Sometime yesterday, the counter in the Other Minds catalog at the Internet Archive, aka archive.org, clicked up one notch, to 206 from 205. Yet, due to the phased processes of database tools, especially those employed by a system as massive as that of the Internet Archive, no new free download was immediately evident; the top of the stack still showed an entry from the recent Other Minds festival, held in San Francisco back in March of this year. By noon today, though, the latest files finally made themselves apparent: two hour-length radio segments of an interview with composer Leo Ornstein, held to celebrate his 100th birthday, back in 1992. Ornstein phoned in from Wisconsin, while his interviewer, Charles Amirkhanian, talked about his music with Ornstein’s son, Severo, played segments of Ornstein’s compositions and, late in the profile, discussed Ornstein’s significance and accomplishments with Nicholas Slonimsky. Though the composer’s association with electronic and ambient music is secondary at best, as an early proponent of Debussy, Ravel and Schoenberg, he is worth listening to for his first-hand account and reflections, especially when he discusses his approximation of the sound of an airplane in his “Suicide in an Airplane,” composed in 1913 (he aspired to represent the “realism of the mechanism”) and his “Hebraic Fantasy,” which was composed for Albert Einstein. This link should lead to the Ornstein entry, and this link should lead to the FTP repository of the interview recordings (in various formats). Otherwise, just head to the Archive’s home page, archive.org, and search for “ornstein” and “1992,” the year the program was first broadcast. Ornstein passed away a decade later, in 2002.
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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