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.

Dub as Structure Not Merely Effect (MP3)

The beat is hard and slow, and there’s what could easily be a melodica moaning away up top. It takes a while for the melodica-like sound to make itself heard. First it’s just that beat, and deliciously so. It could be a distant train bell, but it sounds more like a clanging pipe heard through a thick wall, hard but muffled, muffled but undeniably hard. Then, as if on schedule, right on the minute mark, there’s a brief chord, and then more clang. What follows is a slowly developing melodic line, like something out of an Ennio Morricone score, but even more reminiscent of mid-1990s experimental dub, most notably Calvin Johnson’s Dub Narcotic Sound System.

This is “Taps – Fixtures,” one of two tracks on a self-titled EP released by Taps late last year at If the pop realm of dub took Morricone’s sound (along, of course, with that of the music’s Jamaican originators) and traded its melodrama for something more pithy, music like Taps’ goes in the opposite direction. The sound of “Taps – Fixtures” (and of its sibling track, “Raining in Your House”) is admirably attenuated. It takes dub as structure not merely as effect.

That opening minute deserves particular attention. It’s truly a full minute of this soggy beat. That Taps is willing to bet on its audience’s patience is one thing. Better yet is how it takes the opportunity to truly sound out a space before introducing the more familiar dub elements, elements that are intended to suggest depth but that, adhering to genre, sound essentially the same whether in a small room or a large hall.

Taps is Chris Strunk and Brendan Murray. The two songs are available free at, but it’s in a pay-what-you-like system, so why not toss in a few bucks?

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Comment: 1 ]

One Comment

  1. icastico
    [ Posted July 2, 2011, at 6:17 pm ]

    Thanks for the tip on this one. Dub as state of mind, perhaps.

    (blantant self-promo…the latest dustdevil & crow track that aboombong worked on is based around a soggy dub beat of sorts…

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

  • 0548 / Drone Vox / The Assignment: Make a drone using just your voice.
    0547 / Genre Melee / Combine two seemingly different genres.
    0546 / Code Notes / The Assignment: Make music that includes a secret message.
    0545 / Unself-Awareness / The Assignment: Learn from feedback intended for others.
    0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 548 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts