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

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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Disquiet Junto Project 0020: App Beat

The Assignment: Make a piece of music with the NodeBeat app and one other instrument.

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.

This project marked the 20th week in a row of the Disquiet Junto. I had wanted for some time to employ an app in the projects, since the mobile app is, in many ways, the definition of creative restraint: each app has its own self-contained set of rules and tools, and they don’t inherently play well with each other all that often. The creators of NodeBeat were generous to provide free download codes for iOS users, and it is also available for Android, Blackberry and, in a more limited rendition, Flash. More on the app at nodebeat.com.

The assignment was made late in the day on Thursday, May 17, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, May 21, as the deadline. View a search return for all the entries: disquiet0020-nodebeat. As of this writing, there are 46 tracks associated with the tag.

These are the instructions that went to the participants:

Deadline: Monday, May 21, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Each Disquiet Junto project explores the role that restraints can play as a springboard to creativity and productivity. This specific project explores the inherent creative limits of a mobile app. All participants will employ the same app to complete the project.

Everyone working on this project will use two instruments. One of those instruments will be NodeBeat, an app available for iOS (iPhone, Touch, iPad), for Android, for Blackberry, and as a cross-platform (Flash) implementation. The other will be an instrument of the participant’s choice; this second instrument should fall into the broadly defined category of “traditional” — i.e., a keyboard, a guitar, woodwind, percussion, etc. More on NodeBeat at nodebeat.com.

(Please note: the NodeBeat app is not free, but it is inexpensive, between 99 cents and four dollars, depending on which platform you use. Also, there is a free, though more limited, version for desktop/laptop use. And I also have 25 free codes for the iPhone/Touch and 25 for the iPad, available on a semi-first-come basis, weighted a bit for folks who have already participated in a Junto project. Shoot me an email at [email protected] if you’d like one.)

The project employs three steps:

Step 1: Create a piece of music to your liking in NodeBeat.

Step 2: Record a segment of that music no shorter than 30 seconds and no longer than four minutes.

Step 3: Use that segment as the basis for a track employing one additional instrument.

Additional techniques are certainly allowed, including editing/transformation of the NodeBeat audio and of the second instrument. However, the NodeBeat audio and the second instrument should retain some semblance of recognizability.

Length: Please keep the length of your piece to between two and four minutes.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0020-nodebeat”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 your track, please include this information:

This track employs the app NodeBeat, created by Seth Sandler, Justin Windle, and Laurence Muller. More information on NodeBeat at nodebeat.com.

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/info

The project also included the instructions translated into Turkish and Spanish respectively by M. Emre Meydan and Norma Listman:

Instructions in Turkish:

Disquiet Junto Projesi 0020: App Beat

Talimatlar:

Son Teslim Tarihi: 21 Mayıs pazartesi, 23:59 (bulundugunuz ulkenin saatine gore)

Her Disquiet Junto projesi, kisitlamalarin yaraticilik ve uretkenlik uzerindeki tetikleyici etkilerini kesfetmeye yoneliktir. Bu seferki proje, bir mobil uygulamanin yaratici limitlerini arastiriyor. Tum katilimcilar ayni uygulamayi kullanacaklar.

Bu proje uzerinde calisan herkes iki enstruman kullanacak. Bunlardan ilki NodeBeat adinda bir uygulama – iOS (iPhone, Touch, iPad), Android, Blackberry, ve platformlar-arasi bir Flash uygulamasi versiyonlari mevcut. Diger enstruman ise katilimcinin sectigi bir enstruman olacak, bu ikinci enstrumanin “geleneksel” diyebilecegimiz bir kategoriden olmasi gerekiyor: klavye, gitar, uflemeli calgi, perkusyon vs gibi. Nodebeat hakkinda daha fazla bilgi icin nodebeat.com.

(Nodebeat uygulamasi ucretsiz degil ama ucuz, hangi platformu kullandiginiza bagli olarak fiyati 99cent ile 4 dolar arasinda degisiyor. Ayrica masaustu/laptop bilgisayarlar icin ucretsiz ama daha kisitli bir versiyonu da mevcut. Elimde 25 adet iPhone/Touch icin, 25 adet de iPad icin ucretsiz kod var, bana ilk ulasanlara bu kodlari dagitacagim, onceki Junto projelerine katilmis olanlara oncelik saglanacak. Eger ilgileniyorsaniz bana mail atin: [email protected] )

Bu proje uc asamadan olusuyor:

  1. Adim: NodeBeat uygulamasinda istediginiz gibi bir muzik yaratin.

  2. Adim: Bu muzikten en az 30 saniye, en fazla 4 dakikalik bir bolum kaydedin.

  3. Adim: Yaptiginiz bu kaydin uzerine sectiginiz ikinci enstrumani ekleyin.

Elbette ek teknikler kullanabilirsiniz, bunlara NodeBeat’in ya da ikinci enstrumanin sesini degistirmek/donusturmek de dahil. Fakat NodeBeat ve ikinci enstrumanin sesi taninabilir halde kalmali.

Uzunluk: Lutfen yaptiginiz parcanin uzunlugunu 2-4 dakika arasinda tutun.

Bilgi: Lutfen yaptiginiz parcayi paylasirken, bu parcanin planlama, besteleme ve kayit sureci ile ilgili bilgi de verin.

Isim / Tag: Yaptiginiz parcayi Soundcloud.com’daki Disquiet Junto grubuna eklerken, lutfen “disquiet0020-nodebeat” kelimesini hem parcanin isminde, hem de tag olarak kullanin.

Download: Her zamanki gibi; parcanizin indirilebilir olmasi gerekmiyor, ama oyle olmasi tercih edilir.

Linkler: Yaptiginiz parcayi paylasirken, lutfen su bilgiyi ekleyin:

This track employs the app NodeBeat, created by Seth Sandler, Justin Windle, and Laurence Muller. More information on NodeBeat at nodebeat.com.

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/info

Instructions in Spanish:
Disquiet Junto Proyecto 0020: Aplicación Ritmo

Instrucciones:

Fecha limite: Lunes 21 de Mayo a las 11:59pm del lugar donde te encuentres.

Los proyectos de Disquiet Junto exploran el rol de las restrixiones y como estas son un trampolin hacia la creatividad y la productividad. Este proyecto en particular explora lis limites creativos y los que desemboca una aplicación para telefonos celulares. Todos los participantes deberan usar la misma aplicación.

Todos deberan usar dos instrumentos. Uno de los instrumentos es NodeBeat, una aplicación disponible para iOS (Iphone, Touch o iPad), Andreoides o Blackberrys y para implementar como una plataforma alternativa (Flash). El otro instrumento sera de tu eleccion y debera “caer”dentro de la categiria de tradicional, por ejemplo ”“guitarra, percucion, piano, etc.

Para mas informacion acerca de NodeBeat ve a nodebeat.com.

Favor de tomar en cuenata que NodeBeat no es gratis, sinembago es muy barato de 99 centavos a 4 dolares, dependiendo de la plataforma que uses. Tambien hay una, pero mal limitada que se gratis para computadoras o laptops. Tambien tengo disponibles 25 codigos gratuitos para iPhone/Touch y 25 mas para iPad, e participado en Disquiet Junto antes y se los dare a los primeros en contactarme ([email protected]).

Pasos:

1) Crear una pieza musical usando NodeBeat. 2) Graba un segmento de esa pieza de un minimo de 30 segundos y un maximo de 4 minutos. 3) Usa ese segmento como la base para una nueva pieza, pero ahora agregando un instrumento.

Puedes usar tecnicas adicionales como edicion/transformacion del audio en NodeBeat, asi como de el segundo instrumento. Lo unico que te pedimos es que ambas alteraciones deberan retener semejanza a la pieza original.

Duración: Favor de mantener tu pieza de dos a cuatro minutos.

