweet time fading out. How did you find out about this hidden file in the first place? You subscribed to the email list of lexrecords (lexrecords.com), home to Subtle, one of whose members, Dax Pierson, was severely injured when the band’s tour van was in an accident in Iowa in late February. More details on Pierson’s recovery at daxpierson.com and on Subtle at subtle6.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 29, 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 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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