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.

French Radio @ Luggage Store, San Francisco

When abstract music is performed live in an art gallery, the art can’t help but lend form to what is heard. When the trio French Radio played at the Luggage Store Gallery on November 10, the art didn’t just lend form; it provided commentary. The current exhibit at the gallery is all text-based: words scrawled on the walls, emblazoned like commercial signage, framed like art, dangling like mobiles. While French Radio played, words surrounded the group. Above them was written the following, in the same sort of bubbly script that might trumpet the weekly special at a corner store: “Every aesthetic detail considered, determined, emphatic and at the same time oddly diffuse.” Though attributed to the March 2005 issue of the magazine Artforum, it could easily apply to what French Radio accomplish. The trio consists of Bruce Anderson (of MX80) on guitar, James Kaiser (aka Petit Mal) on bowed bicycle wheel, and Andrew Way (a partner with Kaiser in the group NF Orchest) on turntable and microphone, all three of them processing those sounds until they become quite removed from their sources.

At times the noise the group produced sounded of a piece, just one enormous and sad whale song, a stunning kind of singularity that few improvising ensembles manage to achieve. At others the three men’s individual contributions to the whole grew more distinct: a shuddering guitar chord, a primordial foam of tone, a rich static of verbal cues. Kaiser wrenched deep notes from his unlikely instrument, a microphone stuck in the guitar wheel’s spokes like a dirty daffodil. Way alternately spun a cheap turntable by hand and uttered into his mic, directing the signals through a variety of processors that gave him the broadest range of the evening’s performers. Standing between them, Anderson struck a spartan figure.

The evening didn’t go off without a hitch. The start was delayed while Anderson employed the scientific method to determine which of his many foot pedals was impeding the route of his guitar’s output, and Way later dropped a large Heineken and risked saturating his equipment.

The night’s second act had only just arrived from L.A. as the half-hour improvisation came to a close, so French Trio performed a short encore in which Anderson’s guitar adhered to a more recognizable form. He played a mournful series of chords that suggested the most downtrodden country music, all the while Kaiser and Way framing it with a thick aura. Toward the close, Anderson set a fragment of a chord to loop in one of his many tools, drawing attention to the stark divide between the circular motion of his strumming and the mathematical precision of a loop. The coldness of that loop emphasized the naturalness of what had preceded it.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / 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

  • 0548 / Drone Vox / The Assignment: Make a drone using just your voice.
    0547 / Genre Melee / Combine two seemingly different genres.
    0546 / Code Notes / The Assignment: Make music that includes a secret message.
    0545 / Unself-Awareness / The Assignment: Learn from feedback intended for others.
    0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 548 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts