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.

Community-Filtered Beat MP3s

Not all charts are created equal. The wisdom of crowds can be a lot more convincing on a message board than on a sales chart. The top 10 albums of a given week, according to Soundscan, can be more a reflection of conventional wisdom and reactive consumerism than of individual taste or the state of the art. By contrast, on Internet forums where musicians post their own music for peer input, the accumulated number of comments can be a dependably solid sign of some solid work.

As of this morning, for example, the most commented upon entry among the 20 most recent threads in the “Beats/Instrumentals Showcase” forum at cratekings.com is a pair of grimy, artfully crafted rhythm tracks by one panamacanal. The thread is titled “New Beat Plz Check Out.”

The first and the real keeper, “Introducing … Intro” (MP3, zshare.net), is, as the producer says in his brief note, a Public Enemy-flavored flare-up, opening with that hip-hop trifecta: gunshot, hi-hat, strings. It doesn’t have the density commonly associated with the best Bomb Squad productions for Public Enemy, but it does have the ambient filigree, dramatic tension, and earnest vibe. “Life Hell” has a similarly classic opening: orchestral grandeur that drops, vertiginously, to downtempo swagger, a sweet lope of a loop played under some period spoken soul (MP3, zshare.net).

And both are, frankly, better — more interesting, moody, and detailed — than just about anything on the new Nas album, aside perhaps from its opening track.

(If the above MP3 links don’t function, just use the zshare.net service.)

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, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

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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 (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • 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 oup.com.)

  • 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.

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