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Monthly Archives: December 2012

With a Blip

This is how the year ends.

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The year ends with not a bang or a whimper, but a blip. There are four blips, in fact: two pairs of the same tone, two low, two high, and they alternate to suggest a seesaw effect. There’s a gap between the pairs and this lends the decidedly electronic affair something that nonetheless might be suggestive of swing. The blips are at relative ease, their pacing slow, even if the overall recording is just 15 seconds in length. They’re best experienced as a loop, which adds a third beep: the seam that marks the slight incongruity between repetitions. And then there’s the light noise of foundation that permeates the space in which their transit takes place, sound that seems to be as if the blips themselves are heard coming into view and just as efficiently exiting it, the sonic equivalent of headlights and vapor trails. The recording is the latest in the innovative GIFBites series, in which each recorded MP3 is intended as the score to a pre-existing GIF image, in this case the nostalgic Pong image shown above.

Track originally posted at for free download at soundcloud.com/gifbites. There’s a bit more about the project at its homepage, gifbites.com.

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DJ Shadow Posts Sample Live Set

The Miami fallout moves from words to audio

Since the DJ Shadow brouhaha earlier this month (see: “DJ Shadow cuts short Miami club set”), when the beat innovator refused to alter his set at the request of a club promoter, one with good reason may have been wondering what, exactly, Shadow even sounds like these days. It’s been a long 16 years since his Endtroducing….. album put him on the map, with its abstract yet populist approach to rhythm and sampling. After the recent Miami situation, words were traded in the press, with Shadow (aka Joshua Davis) seeming more pleased at the attention than perturbed, and the club eventually apologizing. Shadow has gone a step further now, and posted on his SoundCloud account a 45-minute set from July. Abstract, it isn’t, but as a beat-heavy and slick, seamless survey of several crates worth of varied source material, it’s certain fun — and more than anything, it makes the club look really, really silly:

Oh, and if you’re wondering what exactly made the club promoter anxious, it was reportedly “Spit Thunder” by Netherlands-based Krampfhaft:

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Live Marcus Fischer Recording (MP3)

From a concert earlier this month

Marcus Fischer has posted a brief, elegant excerpt of a recent live performance, a solo work whose threadbare quality hides an intense array of details. As he explains in a brief accompanying note, even the underlying whir was the result of trial and error: “you can hear the pulsating buzz of snare drums throughout this recording. i was able to hit the right resonant notes to vibrate the drum heads along with the music. the it was something i had thought about playing around with and the result was really satisfying. i would love to play in that room again and try to make use of more of the drums natural resonant qualities.”

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/mapmap. More on the piece at unrecnow.com.

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Past Week at Twitter.com/Disquiet

  • Well, that's a hassle. The auto-Twitter post plugin Twitter Digest worked the first week, didn't the second. Shouldn't be this complicated. ->
  • Today's productivity powered by OPT COMMAND â—„ â–º in VLC. ->
  • RIP, Lee Dorman (b. 1942), bassist on proto-drone rock classic "In-A-Gadda-De-Vida" by Iron Butterfly:… ->
  • Morning sounds: sleeping toddler's steady breathing, percussion of rain against the windows ->
  • Holiday music I can get behind: "Silent Night" covered by Scanner and by Robert Fripp: http://t.co/W9YmZqkI ->
  • "My phone is silent, hella silent." Overheard at Target. ->
  • RIP, Mike Scaccia (b. 1965), guitarist (Ministry, Rigor Mortis). Reportedly seizure due to strobe light. http://t.co/3sf2zzSY ->
  • And on Sunday, December 23, 2012, Marc Weidenbaum ceased capitalizing the "t" in t-shirts, though he retained the hyphen. ->
  • 25 musicians have produced 60-second audio journals of 2012: https://t.co/T79e44JI. Do consider joining in. Deadline is Monday, 11:59pm. ->
  • This horrendous cover of "Cecilia" has stumped Google's song identifier software. Or, more likely, simply fried the code. ->
  • I'm not at Jump Festa, but "Tokyo Dawn" by @naotko reminded me of waking early to watch kids disembark in Chiba: https://t.co/z2FnPwrv ->
  • Part of the point of @djunto is it's dependably there if you have time, so there will indeed be a 52nd project on Thursday: netlabel remix. ->
  • At café writing before holiday dinner. Yesterday's crazy lady not here today. Haunted by what she said: "I make money by confessing my sins" ->
  • Read more »
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The (First) 52 Weeks of the Disquiet Junto

From ice in a glass to dirty minimalism to netlabel remixes – and onward

Right now, around the planet, musicians are at work on the 52nd weekly project in the Disquiet Junto series. The projects began on the first Thursday of 2012 with a simple request: take the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it. The response was strong enough to suggest the projects be announced weekly, and that in turn has led to almost 1,700 tracks by almost 280 active contributors, and to concerts in 4 cities around the United States. The 52nd, in which three tracks from the Bump Foot netlabel are being combined into one original work, is due, fittingly, one minute before midnight on New Year’s Eve — that’s 11:59pm wherever you are. The Junto will continue into 2013, right on schedule, with a new project next Thursday, January 3. Here is a recap of the projects from year one of the Disquiet Junto:

1: ice cubes ”¢ 2: duet for foghorn and steam whistle ”¢ 3: expanded glass harp ”¢ 4: remixing Marcus Fischer ”¢ 5: adding sounds to everyday life ”¢ 6: remixing archival Edison cylinders ”¢ 7: create through subtraction ”¢ 8: rework Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography ”¢ 9: cross-species collaboration ”¢ 10: remix a previous Junto track ”¢ 11: everyday mechanical rhythms ”¢ 12: cut and paste ”¢ 13: remixing wild Up playing Shostakovich ”¢ 14: sonic version of Matt Madden’s Oubapo story ”¢ 15: aural RGB ”¢ 16: sandpaper and dice ”¢ 17: transition between field and composed ”¢ 18: relative prominence ”¢ 19: graphic score (photo by Yojiro Imasaka) ”¢ 20: use the NodeBeat app ”¢ 21: the four seasons ”¢ 22: sonic decay ”¢ 23: palindrone ”¢ 24: a suite of sonic alerts ”¢ 25: remixing project 24 ”¢ 26: making music from your trash ”¢ 27: turm the instruction text into sound ”¢ 28: remix a netlabel release ”¢ 29: music from water, inspired by William Gibson’s Count Zero ”¢ 30: sounds from silence ”¢ 31: Revisiting a 1955 Yoko Ono Fluxus piece ”¢ 32: sonify the 2012 U.S. presidential election polling data ”¢ 33: making music with a turntable but without vinyl ”¢ 34: Use the theme song of the Radius broadcast as the source of an original composition ”¢ 35: Make music from a sample page of Beck’s Song Reader sheet music ”¢ 36: Reworking Bach into abstract expressionism ”¢ 37: The sound of commerce ”¢ 38: Make a fake field recording ”¢ 39: Combine three tracks from the Nowaki netlabel into one ”¢ 40: Turn a Kenneth Kirschner duet into a trio ”¢ 41: Dirty minimalism ”¢ 42: Record a “naive melody” with your oldest and newest instruments> ”¢ 43: Make mechanical roars from the sound of a retail space ”¢ 44: Transition from storm to calm using field recordings from Sandy 2012 ”¢ 45: Combine material from the public domain adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Tom Sawyer ”¢ 46: Investigate a recording of the voting process for its “sonic fingerprint.” ”¢ 47: Turn the muffled voices of a distant party into the foundation of a recording. ”¢ 48: Celebrate the Creative Commons license that allows for derivative works by remixing music from the Three Legs Duck netlabel. ”¢ 49: Make a track, 50% of which is the sound of a tape cassette deck in motion. ”¢ 50: Encode a word or phrase in Morse Code and employ that as a track’s rhythm. ”¢ 51: Create a 2012 audio diary with a dozen five-second segments. ”¢ 52: Celebrate the Creative Commons by remixing three tracks from the Bump Foot netlabel.

More on the Junto at its soundcloud.com page.

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  • about

  • 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.
    • 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 (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • 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 oup.com.)

  • 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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    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.

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  • 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.

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