My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Past Week at Twitter.com/Disquiet

  • The SSD fridge: http://t.co/lIKR64Tf (courtesy of @debcha) #
  • New generative sound app/project from @earslap, creator of Otomata: http://t.co/8tNIYsLZ It’s called Circuli. #
  • “SSD fridge” pluses/minuses. RT @atlastop: @disquiet what really fast at freezing things, but never enough space to fit all your stuff? #
  • René Margraff replied to my SSD/fridge comment: “Do you really want a fridge with very little storage space for a high price?” #
  • Wondering if someone would, please, release the SSD equivalent of a refrigerator. #
  • Quak channels Reich’s “It’s Gonna Rain” & Hopper takes “breathless” approach to Junto 8 (Benjamin Franklin remix): http://t.co/lSzqLIp5 #
  • 7 sentences from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography have been chopped and screwed so far in the 8th Disquiet Junto: http://t.co/lSzqLIp5 #
  • Cannot remember the last time I typed www. #
  • Read more »
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The Data of the Buddha (MP3)

The first edition of the drone box gets a late-model remake.

Early on in “Pure Buddha Data,” a recent piece of music by Stephen Stamper, a four-note riff comes briefly into sonic view. The fourth of the notes is so subdued that it might not even exist. That final note trails off into the lush ringing field that is the majority of the work, a thick lawn amid which the riff occasionally blooms. The brief melody is not dissimilar to the theme from the Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, those Morse-like tones with which aliens and humans find a common if rudimentary language by employing math transformed into music. In the movie, the music is harmonically sound, which lends the meeting the air of good will.

The notes in Stamper’s piece will be familiar to anyone who has turned on the first of the Buddha Machines. It is a rare melodic moment from the device, designed by the duo FM3 to emit swaying drones and drone-like effluence until its batteries run out. In the brief note appended to the track, Stamper mentions that the sounds we’re hearing are “A first generation FM3 Buddha Machine left to run through my Pure Data performance patch.” (Pure Data is the name of a graphic programming environment.) That patch appears to be the same software process that he employed in the production of a recent contribution he made to the Disquiet Junto project, when the collective remixed a track off the recent Marcus Fischer album, Collected Dust:

Listening to both tracks is to let the mind slowly reverse engineer what it is, exactly — well, more to the point, inexactly — Stamper’s patch is doing. It isn’t a destructo approach. It’s more of a thickening and quickening agent. It speeds up the material in a manner that it loops back on itself, accruing layers into a sonorous denseness that, somehow, doesn’t fully lose the gentle qualities of the original source material.

Both tracks originally posted at soundcloud.com/bitsnibblesbytes. More on Stamper, who is based in London, at bitsnibblesbytes.wordpress.com and twitter.com/bitnibblebyte.

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Notes for 02.22

A 222-word essay for Cory Allen and Marcus Fischer's 02.22 birthday collaboration

This is a short essay I wrote at the invitation of musicians Cory Allen and Marcus Fischer to accompany their new split single, Two / Twenty Two. The single was released today, February 22, which happens to also be both of their birthdays. In keeping with the theme, the essay has 222 words.

02.22

The Internet is a congruity engine. The ceaseless churn of online databases aligns any two or more things found to have in common any one thing.

Cities with similar names require clarification from mapping systems. Faces of people with similar names appear together in image searches, forcibly conflated into one extended family.

Congruity is especially powerful regarding individuals with the same birthday. Factors such as seasonal attributes and development relative to classmates are widely accepted to explain perceived similarities between individuals otherwise born years, even centuries, apart.

‘Two / Twenty Two’ by Cory Allen and Marcus Fischer occurred because the two musicians acted on their shared February 22 birthday. Both live in cities considered artistic outposts in otherwise rustic states (Allen: Austin, Texas; Fischer: Portland, Oregon), both have professional experience in visual design, and both explore gentle sonic psychedelics that bring texture to what might otherwise be termed ambient. All coincidence, certainly.

Allen and Fischer stacked the deck in congruity’s favor by providing each other with a set of samples from which to devise new music. The result is two rough fragile recordings. They have the burnish of delicate objects that survived significant tumult. As for the tremulous piano in track two, perhaps it’s a nod to Chopin, who was, according to various databases tracking such things, also born on February 22.

Marc Weidenbaum disquiet.com

These are the two tracks:

The split single is a hallowed tradition, but all too often is just an opportunity for two bands to appear together. I remember purchasing the Nirvana / Jesus Lizard single (19 years ago last Wednesday, February 15, an online database tells me) and being disappointed that, well, it was “just two songs”; the subjects of the single’s cover art, a Malcolm Bucknall painting titled “Old Indian and White Poodle,” interacted more than the songs did, in that the poodle puts a hand (hand, not paw) on the shoulder of the Indian. A year later, Mudhoney and Jimmie Dale Gilmore did it right when they covered each other’s songs on a Sub Pop 7″ (18 years ago next Thursday, March 1). Those are just two contrasting examples among many. The beauty of the Allen-Fischer project is that both songs are the efforts of both individuals working together but separately, leaving it to the listener to tease out, to wonder, who did what.

Get the full Two / Twenty Two release, for $2.22, at twotwentytwo.bandcamp.com. More on Allen at cory-allen.com. More on Fischer at mapmap.ch.

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Music for Koto, Pitch Pipe, and Samplers (MP3)

A collaboration between Oakland, California's Subnaught and Gretchen Jude

Don’t listen for the koto or the pitch pipe. No doubt they are in there, but asking where, exactly, is to go down a deep sonic rabbit hole. The “there” in question is a 15-minute collaboration between Gretchen Jude and Subnaught, each of whom brought one of those two instruments, along with a sampler, to the session. The result is a resounding and extended thrum, sometimes sedate as newly roused cicadas, at times like an autobahn heard from the distance through a thick mass of trees, often resembling what the BBC Radiophonic Workshop taught several generations to recognize as the imminent appearance of unidentified flying objects. No doubt the string and wind instruments provide rich resonance, but in the samplers they are pushed until the result is closer to a bellows instrument, an impression reinforced by the undulating sine wave that seems to run through the full performance.

The track’s tags helpfully identify the samplers as being of both the software (Bidule) and hardware (Roland SP-404) variety. Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/subnaught. More on Subnaught at subnaught.org, and on Jude at gretchenjude.weebly.com.

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Automation’s Rigorous Verve

More than anything, some of the stronger tracks on Enko‘s Woods Moons, those earlier in the 14-track set, bring to mind the off-kilter rhythms of the band Battles at its most approachable, situations in which rock’n’roll is reduced to a shuddering husk, less feral than high-strung, less angry than anxious — and also situations that are enduringly electronic, whether inherently or associatively, with a rich dependence on automation’s rigorous verve and industrial’s manic momentum. The parallel is somewhat confusing, since Woods Moons appears to be the work of an individual, not a band — which is to say, if Battles was a band imitating broken machines, then Enko appears to be an individual using a machine to resemble such a band. Nonetheless, however it was recorded, the mix of jerky percussion and striated guitar on “Stouk” (MP3) and of glitchy dance rhythms on “IOE320” (MP3) make much of this record something to be reckoned with.

[audio:http://www.archive.org/download/bp064/01_-_Enko_-_Stouk.mp3|titles=”Stouk”|artists=Enko]

[audio:http://www.archive.org/download/bp064/03_-_Enko_-_IOE320.mp3|titles=”IOE320″|artists=Enko]

Not all of the album is post-punk angularity. “Jaguar S” could be a track off a late-1970s or early-1980s Robert Fripp album. And there is also a cover of the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

Get the full set at archive.org. Enko is the moniker employed by Enkolf Kitler, who was born in the Ukraine and currently lives in Moscow. Released on the excellent bp.bai-hua.org netlabel, whose impressively old-school website is worth a visit.

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