Musician Jose Maria Rodrigo pilots his drone-based electronic music onto your headphones like someone bringing a massive starship in slow and steady. “Industria Proxima,” off his July 10 Montgo netlabel release, Por Debajo de las Cosas Ordinarias, opens with an underlying murmur, the sound of a sizable object some distance away. While it blossoms, a distant rumble gaining proximity, the foreground comes alive with small activities, little curlicues of electronic chores, sounding like routine protocol checks monitored by semi-sentient, whimsically efficient autobots. The result is the sound design for a quotidian Pixar short about life on a space station. The album opens with “Presencia Humana,” all garbled communication amid more of that starship systems hum. All of the tracks provide the ambience of deep industrial activity. Or, as Rodrigo told Montogo: “In my work as sound technician I have often been paying my total mental-sensorial attention to landscapes or sound objects that a priori seemed empty or insignificant and discovering in them a rare beauty.” The sole exception to Por Debajo‘s extreme remoteness is the electric piano that appears, briefly, on “Presencia Superior”; jarring amid the otherwise mechanistic terrain, it’s like some memory shard of past human interaction. More info at montgorecords.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
• August 15 - September 15, 2019: The Disquiet Junto is teaming up with Musikfestival Bern for a series of projects.
• August 29, 2019: This day marks the start of the 400th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project. It will be a collaboration with the novelist Malka Older.
• December 13, 2019: This day marks the 23rd anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2020: This day marks the 8th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• March 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 0403 / Filter Box / The Assignment: Record music a piece of music in which a sequence of sounds is treated by the same filter or process.
• 0402 / Music for Tasks / The Assignment: Record music intended as the backdrop/soundtrack to a chore.
• 0401 / Noise Pacing / The Assignment: Use background noise as a beat, as a rhythm.
• 0400 / Sub Divided / The Assignment: Create a score to a Malka Older story using the author's own voice as source audio.
• 0399 / Edges & Echoes / The Assignment: Make sonic art for a space with the sounds of that space.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 403 consecutive weeks to date.
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