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Sneak Peek at New Disquiet.com Project: Disquiet Junto

This post wasn’t intended to go live until Tuesday, and there was a chance it wouldn’t be written at all. Yesterday saw the launch of a new communal music project associated with Disquiet.com. It’s called “Disquiet Junto” and it’s hosted over at soundcloud.com.

Here’s how it works: on Friday, which is to say yesterday, January 8, I posted an assignment, an “idea” for a piece of music. A deadline was set for this coming Monday, January 9, at midnight, by which time anyone who wanted to participate would post their own original track that acted on the assignment. The first assignment is:

“Please record the sound of an ice cube rattling in a glass, and make something of it.”

It’s only Saturday evening as I type this, and there are already 51 members of the group, and as of three hours ago a total of 18 completed tracks have been posted, many though not all available for free download. I didn’t know if I’d ever write this post, because I didn’t know if anyone would participate. But participating they are — not only responding in sound to the assignment, but listening to and commenting on each other’s tracks. Collectively, the 18 tracks have been listened to almost 600 times in barely 24 hours, and there are over 70 comments, most from one contributing musician to another. Here’s a stark contrast: the recent Disquiet.com music project Instagr/am/bient has been listened to almost 17,000 times since its launch a week and a half ago, and there have been a total of 31 comments.

The variety of responses to “Disquiet Junto 0001” is just as thrilling as the number of responses is. The idea of making music from the sound of ice in a glass has yielded a very short story from Mark Rushton, some detailed phonography from Mike Bullock, a lovely mix of buggy whirring and gentle melodic phases from My Fun, and subdued funk from Open Heart Sound, just to point out a few.

I have many ideas for things to do as part of Disquiet Junto, and will roll them out in coming weeks. I also have much more to say about where the project comes from, culturally and sonically and socially, but for the moment, let’s let the assembled musicians’ excellent contributions speak for themselves.

Check out the Disquiet Junto page at soundcloud.com.

PS: The word “junto” comes from the name of a society that Benjamin Franklin formed in Philadelphia during the early 1700s as “a structured forum of mutual improvement.” I learned of it while reading, recently, the Franklin biography by Walter Isaacson, who penned the recent Steve Jobs bio. I highly recommend the Franklin book, and Isaacson’s book on Albert Einstein. I have not yet read the Jobs one.

Update: With a little under 40 hours to go before deadline, there were already 24 entries by as many musicians.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , , , / Comment: 1 ]

One Comment

  1. icastico
    [ Posted January 8, 2012, at 1:30 pm ]

    Neat idea.

    Just an FYI for your readers…another communal music project is going on over at aboombong’s bandcamp space (I should have it up on Soundcloud soon as well).

    Details here. http://aboombong.bandcamp.com/album/admixture

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  • 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

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    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
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    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
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  • 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).

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