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.

What Distinguishes the Drone Is What Distinguishes the Drone

What distinguishes the drone is what distinguishes the drone. In the broader sense, what distinguishes the drone is its still generally unfamiliar approach, its lack of interest in dispensing immediate satisfaction or in lingering in a mind courtesy of a shard that gets planted and becomes difficult to excise. Though of course it does both those things, in that the drone can effect a peaceful room tone almost instantly, if the room and the drone and the moment are right for each other, and it can linger in the mind even if those shards are of resiliently ambiguous shape and size.

In the narrower sense, what distinguishes the drone is just that: all drones are not created equal, and the subtle shadings are part of their compositional nature. What makes drones especially rich, and extends their generally non-confrontational affect, is that new drones illuminate old ones. Drones don’t participate in a war of attrition. New drones don’t update and outdo old drones. New drones shed light on the workings of earlier drones. Drones may all sound vaguely the same when heard separately, but close proximity makes it clear just how distinct they all are from each other.

What distinguishes the drones of South Korea”“based musician Fescal, at least as heard on Into the Atmosphere, the recent release on the Portugal-based netlabel test tube, is an emphasis on texture, an active engagement with texture. There’s nothing here that hints back at the MIDI and synth era of rhapsodic ambient lounge music. Feedback breaks in on “Yesterday’s News” the way a light glints on a camera lens, and that’s after an extended passage that is downright gritty — not film-noir stage-set gritty, but urban wasteland gritty, live-field-recording gritty (MP3). On “The Way the Cookie Crumbles,” a haunting, sublimated vocal chorus — haunting not just because of how buried it is in the mix, but also because of its static, inhuman quality — provides the sort of complex overtones that perhaps only vocals can bring (MP3). These are trenchant drones. On “Lucky Man,” the texture goes meta, as if we’re not so much listening to the drone, but to some recording of the drone that has then, wholly, been put through a post-production ringer (MP3).

[audio:http://www.monocromatica.com/netlabel/releases/tube232/tube232-05-fescal_-_yesterdays_news.mp3|titles=”Yesterday’s News”|artists=Fescal] [audio:http://www.monocromatica.com/netlabel/releases/tube232/tube232-04-fescal_-_the_way_the_cookie_crumbles.mp3|titles=”The Way the Cookie Crumbles”|artists=Fescal] [audio:http://www.monocromatica.com/netlabel/releases/tube232/tube232-03-fescal_-_lucky_man.mp3|titles=”Lucky Man”|artists=Fescal]

Full release at the test tube netlabel: monocromatica.com/netlabel. More on Fescal: vimeo.com and last.fm.

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 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

  • 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 Disquiet.com.
    • 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 (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).

  • 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

  • 0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.
    0543 / Technique Check / The Assignment: Share a tip from your method toolbox.
    0542 / 2600 Club / The Assignment: Make some phreaking music.
    0541 / 10BPM Techno / The Assignment: Make some snail-paced beats.
    0540 / 5ive 4our / The Assignment: Take back 5/4 for Jedi time masters Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 544 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts