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.

Time of the Sines (MP3s)

The sine wave is arguably the most rudimentary building block of electronic music. It is the source for various forms of synthesis: a simple sonic object that can be tweaked, prodded, processed, and layered to create new sounds. Simple as its sonic makeup is, that undulating up and down cycle, it can be, in the hands of some musicians, an object of intense aural attention unto itself. C. Reider has made a prolific habit of using constraints as a means toward creative ends, perhaps most notably in the employment of early drum machines in the production of music for which rhythm is not the main point. On his recent freely downloadable album Formerly Sine Drones, released by the Modisti netlabel, Reider makes several different sine waves do marvelous things.

The tracks range from wildly active to deeply sedate. The latter is the case with the album’s final cut (MP3), titled “777 Hz.” All the tracks are named for the frequency of the sine wave from which they are built, ranging between “12 Hz” to “3456 Hz,” as chosen by followers of his account when he put a call out for random numbers.

[audio:|titles=”777 Hz”|artists=C. Reider]

The processing of each frequency uses the most basic of tools: “The sine waves were altered only by changing equalization (EQ changes, and/or low & hi pass filtration), and dynamics (volume, panning and compression),” the Modisti site reports.

Love Hz: Spectrum analysis for the track “777 Hz” shows how the original tone has been overshadowed.

After listening to the album, I asked Reider to describe what he was up to with the sine waves, and he provided the above spectrum analysis of the “777 Hz” track and this description of the process that led to it:

As with all of the tracks, the original sine wave went through many passes of high- and low-pass filtration and equalization, just pushing the original frequency out of the way more and more with each filtration pass until it’s barely noticable, but still there. The new dominant frequencies are 97 Hz & 334 Hz. You can see the two new peaks there, but the tiny little bump off to the right is the remains of the original 777 Hz frequency. The final filtration pass was a low-pass filter and I manually sweeped the control around to get the bass tone surges you can hear in the piece.

In other words, that tiny little bump about midway between 500 Hz and 1000 Hz is what is left of the original sine wave from which the towering peaks to the left were derived during the course of Reider’s production.

More on the release (all seven tracks of which are available as a 48.9MB Zip file) at the releasing netlabel,, and at Reider’s website.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comments: 4 ]


  1. Thomas
    [ Posted July 11, 2011, at 5:49 am ]

    Really enjoyed this release!

  2. Guy
    [ Posted July 11, 2011, at 11:23 am ]

    Yep, good stuff – was listening the other week to this. I didn’t realize that’s where the frequencies came from! Nice use of spectral analysis. Also, both good titles – the album and this article.

  3. c. reider
    [ Posted July 11, 2011, at 4:58 pm ]

    Thanks for mentioning this work in Disquiet, Marc!

    I realized sometime after writing you that I think the final pass on “777 Hz” was probably a high-pass filter, not a low-pass. Well, with so many processing iterations it’s easy to get confused! :)

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted July 11, 2011, at 5:03 pm ]

      Thanks for the clarification — and, as always, for sharing your music.

Post a Reply to c. reider Cancel reply

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

  • 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