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.

Dripping Clothes -> Generative Music (MP3)

File this one under “happy accidents.” That’s how Tom Player, aka Lost Track, characterizes the subject of a recent post he made to the website, which is something of a public salon and playroom and group-blog for a handful of experimental sound folk.

The track in question is a nearly four-minute recording of what Player describes as chance generative music (MP3):

[audio:|titles=”Generative Dripping Clothes”|artists=Lost Track]

Now, “chance” and “generative” are closely linked terms in the construction of experimental music, in part because it is precisely matters of chance that lend a lifelike, considered and even sentient, certainly not entirely predictable sensibility to much generative sound — generative sound being sound that is produced as the result of a rules-based system rather than a traditionally notated composition. These days that usually means in some manner an automated system, such as generative software like the Automaton plug-in by the software firm Audio Damage (, or the sonic sculptures of Survival Research Labs member Matt Heckert (

Audio Damage uses Conway’s Game of Life as the basis for implementing and manipulating sound in Automaton. It’s a procedural descendant of the kind of work John Cage did in utilizing the I Ching as a tool for decision-making in composition and improvisation. In those situations, minor alterations — a new dot inserted in Conway’s grid, a left-field trigram for a Cageian performer — can radically change the direction of a piece of music.

In the case of Player’s track, however, he’s not talking about chance; he’s talking about an accident, which is perhaps the most quotidian meaning of “chance.” The music that came of it no less affecting, even if the source is water dripping from clothes. Player describes the system, humble as it may sound, that led to the recording as follows:

I set up a few cardboard loo rolls to resonate with the sound and stood around for 5 minutes recording it all. There are some really interesting syncopated moments, all underpinned with a regular metronomic beat. I liked the intrusion of external sounds to the mix, as you listen on.

The entire situation is John Cage by way of Rube Goldberg. The MP3 is a light percussive piece (that’s the “metronomic beat” he refers to) in which nothing is ever quite the same twice. There are various beat-like sounds that have the slightly funky feel of an experimental rhythmic track, to the point that one must remind oneself that none of this was planned, none of it predetermined, except to the extent that Player (could a musician who makes generative sound have a better name?) set up the system and adjusted it to achieve a result that appealed to him.

Original post at More on Player at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Leave a comment ]

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