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
• 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.
• 0484 / A Movable Heart / The Assignment: Transplant the sounds of Chris Kallmyer's wind chimes to a new location.
• 0483 / Type Set / The Assignment: Use a recording of yourself typing something as the underlying rhythmic track for a piece of music.
• 0482 / Exactly That Gap / The Assignment: Make a musical haiku following instructions from Marcus Fischer.
• 0481 / Capsule Time / The Assignment: Record a time capsule for yourself in the future.
• 0480 / Ongsay Aftcray / The Assignment: Record a piece of music by employing Pig Latin as a technique.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 484 consecutive weeks to date.
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