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

Monthly Archives: November 2013

1 from the 7th Sequence’s 30

Cello + piano + field recordings = bliss

20131130-fs7

Among the best free-download ambient-leaning experimental music projects is the Sequence compilation series. Each collects a bounty of recent work by a wide range of contributors. The latest, Sequence7, is 30 tracks in all, the selection whittled down from approximately 200 that were submitted for consideration. The recording artists include such notables as Radere, Moon Zero, Guy Birkin, Masaya Ozaki, and Subnaught. Many of these Sequencers have participated in the Disquiet Junto series of weekly creative-restraint composition prompts. A highlight of the current album is Linear Bells, aka David Teboul, whose “San Francisco Broke My Heart” is an aching drone of cello, piano, and field recordings, a thick veil of maudlin langourousness. The sawing on the cello brings to mind the song-less country soundscapes of Boxhead Ensemble, while the way the piano peeks out of the haze suggests moments from Brian Eno’s Thursday Afternoon.

Track available for free download directly at soundcloud.com/linearbells. More on the album at futuresequence.com. More from Linear Bells (David Teboul) at linearbells.bandcamp.com and twitter.com/linearbells.

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Past Week at Twitter.com/Disquiet

  • "Building a Stairway to Hearing," "Take 5’s": titles in upcoming Acoustical Society of America's technical meetings: http://t.co/nDB8yRFWkr ->
  • It's a Kev Brown instrumentals morning. ->
  • Google Hangouts is nifty but, based on recent experience, response time and interface are not SMS-ready yet. ->
  • Oval put up his great "hyperreal" band release the Oh EP for free download: http://t.co/JWzQ8EQnl1. Free for a limited time. ->
  • Thanks! MT @bldgblog: And @disquiet will be hosting some acoustic thoughts and electronic sonic ambience on @Gizmodo: http://t.co/2egRy26fnd ->
  • It's 2013 and people still freak when an email list accidentally goes from one-to-all to all-to-all. (For the record, not one of my lists.) ->
  • Read more »
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The Sound of Melting Pewter

A decade-spanning netlabel release by C Reider

20131129-creideroido

Few sounds become as routinized as those of one’s own workplace. The process of routinization breeds familiarity, which in turn lends these everyday sounds something akin to transparency. We learn to listen past them, to listen through them, even when they have an intensity that visitors might find distracting, or even annoying. For his new release Oído con plomo, the Colorado-based musician and sound artist C Reider has created a single track that is three quarters of an hour in length and that is comprised of recordings made at the pewter casting studio where he has been employed for 17 years. The sounds move back and forth between drone and rhythm, often situated in a space somewhere in between. Sometimes the sounds are especially peculiar, standing out from the tapping and whirring of machines. Around a fifth of the way through, for example, there are tonal elements like dolphin song, alternating with the fundamental activities of what suggest the manual manipulation of materials.

As antiquated as the idea of pewter casting may seem, the modern world invades on occasion, as when what appears to be the sound of telephone ringing appears. Much of Oído con plomo is the thick white noise of background activity. The source audio was recorded in 1999 and 2013. Reider’s piece brings to mind Vanessa Rosetto’s recording of the process of packing boxes of books, and Lauri Warsta’s fictional audio work “Dictaphone Parcel”of a box experiencing surveillance as it is packed and shipped.

The release is available for free download from the netlabel Impulsive Habitat. For those unfamiliar with the concept of a “netlabel,” it is an online record label that actively, purposefully makes its releases available for free download. There are as many as 500 of these netlabels currently in existence around the world.

The Reider Oído con plomo file is not easily streamable here because it is only available as an MP3 in a Zip file, or as a standalone FLAC, or as a FLAC in a Zip. Both Zips include the cover art. Get the album at impulsivehabitat.com. More from Reider at his vuzhmusic.com outpost, which houses two netlabels that he administers: Dystimbria and Derivative.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0100: Vapor Wave

The project: Record the sound of water boiling and make something of it.

20131128-vaporwave

Each Thursday 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 in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

This project was published in the evening, California time, on Thursday, November 28, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, December 2, 2013, as the deadline.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0100: Vapor Wave

The instruction for this project is simple: Please record the sound of water boiling and make something of it.

Background: This is the 100th weekly Disquiet Junto project. The milestone happened to fall on Thanksgiving in the United States. The simple instruction this week is intended as an echo of the very first Disquiet Junto project (“Please record the sound of an ice cube rattling in a glass, and make something of it”).

Deadline: Monday, December 2, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your track’s length should be between two and five 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 “disquiet0100-vaporwave”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 100th Disquiet Junto project (Record the sound of water boiling and make something of it) at:

Disquiet Junto Project 0100: Vapor Wave

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

Associated image found via:

http://goo.gl/WL2qMh

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A Festivus of Sound

After Thanksgiving comes Phil Kline's "Unsilent Night."

20131127-unsilent

Tomorrow may be one of the more beloved holidays on the United States’ calendar, but a global secular holiday with a moveable dateline and a growing following begins soon after. This is “Unsilent Night,” the brainchild of composer Phil Kline. Each year in cities around the world, people gather with boomboxes and CD players, Bluetooth speakers and makeshift portable audio systems, and they create a lovely collaborative din. Kline’s “Unsilent Night” consists of four complementary (and complimentary — they’re free to download) recordings of sheer sonic tinsel. Individually they are enjoyable to listen to, but the real pleasure comes in hearing them played in near simultaneity on dozens of different audio players as you walk through the city.

When played in public on Unsilent Night, the tracks are delightfully discordant even beyond the intended combination of Kline’s four jigsaw compositions. First of all, no two people start their systems at the exact same time, and the lack of true sync lends the music an echo effect. Second, the playback varies from device to device: well-worn cassette tapes played against high-fidelity CDs, bass-heavy Jamboxes joining in a robot choir with tinny old RadioShack computer speakers. From a distance, it can look like a Say Anything flash mob. Up close, the chiming percussives bring to mind minimalist composer Steve Reich at his most ebullient.

The calendar is being updated at unsilentnight.com/schedule.html. Right now the earliest date is December 6 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Other dates include New York City, where the work originated 21 years ago in Greenwich Village, on December 14; Brussels, Belgium, on December 14; Los Angeles on December 21; and Kansas City, Missouri, on December 8. As of this writing, dates for San Francisco and Montreal, among numerous other cities, are not yet set.

If you bring a boombox to the event, tapes and CDs are usually available, albeit in limited quantities. There are also Android (in the Amazon app store) and iOS apps.

Here’s a video about “Unsilent Night,” filmed to celebrate its 20th anniversary:

More on the composer Phil Kline, who is working on an opera about Nikola Tesla with Jim Jarmusch, at philkline.com. Photo from a San Francisco Unsilent Night shot by Steve Rhodes, via flickr.com.

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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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  • 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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