Tell someone in Toronto, while visiting from San Francisco, how lovely, walkable, vibrant and diverse their city is and they’ll say, “Come back in mid-January.” Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that a netlabel with the uneasy name Dark Winter (darkwinter.com) has released an album of Canadian origin, some of it “initially recorded in various burnt out and abandoned buildings throughout Toronto” earlier this year, the site explains. The album is As Everything Fell from the Sky by ANGELswing, aka Adam Dollard, who perpetrates a uniquely claustrophobic brand of experimental audio. “Maybe Today, Aronud Six” layers piano parts that rub up against each other just beyond the realm of believable live playing, and as a result concentrates your listening on the spare melodies’ internal logic. Piano, or piano-like sounds, provide a kind of theme on the album, lending a muddy beat and an out-of-the-blue bit of frill to “As His Muoth Went Dry” and triggering a nostalgia-tinged figure that haunts “It Started Around Elevne.” Many of the tracks on As Everything Fell from the Sky embrace rough furrows of abraded sound, such as the slow, dry spacelessness of “There Were No Streetlihgts.” Every song title on the album has a misspelling, which the brief liner note at Dark Winter explains is willful. Of course, the music itself takes a far more strenuous approach to unsettling the listener than mere typographical play. Oh, and kudos to Dark Winter for doing something few netlabels think of: recommending key tracks.
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
• July 28, 2021: This day marks the start of the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
• December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
• January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th 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.
• 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.
• 0494 / Insect Menagerie / The Assignment: Record a 20-second clip of the sounds of an insect that you yourself have invented.
• 0493 / AudioCorrect / The Assignment: Think about the utility and the useful failures inherent in autocorrect and apply this to your music.
• 0492 / Kintsugi Rework / The Assignment: Employ the Japanese technique of mending broken ceramics as a metaphor for remixing.
• 0491 / Footsteps Sequencer / The Assignment: Compose a piece of music structured upon a walk through your home.
• 0490 / In Conversation / The Assignment: Compose a piece of music structured like dialog.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 494 consecutive weeks to date.
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