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.

Pazz & Jop: 3 Out of 10 Ain’t Bad

The annual Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll is out. Of my top-10 album selections (previously posted here, with some comments), just three have votes from other participants. This is par for the course: of the 1,839 albums listed in the poll’s ballots, the majority have only one or two mentions. In contrast, the winner, Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, has 266 mentions, for 3,250 points. Critics have 100 points to divvy up between the up to 10 albums they select. (Ditto for singles, a poll in which I didn’t participate.)

The three albums I shared with other voters were:

¶ Yellow SwansGoing Places, with 15 mentions, for a total of 141 points;

¶ Scott Tuma‘s Dandelion, with 3 mentions, for a total of 30 points;

¶ Oval‘s O, with 2 mentions, for a total of 20 points (Oval’s Oh was also on the list, with one mention for 10 points).

The list of critics is extensive — more than 700 — and if you peek around, you’ll find some neat variations from the standard music journalists, among them musician Elliott Sharp, who in addition to having five albums on his list for which no one else voted, did a smart thing in his list of favorite singles: he simply selected a favorite track from each of his top 10 albums.

Right now there seems to be a technical glitch on the Voice site, so the album pages linked to from individual critics’ ballot pages don’t list the other critics who voted for the albums. There’s been no major upgrade to the system that the Voice uses to publish the polls, which is unfortunate: no tools to fine-tune comparison between ballots, no links from critics’ ballot pages to their own sites, no links from critics’ ballots to their ballots from previous years, no “artist” pages to collect information on various releases, comments only on article pages (not on ballot or release pages).

Before the rise of the Internet, the annual Pazz & Jop poll was a rare source for music discovery. The ready availability today of opinions makes the poll far less valuable than it once was, but rather than embrace the tools of the web to make the most of its key virtue (the impressive expanse of participants), it’s gotten technologically stagnant. Maybe next year?

A taste of what the poll could be, as a correlated index of opinion, can be had at That site’s Glenn McDonald is credited with tabulating the poll, and on the page goes into greater depth. In addition to some nifty sorting, it provides individual pages for ballots (here’s mine), including an “empathy” factor that tries to align one critic with others that share some sort of consensus. That consensus, of course, is measured solely by the hard data of specific albums rather than, say, genre or average BPM, and it doesn’t take into consideration, by definition, information the poll neglected to ask about, like, for instance, albums that we were disappointed by (for example, my top “empathy” colleague loved at least one album I couldn’t stand). Again, maybe next year the official Voice poll’s presentation will be enlivened by some of the sorting and collating that touches on.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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

  • Recent
    • 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 ( at Gray Area (
    • 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

  • 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

  • 0560 / Sonic Disambiguation / The Assignment: Help the Wikimedia Foundation develop a sonic logo.
    0559 / Yes Exit / The Assignment: Compose your personal entrance and exit cues for conference calls.
    0558 / Chore Progressions / The Assignment: Use a routine activity as the map of a composition.
    0557 / Condensation Is a Form of Change / The Assignment: Interpret a graphic score that depicts four phases.
    0556 / Gabber Ambient / The Assignment: Field-test a hybrid genre.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 560 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts