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

  • December and January are the only two months of the year when no one sends out emails about what they (1) are going to do / (2) did at SXSW. #
  • Dear Hive: Any good simple OS X database applications? Bento’ been getting less-than-stellar reviews. (Trying to track Junto participation.) #
  • “The faintest sound, whatever it is, / Seems to be speaking to me.” -Fernando Pessoa #
  • “If I could only wrest from music the secret / Timbre of its shout” -Fernando Pessoa #
  • Was not aware there would be Amon Tobin in Pina until I was watching it. #
  • 20 tracks in Junto 7 in under 24 hours on @soundcloud. Lesson: narrower the rules, more varied the approaches. #oulipo #
  • Kudos to Dave Grohl for clarifying his Grammy spiel: “Electronic or acoustic, it doesn’t matter to me.” And long live two-inch tape. #
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Disquiet Junto Project 0006: “Spinning Cylinders”

The Assignment: Make something new from antique Edison recordings.

Each Thursday evening at the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership to the Junto is open: just join and participate.

The sixth Junto project was another shared-sample situation, but not all shared-sample situations are the same. They each use the shared sample, or samples, to different ends. In some cases, the musician is left to his or her own devices, so to speak, as to what they elect to do with the sample. In others, not only are the musicians restricted to specific pre-existing sounds, they are restricted in regard to what they can do with them. (This is especially true of the project that followed 0006, project “0007-subtract,” more on which when it is complete.)

In this sixth Junto project, the musicians were provided three public-domain recordings and told they could only use them — and, furthermore, they were to select just one element from each of the tracks and combine them. The audio comes from if not the dawn of recording, then certainly when it was still early morning: the sound is all from Edison cylinders from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.

The assignment was made late in the day on Thursday, February 9, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, February 13, as the deadline. View a search return for all the entries: disquiet0006-cylinder. As of this writing, there are 58 tracks associated with the tag.

Here are the instructions that were presented to members of the Disquiet Junto:

Disquiet Junto Project 0006: “Spinning Cylinders” Plan: The sixth Junto project is a shared-samples project, in which the participants all work from the same exact sonic resources. Select one distinct element from each of the three following recordings and construct something new from them. (Do not add any other sounds, though certainly use any sorts of processing that you might choose.) All three tracks are archival songs originally released on antique Edison cylinders in the late 1800s and very early 1900s. Their rich surface noise is arguably as much a part of the recordings as is the music they contain. http://www.archive.org/details/colnyp-15132 http://www.archive.org/details/edba-3871 http://www.archive.org/details/ind-986 Length: Keep your finished piece to between two and five minutes. Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0006-cylinder”in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track. Download: As always, you don’t have to set your track for download, but it would be preferable. Linking: When you post the track, please include this information: All audio selected from these antique cylinder recordings: http://www.archive.org/details/colnyp-15132 http://www.archive.org/details/edba-3871 http://www.archive.org/details/ind-986 More details on the Disquiet Junto at: http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

The results varied widely, which is not only natural, but the point. For some participants, the sounds of the cylinders were subsumed into a drone haze of their own imagination. In others, the selected sounds were given the spotlight — but even then, variety meant that some musicians focused on the more self-evidently musical material in the original cylinders, while others embraced the rough noises inherent in the ancient technology.

One particularly great thing that occurred this week was that the Discussion section got more active, thanks to a query, by Brian Biggs, about what exactly constitutes a “remix.”

(Photo via Creative Commons from flickr.com.)

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Comments: Open Discussion

Just a minor announcement. Comments on this site no longer require approval by the moderator.

You enter your comment and hit “Post Comment” and that’s it. Well, that’s not quite it. There is a little arithmetic question you’ll need to answer. That’s one of at least three layers of spam protection. The other two layers are automated. Such is life on the Internet.

The moderation of comments on this site never had anything to do with concern about the content of those comments. It was entirely related to an absurd amount of spam that hammers the site, but that — thanks to the efforts of the fine firm futurepruf.com — has been brought under control.

Of course, if a comment is deemed inappropriate, it will be deleted. What is inappropriate? Things that are racist, sexist, or otherwise defamatory or offensive, or that are ridiculously and willfully off-topic — or, of course, actual spam. Please don’t be aggressively antagonistic: discussion is welcome; fighting is not. Also to be deleted: self-promoting comments that are really just generic links elsewhere. (If you want your release or project considered for review or other coverage, please read this: “Submission Guidelines.”)

The staggered virtual conversation with readers has been a great thing, and the fact that it can now occur in something more closely approximating real time makes me hopeful for even better ongoing discussion.

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LX(RMX) / Lisbon Remixed

Sounds of the city reconstructed by 8 (or 16?) musicians inspired by Álvaro de Campos, a heteronym of Fernando Pessoa

Featuring music by Steve Roden (aka In be tween noise), Pedro Tudela (aka Johnny Days), Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner), Kate Carr (aka The Frigatebird), Shawn Kelly (aka Y?Arcka), Marielle V. Jakobsons (aka darwinsbitch), Paula Daunt (aka Agnosie), and João Ricardo (aka OCP), all working from a shared set of sounds collected and constructed by Elvis Veiguinha. Veiguinha’s field recordings originally served as the score for an installation of photos of modern urban Lisbon by Jorge Colombo.

. . . . .

. . . . .

The full album is available for free download as a Zip file of MP3s, and as individual files, at freemusicarchive.org.

A 16-page PDF including images from the exhibit of Jorge Colombo’s photographs, Lisbon Revisited, that inspired this project is available for free download from archive.org.

Below are a handful of those photographs. More on the exhibit at jorgecolombo.com/lr.

. . . . .

Heteronyms Reconsidered

Unlike Walt Whitman, Fernando Pessoa may not have contained multitudes, but he had a tidy set of alter-egos. He wrote under a variety of names, each with a unique biography and aesthetic. These alter-egos are referred to as “heteronyms,” and among them was Álvaro de Campos, whose poetry inspired Jorge Colombo’s photography exhibit, Lisbon Revisited, which in turn inspired this compilation album.

Heteronyms–in the form of pseudonyms and monikers–are commonplace in electronically manipulated music. Matters of identity are routinely amplified and distorted by various factors: by the semi-anonymity inherent in online communities, by the rampant splintering of genre taxonomy, by the manner in which authorship is complicated by reliance on third-party (and often emerging) technology, by the prevalence of sampling and remixing.

In tribute to Pessoa and Campos, eight electronic musicians were commissioned to explore the sounds of the city of Lisbon, as well as the creative opportunity inherent in the concept of the heteronym. The eight musicians and their eight adopted heteronyms each took a single shared sound source and created from it sixteen new audio works. The shared sound source is an ambient soundtrack of field recordings of urban Lisbon created by Elvis Veiguinha for the installation exhibit of Colombo’s photographs. This project gave each participating musician the opportunity to explore not only the sounds of the city, but also their own internalized multiple viewpoints.

Marc Weidenbaum disquiet.com/lx-rmx

. . . . .

Hometown Revisited

In January 2009–just a few weeks before I started finger-painting NYC on an iPhone–my exhibition Lisbon Revisited opened at Casa Fernando Pessoa, a museum in Lisbon, Portugal. Based on the early 20th century poems by Portuguese poet Pessoa (writing under the name Álvaro de Campos), the show consisted of Lisbon photographs of mine in which I tried to forget all personal associations and memories of my hometown, focusing instead (like Pessoa/Campos, a fervent futurist who worshipped the splendors of Progress) on the most contemporary, most technological, most globalized aspects of my hometown. I shot today’s Lisbon like Campos would have, were he not a fictional poet stuck in he 1920s.

The exhibition’s soundtrack was created by Elvis Veiguinha, a Portuguese sound artist, music producer, and filmmaker, who used his recordings of Lisbon’s aural atmosphere. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Disquiet’s Marc Weidenbaum has been forever perceiving Pessoa as a 21st century artist who happens to be have been dead since 1935. Veiguinha’s soundtrack became the natural link to revisit Pessoa’s Lisbon through the more recent vocabulary of remixing.

Jorge Colombo jorgecolombo.com/lr

. . . . .

Track Listing

  1. “i’m wrapped by it as by a fog” by Steve Roden (aka In be tween noise)
  2. “i have in me like a haze” by In be tween noise (aka Steve Roden)
  3. “Falha” by Pedro Tudela (aka Johnny Days)
  4. “RYLY” by Johnny Days (aka Pedro Tudela)
  5. “Marginal Notes” by Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner)
  6. “A Heart Wound Like Clockwork” by Scanner (aka Robin Rimbaud)
  7. “Sing, Sing On for No Reason” by Kate Carr (aka The Frigatebird)
  8. “Noone Wonders What Lies Beyond My Local River” by the Frigatebird (aka Kate Carr)
  9. “The Magic in the Music” by Shawn Kelly (aka Y?Arcka)
  10. “A Working Plain” by Y?Arcka (aka Shawn Kelly)
  11. “the squealing of rats and the squeaking of boards” by Marielle V Jakobsons (aka darwinsbitch)
  12. “last remnants of a final illusion” by darwinsbitch (aka Marielle V Jakobsons)
  13. “In Praise of Absurdity” by Paula Daunt (aka Agnosie)
  14. “Prelude for a Lost Disguise” by Agnosie (aka Paula Daunt)
  15. “Paz” by João Ricardo (aka OCP)
  16. “Desassossego” by OCP (aka João Ricardo)
  17. “Original Installation Field Recordings” by Elvis Veiguinha

. . . .

More About the Contributors

Steve Roden & In be tween noise: inbetweennoise.com

Pedro Tudela & Johnny Days: pedrotudela.org

Robin Rimbaud & Scanner: scannerdot.com

Kate Carr & The Frigatebird: soundcloud.com/katecarr

Shawn Kelly & Y?Arcka: arckatron.us

Marielle V. Jakobsons & darwinsbitch: mariplasma.com

Paula Daunt & Agnosie: pauladaunt.com

João Ricardo & OCP: ocp.pt.vu

Elvis Veiguinha: vimeo.com/elvisveiguinha

. . . .

A Disquiet.com Project February 2012

Commissioned by Marc Weidenbaum

Audio Assistance by Taylor Deupree

Photography/Jorge Colombo

Design/BoonDesign.com

This release is licensed/ Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0).

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White Noise Goes the Distance (MP3)

"The entire distant range of the broadcast radius becomes an instrument or an organism."

The track’s waveform is a long dark band of singularly rectangular dimensions. The top and bottom of the wave seem perfectly horizontal. If you blow it up in your browser, it looks like the cityscape from the video game Canabalt as seen in its entirety from across a vast distance. The track is titled “Distant,” and it’s by Damon Loren Baker, who in the work is exploring various aspects of white noise (hence the image, reproduced above, that accompanies the track on the website of Radius, the great podcast that distributed it).

From Baker’s description, the white noise that “Distant” appears to consist of isn’t in fact the original recording itself, but the effect of that recording when broadcast. Here is his description in detail:

Distant consists of white noise and sine waves that are beyond the range of most adults’ hearing. They are arranged carefully in chosen phrase relationships amongst signals that are completely inaudible and have no apparent effect on the final sound. However, when broadcast using a radio transmitter (ideally a low power one, the lower fidelity and power the better) those phrase relationships become mangled by the interaction of the broadcast with the environment it fills and activates. When the listener is too close to the signal, the subtleties between the phrase relationships are lost. When too far, the subtleties become inaudible. However, when somewhere between near and far, the garbling of the transmission creates pulses and tones from the creative and destructive interference caused by the reflected signal and the collapse of the stereo image.  The entire distant range of the broadcast radius becomes an instrument or an organism. Distant is the breath that brings this organism to life; the act of tuning in and listening to the piece forms it into sound.

Track originally posted for free download and streaming at soundcloud.com/radius-8 and theradius.tumblr.com. More from Baker at twitter.com/damonlorenbaker.

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