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.

Monthly Archives: June 2006

Digi-Core MP3

End the week on a hard note. Newly up at, the instrumental “mechanized wisdom (burzum rmx)” (attribution unclear), which is pithily billed, with full self-knowledge, as “experimental, electronic black metal music from taiwan.” There’s little more than a tough beat and a grindcore sludge, which combined bring to mind the Earache Records catalog at its best, with additional wisps of industrial-goth aura. This track may be preaching to Ministry’s converted, but it’s a hardy sermon (MP3).

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New Netlabel MP3s

You might read the URL,, as Wandering Gear instead of what it actually says, which is Wandering Ear, but either way, you’d be right. is a new netlabel set up Mike Hallenbeck and by Nathan Larson, the latter the founder of, but unlike Dark Winter, which is dedicated to processed dark ambience, is about unprocessed sound. It’s a label dedicated to field recordings, which is to say, it’s dedicated to the work of people who wander the land with their gear. Its first release, Thaw: Field Recordings from Minnesota, sounds like the title to a John Updike novel or a Christopher Guest movie. There are sounds from water (MP3, by Hallenbeck) and air (MP3, by Michelle Nagai), office (MP3, by Annie Baxter) and helicopter (MP3, by Bryce Beverlin II). These documentarians are not without a sense of humor. Among the album’s 18 tracks, all freely downloadable, are three “accidental” field recordings by Jaron Childs, who discovered them on his answering machine.

Wanderingear’s Larson is one of the three netlabel administrators who participated in the recent discussion, “Free as in Netlabel,” along with folks from Hungary’s Complementary Distribition and Portugal’s Test Tube. According to his brief bio on the site, Larson has a third netlabel due to debut next year:

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Ghost in the Bush MP3

In about a week or so, the Disquiet Downstream will feature a pretty cool take on the ongoing remix festivities at, the site set up in tribute to the rerelease of the David Byrne and Brian Eno album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. But in the meanwhile, here’s another recommended track, out of the nearly 140 that have been posted at since it opened for public-domain business on March 9: Thomas‘ “Shadow Memory” (MP3) is one of the most rarified entries yet, all opening with no build. It’s comprised almost entirely of the material that most of the bush-of-ghosts participants have used to introduce what inevitably becomes a busy, traditional, rhythm-based pop song. Not so for Thomas, who gets points for remembering there are ghosts in the bush.

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Japanese Noise-Art MP3s

Overdose Kunst is two Japanese musicians, Takeshi.f and Ryuta.k, who are well represented by a pair of recent five-track netlabel releases. War of Kelgenetu, on Umbrella Noize (, moves easily from brash static to light field recordings to somnolent tunefulness, the highlight being the title cut, in which drowsy piano and a loping, skipped beat support a near inaudible vocal (MP3). And Non-Form Material Machine, on Postmoderncore (, ditches the noise in favor of something more folksy but at times no less discomforting, especially the tinges of backward masking that make “Requia for Ethnic Cleansing” (MP3) a study in motion sickness; there’s some consolation in the mashed found sounds of “I Should Want to Be Alan Lomax in New Domain” (MP3). But even console cowboys get the blues, as evidenced by the guitar’n’clicktrack “Medium’s Message” (MP3).

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Free as in Netlabel

The proprietors of three established netlabels (Andras Hargitai of Complementary Distribution, Nathan Larson of Dark Winter, Pedro Leitao of Test Tube) discuss the cost of free downloads, the online community of uploaders and the transition from physical distribution to virtual

Come 2006, there are more than enough netlabels to fill even the most discerning of harddrives. A “netlabel” is a web-based distributor of music that charges nothing for the music it promotes. Though the concept seems to not only flout but upend conventional wisdom about how a record label functions, there are hundreds of these enterprising organizations around the globe, the significant majority of them focusing on electronic music.

Releases on netlabels are often the focus of the Downstream section of, in which each weekday I recommend a free downloadable piece of music. From that Disquiet department’s beginning, in the fall of 2003, netlabels have been a major source of its material, including such destinations as 8bitrecs, Stasisfield, Kikapu and Monotonik.

To dig a little deeper into the subject, I ran a short-term discussion group earlier this year with the administrators of three exemplary netlabels. As with a previous Disquiet-based online discussion (“After ‘Thursday Afternoon,'” on the 20th anniversary of the Brian Eno album), the conversation transpired in private via an Internet-based forum, and what appears below is a transcription that was lightly edited after the dialog had reached its natural conclusion.

The participants were Andras Hargitai of Complementary Distribution (, based out of Budapest, Hungary; Nathan Larson of Dark Winter (, based out of Minnetonka, Minnesota; and Pedro Leitao of Test Tube (, based out of Lisbon, Portugal.

Over the course of a couple of weeks, the discussion ranged from the theoretical to the practical, at times serving as a sounding board, at others as a technical support group, as Hargitai, Larson and Leitao discussed the cost of free downloads, the online community of uploaders and the transition from physical distribution to virtual. Read more »

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  • 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

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    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of
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    • 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 (
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    • 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).

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