If digital dub is your thing, you likely already possess tracks by a handful of the musicians featured on Grow, a 15-song compilation of material drawn from the Agriculture Records catalog, featured currently on the home page of smart-music.net, which, like the Disquiet Downstream, focuses on “free & legal” downloadable music. If digital dub isn’t your bag, then Grow, which overflows with mechanistic echoes of otherwise slack drums, stringed instruments and keyboards, may just change your mind. The Brooklyn-based Agriculture label is a hotbed of contemporary dub, as represented here by such musicians as DJs Olive, Wally and Rupture, as well as Sub Dub (which features the great Raz Mesinai), David Last, Lloop, Mehmet Irdel, Nettle, Sporangia, Ladyman and Once 11. This isn’t the blunted dancehall party music that oftens passes for dub. Inevitably, the outlying tracks are the most interesting, like Irdel’s “Gut,” built from handclaps and percussion, and “Desplazados,” by the aptly named DJ Rupture, which flips the intent of the common dub reverb and uses it as a signal for sudden, disorienting splices. Olive, on “Rooster Rooster,” is more than happy to set a loop on repeat, and let it trace a mystic circle of its own. David Last’s richly sublimated melodies of “Push Pull” have been mentioned in this space previously. Sub Dub’s “Dawa Zangpo,” another favorite, is a particularly tangy treat, with muted vocal snippets that suggest a teamup of Muslimgauze and Public Enemy. The following link is an 80-plus-megabyte archive of the complete set, including cover art (link). More info on the Agriculture label at theagriculture.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
• 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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