Información: Incluir una descripcion de tu proceso de planeacion, composicion, y grabacion.

Titulo: Porfavor incluye el termino “disquiet0020-nodebeat”en el titulo de tu track cuando lo subas al grupo Disquiet Junto en Soundcloud.com, tambien usalo como tu tag cuando lo quieras busacar.

Descarga: Es preferible que tu mezcla se pueda descargar, pero no es necesario ( es tu decision).

Enlaces: Cuando subas tu track, por favor incluye la siguiente información:

Esta grabacion usa la aplicación NodeBeat, created by Seth Sandler, Justin Windle y Laurence Muller. Para mas informacion ve a nodebeat.com

Mas informacion en Disquiet Junto:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/info

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Past Week at Twitter.com/Disquiet

  • Make that The 20 Seasons. The first 5 entries are up: http://t.co/lSzme8ob #disquietjunto #
  • It makes sense there’s a @daemonnetwork bot, but I’d expect directions not repetition. in reply to daemonnetwork #
  • “Location 300 of 9005”: the quasi-sisyphean pagination of the ebook #
  • Finally starting reading the third and, sadly, final volume of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series of zombie novels. #
  • Final sentence of form letter I use when replying to music PR: “And yes, this is a form letter, as is most of the PR I receive.” #
  • Café cashier probably didn’t know my sonic predilections before he asked me this riddle. Q: What gets broken when you speak? A: The silence. #
  • In the future we will spell spoilers with asterisks, just like the name of Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in LA Story. #
  • The @soundcloud podcast about Disquiet projects — Junto, Instagr/am/bient, LX(RMX) — has passed 15,000 listens: http://t.co/m6zfyHoE #
  • Not a speaker. (But some sort of infrastructure exhalation was audible.) http://t.co/w40jXJHD #
  • Catching up on Person of Interest. Digging how “room tone” plays central role in the episode titled “The Fix.” #

Read more »

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Disquiet Junto Project 0021: 4 Seasons

The Assignment: Create a piece with one field recording representing each of the four seasons.

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.

Disquiet Junto activity really took off in advance of the mid-April concert in Chicago, and as a result I’ve fallen behind in two particular aspects: one is getting instructions to translators in advance of the projects’ start date; the other is post-project summaries. Instead of doing these summaries after the projects are complete, I’m going to experiment with creating a post here coincident with the launch of a new project, and occasionally update it throughout the project’s development. A new project launched today, this being a Thursday, and it will run through 11:59pm this coming Monday.

There’s a number of interesting projects coming up in the Disquiet Junto series: music + 1, animation, the blues, recycling, water, instrument construction, storytelling, and the 100th anniversaries of the births of both John Cage and Conlon Nancarrow are among the forthcoming themes. But before moving forward, it’s good to take a glance in the rearview mirror. For the 21st project we’re revisiting several distinct previous themes, this time in combination; among them are original field recordings, sonic transitions, and shared samples.

The assignment was made late in the day on Thursday, May 24, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, May 28, as the deadline. View a search return for all the entries: disquiet0011-4seasons. (They will take a little while to populate.)

These are the instructions that went to the participants. To receive them via email each Thursday, sign up at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto:

Disquiet Junto Project 0021: 4 Seasons Instructions: Deadline: Monday, May 28, at 11:59pm wherever you are. For this project you will employ four distinct samples. Each sample will individually represent one of the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter. You will either construct your own field recordings to represent these seasons, or you will use the following provided samples: Spring: Birdsong http://www.freesound.org/people/HerbertBoland/sounds/28312/ Summer: Thunder http://www.freesound.org/people/Erdie/sounds/23222/ Autumn: Walking in dry leaves http://www.freesound.org/people/HerbertBoland/sounds/33207/ Winter: Walking in the snow http://www.freesound.org/people/Spandau/sounds/30833/ Once you have collected your four samples, you will construct one single track from them. The track will be between two and four minutes in length. Each of the four seasonal samples will be highlighted in sequence for one quarter the length of your track, and there should be discernible transitions between the four segments — that is to say, each sample/season should slowly transform into the next. The underlying sonic bed should be constructed only from the four samples in combination — and in that role, they can be transformed as much as you desire. There should be no additional sounds. While a given sample is in the foreground (that is, during its prominent quarter of the overall track) it should remain at least somewhat recognizable. Length: Please keep the length of your piece to between two and four minutes. Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0021-4seasons”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 your track, please include this information: If you use any of the four provided samples, please include the source link as reference (per the Creative Commons agreement). More details on the Disquiet Junto at: http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/tracks

The image up top shows Vivaldi, composer of the original The Four Seasons.

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Using the Guitar (MP3)

Yasuo Akai makes much of a familiar six-string device

Yasuo Akai‘s “Short Piece for Guitar” is not particularly short, at nearly five minutes, but the “for guitar” part is worth meditating on. The piece is, in fact, for guitar, which is a clarification necessary for those familiar with Akai’s often technologically enabled work. “Short Piece for Guitar” is also, truly, a “piece”: It’s less a song than it is a piece of musical narrative, working through varied sequences, the momentum always pushing ahead: there’s an opening that pits the slow development of a melody against a rhythmic thrumming, there’s the later emergence of a finger-plucked theme resounding amid attenuated hums, and there’s an extended coda of now familiar material that seems brighter than it had been the first time around. We can hear this as a composition, as a carefully navigated solo exploration halfway between sketch and song, or we can ponder its status as structure-informed improvisation, as something that might have been played on the fly and been lent form only by the fact of its recording and whatever mental processes Akai brought to it during its performance. (Side note: I’d be surprised, and even more impressed, if this did turn out to have been wholly improvised.) But it’s better yet still to hear the guitar piece amid Akai’s other work, like his clockwork explorations of tone and rudimentary drum machine, or his transformations of field recordings, or his “wobbly” sampling of Bach. It’s best to listen to this with the guitar considered as a piece of technology itself, pushed in subtle manners: the resonating strings resembling industrial hums, the layered note patterns bringing to mind multitrack recording. The instrument may be in service of delivering the music to the listener’s ear, but the music is in service of exploring the inherent potential of the device on which it is played. “Short Piece for Guitar”is music expressly for, certifiably from, the guitar. And what could be more technological than that?

Piece originally posted at soundcloud.com/yasuoakai.

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Dub Techno vs. Dubtechno

One fine track, two remote genre typology variations

The wndfrm track titled “Further” lists itself on soundcloud.com as playing at the intersection of four vaguely defined genres: “dub techno,” “ambient,” “fieldrecording,” and “dubtechno,” in that sequence. Perhaps that is three genres, not four, since the absence of a space is all that distinguishes two of them. The doubling up on these two slight variations on dub techno speaks to the desire for category association that informs much activity on SoundCloud, the hope on a musician’s part that a given individual track will, amid those posted on and listened to on the service’s some 10 millions (yes, 10 million) accounts, find its appropriate audience. As with the fly in the typewriter in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, a simple missing character can threaten to lead to the divergence of two entire realms of listening — or at least be felt to. The emphasis that wndfrm has put on dub techno, the effort to assure that both variations are applied, isn’t just in the track’s favor; it’s in dub techno’s favor. It raises the subgenre’s aspirations. Much dub techno is simply the two things combined: voluminious reverberations amid, or put upon, the somewhat dulled clang of electronic percussion. But “Further” is a welcome melding. The techno, to begin with, is severely muted, the percussion little more than an insistent shuffle and beading background pulses, and thus the dub is less a matter of those beats themselves echoing, and more a generous space in which the minimalism plays out. Arguably, the song “Further” is closer to “dubtechno” than to “dub techno” in that it is a conscientious amalgam.

The embedding feature on SoundCloud isn’t working at the moment, but the track is available for streaming and free download at soundcloud.com/wndfrm. More on wndfrm, aka Tim Westcott of Portland, Oregon, at twitter.com/wndfrm.

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