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: December 2008

Quote of the Week: Fringe Sonics

In episode 8 of the ongoing first season of Fringe, Fox’s X-Files-like TV series, a young boy is seen during the opening scene in the back of a car, patiently deploying notes on a piece of sheet-music paper. The boy’s father is driving the car, and outside rain falls heavily.

    Son: Dad, don’t get mad at me … but … the windshield wipers. Could you slow them down?

    Dad: Slow them down?

    Son: The tempo — it’s messing me up.

The episode is titled “The Equation,” written by J.R. Orci and David H. Goodman, original air date November 18.

Music isn’t unessential to Fringe — there’s a piano in the Harvard University laboratory of truly mad scientist Walter Bishop (a sort of analog to the great British sci-fi scientists, Who and Quatermass), and of course series co-creator J.J Abrams is known for contributing to his own shows’s scores.

And then there’s this comment by Bishop, when he arrives on the scene of a mysterious incident near the opening of “The Cure” (episode 6 of season 1, written by Felicia D. Henderson and Brad Caleb Kane, air date October 21) and loiters near a buzzing telephone pole:

    Was I humming? I thought it was in my head. … Nothing sings like a kilo volt. Unique pitch. Nothing else in nature quite like it.

More on the series and its mix of science, science fiction, and, occasionally, music at, from which this promotional image is borrowed:

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2008’s Best Albums, According to Readers

The December 7 email newsletter from included a contest, giving away three copies of Kenneth Kirschner‘s new two-CD set, Filaments & Voids (12k), to which I contributed the liner notes. Entry was easy — you just had to share the name of your favorite album of the year. The contest ends January 1, 2009, 11:30am Pacific time, and already a heap of entries have come in. The entries have been so interesting and varied, I’ve opted to list below most of the records named by readers as their favorites.

Some albums were easily recognizable as not having been released in the past year, and they aren’t listed here, though I may have accidentally included unfamiliar records that predate 2008, or misspelled a few. If you see any errors, please let me know. Folks who named records not released in 2008 aren’t disqualified from the contest. Several albums were named by multiple readers, but I don’t list the repeats here.

For more information on how to enter, head to, which hosts the 12k label’s announcement of the contest. To subscribe to the email newsletter, enter your address in the field on the right-hand side of this page. As for my top-of-2008 list, I’ll be posting it shortly.

And here are the readers’s favorites, in very lazy alphabetical order:

Andrey Kiritchenko: Misterrious (Spekk), Anthony Pateras: Chromatophore (Tzadik), APM: Sprint Mill (ICR), Arsenije Jovanovic: Galiola (FO A RM Projects, and/OAR, Alluvial), Autistici: Volume Objects (12K), Beta Two Agonist: Autumn Perdue (Databloem Records), California Guitar Trio: Echoes (Inner Knot), Celer: Tropical (Mystery Sea), Chris Schlarb: Twilight & Ghost Stories (Asthmatic Kitty), CobblestoneJazz: 23 seconds (K7), COH: + COH Plays Cosey (Raster-Noton), Coldplay: Viva La Vida (Capitol), Collections of Colonies of Bees: Birds (Table of the Elements).</p?

Esther Venrooy and Heleen van Haegenborgh: Mock Interiors by (Entr’acte), Expo ’70: Black Ohms (Beta-lactam Ring), Ezekiel Honig: Surfaces of a Broken Marching Band (Anticipate), Fennesz: Black Sea (Touch), Francisco López: Untitled #213, Gang Gang Dance: St. Dymphna (Warp), Gas: Nah und Fern (Kompakt), Graham Lambkin & Jason Lescalleet: The Breadwinner (Erstwhile), Grouper: Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill (Type), Helios: Cesura (Type), HPC: Halfbreed (Hymen), Ian Nagoski: Kerflooey (Ehse), ii: Landlakes (Feral Media), Inverz: Songs (Granny).

Janek Schaefer: Extended Play (Line), Jeremy Bible & Jason Henry (someone listed the duo but didn’t name which album, and they at least a half dozen records out this year), Kangding Ray: Automne Fold (Raster-Noton), Library Tapes: A Summer Beneath the Trees (Make Mine Music), Loren Chasse & Michael Northam: The Otolith (Toben), Mou, Lips!: Untree (mOAR), Murcof: The Versailles Sessions (Leaf), Paavoharju: Laulu Laakson Kukista (Fonal), Peter Broderick: Float (Type), Peter Broderick: Home (Hush), Portishead: Third (Island), Radiohead: In Rainbows (XL).

Rudi Arapahoe: Echoes From One to Another (Symbolic Interaction), Sidsel Endresen / Jon Hassell: Live Remixes Vol. 1 (Punkt/Jazzland), Sleeparchive: Hadron EP (Sleeparchive), Steinbrüchel: Mit Ohne (12K), Stephan Mathieu: Radioland (Die Schachtel), Stereolab: Chemical Chords (4AD), Tape: Luminarium (Häpna), Taylor Deupree: Northern (12k), Taylor Deupree: Sea Last (12k), The Boats: Faulty Toned Radio (Flau), Then Dof: Untitled (Mobeer), Vikki Jackman: Whispering Pages (Faraway Press), William Basinski + Richard Chartier: Untitled 1 – 3 (Line), Yair Etziony: Flawed (Smallfish).

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Remix EP from Silences Sumire (MP3s)

The act Silences Sumire released one of 2008’s best albums, a collection of heavily remixed jazz elements called Return Is Selective, on the digital arm of the Ropeadope record label. The extent to which Sumire, collectively Thomas Faulds and Charles Gorcyznski, was represented on Return not by the jazz but by the remixing and processing is emphasized on The Algernon Remixes, a free, five-track release they put out earlier (available for download at as archives of both WAV and MP3 files).

The musically economical content of Algernon is jazzy only to the extent to which the rhythmic post-rock of Tortoise is jazzy, especially on the slow, gentle “Protocol,” which is built around a melody played on a mallet instrument. The best track is likely “Remainder,” in which the patient counterpoint and lead instrument (seemingly guitar) of the initial Algernon track are heard through a kind of digital scrim, which renders the original in a pixilated pantomime. More on the originating act, Algernon, at

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Old-School Esther Venrooy MP3

Esther Venrooy‘s The Spiral Staircase album is represented on the website of its releasing label, Entr’acte (, by a single download (MP3), six and a half minutes of saw-toothed wave forms that suggest music several decades in the past, a time when oscillators were all the rage, and when digital operations on data were the stuff of science fiction. It’s the sort of music that when you watch your MP3 player’s visualizer, you think you’re looking at the actual score, not merely a visual interpretation of the original music. The saw waves reveal themselves, in time, to be couched in remote overtones, underlying drones that don’t soften the central music’s edges so much as shade them. More on Venrooy at

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Free Noise-Drone MP3 from Growing

The band Growing earlier this year released All the Way, among its tracks one they opted to distribute via free download. Titled “Green Flag” (MP3), it’s the piece with which the album opens, a raucous drone, solidly in the Glenn Branca / Lou Reed school, and layered with increasingly extravagant flanging madness, eventually encompassing heavily machine-altered vocals, or what sound like they once were emitted by a human mouth. As one listens to “Green Flag” take shape, and to that shape change, it becomes difficult to track the means by which this duo found itself in this sonic space, so far from the rangy, generally pastoral, earlier efforts. But that trajectory is less important that the thoroughness of Growing’s approach to noise here. With repeated listens, the past becomes past, and the subject of concentration becomes that melodic material that struggles to make itself heard, to come into focus, as “Green Flag” comes to a close. More information at the releasing record label, Social Registry (

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