New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

One-Minute Vacation MP3s

If you know the end of a story before it occurs, that’s called “tragedy.” If you’ve heard a raw field recording — not just heard, but paid close attention to one — many times, then eventually the sequence of sounds takes on a familiarity, a kind of de facto structure that might as well be called “music.” Each week Aaron Ximm posts on his website,, sonic snapshots from around the globe. His One-Minute Vacation series collects unedited field recordings by volunteer Alan Lomaxes of the quotidian, an ever-expanding crew (MiniDiscs and harddrive recorders in hand) who document the sounds of today.

Sometimes musical elements are self-evident. Of the past eight weekly One-Minute Vacation entries, the majority have music inherent in them already, including a jig in an lrish bar (MP3); the mild cacophony of a video-game parlor, complete with a robotic lead vocal in the form of a someone (or -thing) reading bingo numbers (MP3); organ practice at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London (MP3); and a muffled orchestra heard above a torrent of Parisian fireworks that provide a kind of abstract machine beat, at least until the Bastille Day applause kicks in (MP3). The latter, arrhythmic to the point of distraction, is the sort of thing that British rapper Dizzee Rascal could get behind.

Fireworks provide a more subdued, but perhaps more threatening, background in a track of birds on Alcatraz reacting to the distant man-made thunder (MP3) — and, marking the contrast of humans’ impact on the environment, there’s a separate track of birds, noticeably more idyllic, recorded in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (MP3).

One track begins just after an orchestral performance in Bavaria, Germany, so no music is documented, but we do overhear people discussing the performance, itself a kind of recording (MP3), and I’d swear one of the speakers is a host from the BBC’s Hear and Now radio program.

Regulars to the One-Minute Vacation series, which is updated most Mondays, often try to listen to a track prior to reading the brief accompanying description, just to enjoy whatever abstraction is implicit therein, before letting the text cement the sounds. The wind chimes offered up on August 8 (MP3) are deceivingly self-explanatory. As it turns out, this is the first One-Minute Vacation recorded in an artificial world. The chimes were a computer simulation inside Second Life, the popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) — which helps explain why, toward the end of the track, some typing can be heard.

More info on the One-Minute Vacation series, and tons more files, at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Leave a comment ]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Subscribe without commenting

  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website 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

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe

  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly ( at Gray Area (
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of 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

  • 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).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    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.

    Recent Projects

  • 0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.
    0543 / Technique Check / The Assignment: Share a tip from your method toolbox.
    0542 / 2600 Club / The Assignment: Make some phreaking music.
    0541 / 10BPM Techno / The Assignment: Make some snail-paced beats.
    0540 / 5ive 4our / The Assignment: Take back 5/4 for Jedi time masters Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 544 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts