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. • Disquiet.com 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.

Live Circuit-Bent MP3s

There’s a cognitive disorder known as “musical hallucinations.” It afflicts not the young but the aged, those whose decades of aural experience can come back unbidden, turning the brain into an out-of-control iPod on shuffle. For someone raised in a household where video games and other electronic devices, rather than a standard stereo system, filled rooms with sound, the music of a Macintosh tech consultant who makes his home at techdweeb.com might provide a scary, yet entertaining, premonition of mental issues yet to come.

Performing under names including Univac, or the Univac Index, he’s a serious bender, taking the noisemaking toys and gadgets of yesteryear and soldering them into his own aural image. The site offers visual and sonic documentation of things like a Kawasaki keyboard with pitch controls and optical resistors added on: “When it crashes noisily, you can still play noisy notes on the keyboard. Cool!”

Cool, indeed. The interface on the techdweeb site’s “noise” section requires the viewer to guess-click on a collage of dated computer clip art to access free MP3s of his performances. Doing so on the phrase “Single Pulse Device” (hint: lower right hand corner) leads to a seven-track set recorded live in Los Angeles a week or so prior to Halloween last year. He lists his equipment as Demon MonKeys, Nice Cube of White Noise, Blue Kaoss Pad, TubbyBox TinyFlaccid Po, Opera Daisy Rust, and the Super Ear Blaster. Listening to what appears to be a fleeing Pac Man at the tail end of “Electron Flow” (MP3) or the even more mashed-up gamer cues of “Free Battery” (MP3) and “Right Angles to the Wire” (MP3) could provide premonitions of what hardcore gamers will experience in their golden years. And there’s much more at techdweeb.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • 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

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    December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
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    July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in 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.
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    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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    0509 / The Long Detail / The Assignment: Create a piece of music with moments from a preexisting track.
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