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.
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• February 6, 2019: First day of the new semester of the 15-week "Sounds of Brands" course I teach once a year at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
• March 22, 2019: I'm giving a talk at the Algorithmic Art Assembly, two days of events in San Francisco: aaassembly.org.
• 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.
• Ongoing: 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, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury, is now in its second printing. It has been translated into Spanish, and is due out soon in Japanese, as well. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
The Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects:
• 0367 / Trio Initiate / The Assignment: Record the first third of an eventual trio.
• 0366 / Ice Breaker / The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it.
• 0365 / 2018 Tracker / The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments.
• 0364 / Casting Drones / The Assignment: Use dice to determine your slowly shifting tones.
• 0363 / Gymnopédie Rats / The Assignment: Make over Erik Satie's "Gymnopédie No. 1" in your chosen genre.
... And there is a complete list of past projects.
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