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.

Leafcutter John Dives Off the Deep End (MP3)

Hydrophones, simply put, allow for the recording of sounds underwater. As John Burton, aka Leafcutter John, puts it: “this is reason enough to worship and adore them.” In advance of a tour he’s doing on a canal boat (with Lisa Knapp), he’s been perfecting his underwater-recording gear, which in the case of his handy hydrophone involves putting heavily waterproofed contact mics inside a sturdy device. “I went out and bought a hot-glue-gun for this bit,” he writes of his Make-worthy activities, “and it was worth it.”

He’s provided four brief samples of his little water-music sports, including the “bathbomb” (MP3 — which, despite its thrilling name, is like a very close-up recording of rain), a brushed comb (MP3 — think of the world’s most tautly wound kalimba thumb piano), a rubber ducky (MP3 — all puckered up, and ready for cartoon activities), and “taps” (MP3 — by which he appears to mean not the military melody, but the spout out of which water flows). These four test recordings are each relatively short, so I’ve sewn them together here into one single listening experience:

[audio:,,,|titles=”bathbomb”,”comb”,”rubberduck”,”taps”|artists=Leafcutter John,Leafcutter John,Leafcutter John,Leafcutter John]

More on Burton/John and his hydrophonic experiments (with a full how-to on making your own hydrophone) at, and on his canal-tour partner, Lisa Knapp, at Info on their tour, which began yesterday in London and continues through September 30, at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , , / Comments: 2 ]


  1. K. Moore
    [ Posted September 11, 2009, at 10:51 am ]

    This makes me have to pee! :)

    I really like the first and last bits. Watery goodness!

  2. Michael
    [ Posted September 12, 2009, at 8:34 am ]

    That is one scary looking hydrophone!

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