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.

Thomas Koner Live at Recombinant (SF)

Once upon a time, the San Francisco performance space run by Naut Humon was essentially a trailer in the middle of a field, far from the city’s center. The mixing equipment at the Compound, as it was called, sat in the middle of the trailer on a handful of tables, its video screens were pulled taut until they resembled tortured ponchos, and the surround sound was accomplished by speakers that took up a substantial chunk of what floor space there was.

With his new space, Recombinant Media Labs, Humon has gone high-end: a south of Market Street address and a performance room that is structurally refined and whose technology is transparent, unless one reclines on the floor and looks up, in which case a small army of porcelain-white video projectors stands out against the black ceiling.

Entrance is gained to the room by ducking under a screen, which continues around the rectangular space, providing surround visuals to match the sound. Though the Labs and its associated label, Asphodel, suggest a fixation on music, those projectors are what distinguish Recombinant. It isn’t just a place to hear exemplary electronic music, though that it certainly is; it’s also one of the best places in the world to witness what electronic musicians are doing in the realm of audio-video.

Thomas Koner, who is known to minimal techno fans for his bracing work as half of Porter Ricks, performed three audio-visual pieces at Recombinant on Thursday, June 22, and Friday, June 23. I attended the Thursday set: three pieces that each paired droning, churning sound with visuals. The sounds were abstract: mechanized but hazy, abrasive but never necessitating earplugs, occasionally reaching a teeth-rattling thrum but more focused on the listener’s ears than chest.

The images, to the contrary, were almost entirely recognizable. The first piece came slowly into focus. A series of still images, seemingly appropriated from webcams (a supposition confirmed by some notes at Koner’s website,, showed wintry scenes that moved so slowly from one to the next that it was difficult to discern what details belonged to which image: the one fading out, or the one fading in. The second piece switched locales to the urban, with time-lapse images of a building complex shot throughout the day and night. The first piece focused attention on a single screen, but this second displayed the same sequence around the room. The third piece mixed up the screens: some showed motion, others stills, others images processed beyond recognition until they’d come to resemble the sound. The sequence of the images, much like the music itself, toyed with the place where stasis and motion can be mistaken for each other. More info at

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, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of
    December 28, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    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.
    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

  • Ongoing
    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:

  • 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

  • 0511 / Freeze Tag / The Assignment: Consider freezing (and thawing) as a metaphor for music production.
    0510 / Cold Turkey / The Assignment: Record one last track with a piece of music equipment before passing it on.
    0509 / The Long Detail / The Assignment: Create a piece of music with moments from a preexisting track.
    0508 / Germane Shepard / The Assignment: Use the Shepard tone to create a piece of music.
    0507 / In DD's Key of C / The Assignment: Make music with 10 acoustic instrument samples all in a shared key.

    Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 511 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts