Amsterdam-based musician Robert van Heumen visited San Francisco last month. He documented the trip with an overview of his stay and, all the better, nine MP3 files. On three, recorded at the Lab and at Mills College, he plays with Roddy Schrock (whose website, fundamentallysound.org, mentioned Heumen’s travelog, found here). Others feature Laetitia Sonami and Michel Waisvisz, together and solo. The highlight is a piece by Joel Ryan, in his own kind of collaboration, in that he’s mixing a recording of saxophonist Evan Parker. There are two versions, one recorded at the Lab, and one at Mills. Now, Parker’s a saxophonist who essentially mixes himself as he plays, virtually taking his instrument apart as he wrings sound of it by any means necessary. Midway through his eight-minute Lab dissection of Parker, Ryan appears to lay some of Parker’s music bare, a cycle of circular breathing in which a melody seems to peep its head out of the intense rhythmic patterning. Otherwise, there is even more in Ryan’s vision of Parker than Parker himself could accomplish on his lonesome. Snippets of sound bound against each other, echoes take loft like skittish birds, tones are warped and stretched like taffy, and harmonies develop as if in a pressure cooker. Check out RvH’s travelog and files here. (It being a small world, RvH has contributed to Aaron Ximm’s One-Minute Vacation series, the subject of several Disquiet Downstream entries, including yesterday’s; his was on Valentine’s Day of this year. Visit Ximm’s project at at quietamerican.org/vacation.html.)
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
• December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
• December 28, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
• January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
• July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in 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.
• 0507 / In DD’s Key of C / The Assignment: Make music with 10 acoustic instrument samples all in a shared key.
• 0506 / Wipe Out / The Assignment: Take something whole and erase half of it.
• 0505 / Line Out / The Assignment: Share a track, get feedback, and give feedback.
• 0504 / Transform Formula / The Assignment: Take a sound, change it, and contrast that with the original.
• 0503 / Sing Song / The Assignment: Record a song using only your voice transformed beyond recognition.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 507 consecutive weeks to date.
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