Nothing like a little cross-pollination. The Wandering Ear netlabel got its start as a pure-sound alternative project by the folks who’d earlier started the Dark Winter netlabel. While Dark Winter (at darkwinter.com) focused on studio concoctions, Wandering Ear (wanderingear.com) presented field recordings in all their unadulterated, raw goodness. Its first four entries included motor boats in a Minnesota lake, dawn at a mosque in Istanbul, life deep in a Brazilian forest, and the lull of an Australian beach. That last entry flirted with the artificiality of studio composition by melding multiple recordings, as highlighted in the Disquiet Downstream of January 15 (link). But the latest from Wandering Ear, Melt: Minnesota Remixed, dives deep into the land of sampling, offering up over two dozens mixes based on the raw goods of the label’s first release, Thaw: Field Recordings from Minnesota. Key tracks include the watery drip of Lasse-Marc Riek‘s “Canoe Trip Retoure” (MP3) and Scott Sherk‘s more modal take on the same source material (MP3); listen closely to how the heavenly hum and background chatter of the original serve different purposes in each. Hats off, as well, to the otherwordly desolation of Horchata‘s “Thaw Remix” (MP3) and the looped and layered bird calls of Joel Krutt‘s “Avian Reduction” (MP3).
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
• February 5, 2020: The first session of the 15-week course I teach at the Academy of Art about the role of sound in the media landscape.
• April 15, 2020: A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the forthcoming 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.)
• December 13, 2020: This day marks the 24th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2021: This day marks the 9th 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.
• At least two live group concerts by Disquiet Junto members in the San Francisco Bay Area are in the works for 2020.
• I have liner notes for a musician's solo album and an essay in a book about an art event due out. I'll announce as the release dates come into focus.
• 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.
• 0454 / Lsoo Vneg / The Assignment: Encode the name of someone you love into a piece of music.
• 0453 / Dial Up / The Assignment: Imagine the technologically mediated First Contact through sound.
• 0452 / Let's Scream / The Assignment: Get cathartic. Be resilient. Turn your scream into music.
• 0451 / Ursula's Silences / Make music inspired by a line from A Wizard of Earthsea.
• 0450 / Texture Analysis / The Assignment: Create a piece of music from sounds related to working with rocks.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 454 consecutive weeks to date.
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