The Cicada as Gadget Muse (MP3)

Getting in digital touch with nature's white-noise machine

How better to connect with, to express, the sonic automata that is the cicada than with a piece of equipment that plays by itself? The track “cicada.pch” takes its name from the insect whose collective, hoard-strengthened whirring is an inspiration to white-noise musicians. The sounds of “cicada.pch,” developed by frequent SoundCloud contributor Analogue01, aka Karl Fousek, barely touch on the familiar cicada noise. It is there more as background, a sheer static, than as focal material. In place of that sound is a loop of light rattling, elegant bits of microsonic percussion. According to a brief liner note, the piece was recorded as a “[s]elf-playing patch” on the Nord Modular G1. It is, in other words, a generative work, a system that emits sound, not unlike a small cloud of insectoid life.

Track originally posted for free download at More from Fousek, who is based in Montreal, Canada, at

Cues: BLDG Notes, (33 1/3), Facebook Alarmism, …

Plus: Water music, C. Reider on derivative licenses


â—¼ Faulty Notation: The 73rd weekly Disquiet Junto project was a collaboration with Geoff Manaugh of BLDG BLOG. The Junto participants read segments of a map of the San Andreas Fault as if they were individual scores intended as graphic notation. In a post at his site, Manaugh discusses how the project corresponded with a course he taught this past semester at the architecture graduate school of Columbia University. The above image is an “architectural ‘instrument’ for the San Andreas Fault, designed and fabricated by student David Hecht.” More from Hecht at

â—¼ Parenthetical Remarks: “So when Sigur Rós releases an album of songs sung in meaningless phonemes and abstract vocalizations, they don’t do so in a vacuum, but are part of an artistic tradition. I hope to locate the album in that tradition, and show where its aesthetics converge and, perhaps more interestingly, diverge from those of its predecessors.” That’s Ethan Hayden talking about his in-progress 33 1/3 book on the album () by Sigur Rós: More from the author, also a composer/performer, at (I’m currently writing a book in the same series. Mine is on Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II.)

â—¼ FACE Time: “The chord is an F Major 7 (Fmaj7), which means it is composed of four notes: F, A, C, and E. That the perfect ping sound also spelled FACE was a ‘serendipitous discovery.'” That’s Alexis Madrigal writing about the recent alert tones on

â—¼ Water Music: A website that plays nothing but the sound of rain — well, rain and thunder:, via

â—¼ Vuzh Feed: There’s a lengthy and in-depth podcast interview with frequent Disquiet Junto participant C. Reider, of the Vuzh Music and netlabels, at Among other topics, it covers the meaning of “experimental” music and the benefits of a Creative Commons license allowing for derivative works. He, er, also says some nice things about this site (MP3).

Disquiet Junto Project 0074: Applause Rousing

The Assignment: Turn applause into music.


Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on 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 in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, May 30, 2013, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, June 3, as the deadline.

Below are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0074: Applause Rousing

This week’s project takes the response to a music performance and makes music out of it. Specifically, we’ll be using a recording of applause as the source material for an original piece of music. These are the steps:

Step 1: Download the 16-second recording of applause at this URL:

Step 2: Listen to it closely, to get a sense of its pace, timbre, tone, etc.

Step 3: Record yourself applauding for 10 seconds, keeping in mind how your own applause relates to the recording from step 1 above.

Step 4: Create a piece of music with the following structure:

i: For the first 5 seconds we should only hear the applause from step 1, unadulterated.

ii: At the 5-second mark, introduce your own applause, also unadulterated, alongside the continuing applause from step 1.

iii: At the 10-second mark, begin to loop and transform the recording of your applause into something more sonically interesting and musical. Do not yet alter the applause from step 1; just let that applause continue to play as is.

iv: At the 15-second mark, just as the recording from step 1 is about to end, begin to loop and transform it into something more sonically interesting and musical.

v: For the remainder of your piece, continue to loop and rework the two recordings of applause into a composition of your own making. Do not add any other elements, but feel free to transform both source recordings of applause as much as you would like.

vi: The final 5 seconds of your piece, whatever the length overall, should return to the unadulterated applause from step 1.

Deadline: Monday, June 3, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your track should have a duration of 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 description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto.

Title/Tag: Include the term “disquiet0074-applauserousing”in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: Please consider employing a license that allows for attributed, commerce-free remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, be sure to include this information:

More on this 74th Disquiet Junto project, in which applause is turned into music, at:

Disquiet Junto Project 0074: Applause Rousing

Source audio of applause by unfa via:

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

Image up top adapted from one at

Beat Torpor (MP3s)

Two slices of instrumental hip-hop

The SoundCloud account of the Fresno, California”“based Foxwitit is a series of beats, mostly in an instrumental state. They run for a period of time and then fade. They are less finished compositions than raw material, perhaps waiting for a vocalist, perhaps waiting for someone to shape them further. But in their current mid-state, they are also delectable. By way of example, here are two. The track “Fearsome” is the spoken-sung word tweaked this way and that, stuttered to a trepidatious state, staggered to a melisma, all above a shuffling, anxious beat. “Legendary” is more lounge-oriented and soulful, a bit of beat torpor.

Tracks originally posted for free download at Foxwitit is Seth Murray of Fresno.

Murk and Melody (MP3)

A Memorial Day track by Mark Rushton

The melody here is less a melody, really, than it is a collection of touchstones of melody. The core tones of the piece, titled “Mem,” are concise, like those of a synthetic piano. Occasionally they are heard in brief sequences that suggest compositional impetus, even if those sequences fade out like a dream shortly after waking. As the tones proceed in their sequence of sequences, there is the hint at melodic development, but that development more likely proceeds in the mind of the listener than in the composition itself. And the notes have a good excuse for failing to achieve melody-ness, because they are throughout under a slow assault by a thick, coalescing drone. The deep murk and gentle notes shift for just over eight minutes before calling a truce.

Track originally posted for free download at According to the brief liner note, “Mem” is “music created on Memorial Day 2013.” More on Rushton at