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
• February 5, 2020: The first session of the 15-week course I teach at the Academy of Art about the role of sound in the media landscape.
• April 15, 2020: A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the forthcoming 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.)
• December 13, 2020: This day marks the 24th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2021: This day marks the 9th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
• There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the forthcoming 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.
• At least two live group concerts by Disquiet Junto members in the San Francisco Bay Area are in the works for 2020.
• I have liner notes for a musician's solo album and an essay in a book about an art event due out. I'll announce as the release dates come into focus.
• The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• 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).
Most Recent Posts
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.
• 0459 / From a Distance / The Assignment: Make music intended to be heard from afar.
• 0458 / Phrase Shift / The Assignment: Make music in a sequence of parts with shared elements.
• 0457 / System Alert / The Assignment: Compose sounds for an OS.
• 0456 / Line Up / The Assignment: Interpret a painting by Agnes Martin as if it were a graphic score.
• 0455 / Inner Invertebrate / The Assignment: What does a moment (or a day) in the life of a jellyfish sound like to a jellyfish?
And there is a complete list of past projects, 459 consecutive weeks to date.
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Monthly Archives: December 2013
The project: Make a song based on last week's "sonic tinsel" project.
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.
Tracks by participants will be added to this playlist as the project proceeds:
This project was published in the evening, California time, on Thursday, December 19, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, December 23, 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 0103: Tinsel Song
This week’s project, the 103rd, is based on last week’s, the 102nd. The instructions are as follows:
Step 1: Select three different works from last week’s project, as collected at this URL:
Step 2: Label them Source A, B, and C.
Step 3: Create an underlying foundation for a song by creating a loop-able segment structured as follows: four beats of Source A, four beats of Source B, four beats of Source A, four beats of Source C.
Step 4: Let that loop repeat twice before introducing any additional elements.
Step 5: Continue to loop the segment and augment/distort/filter it as you so desire, and introduce any additional material, toward the goal of creating an original piece of music.
Bonus Round: If you are inclined, create a chorus for the song by holding Source B for an extended period of time, and create a bridge by holding Source C for an extended period of time. Again, feel free to augment/distort/filter them.
Deadline: Monday, December 23, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.
Length: Your track’s length should be between 1 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 “disquiet0103-tinselsong”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 103rd weekly Disquiet Junto project (Make a song based on last week’s “sonic tinsel” project) at:
Source audio from these three tracks:
[insert links to SoundCloud page for the three source tracks]
More details on the Disquiet Junto at:
Image associated with the project adopted from one found via Creative Commons at:
Holiday music from Robin Rimbaud
When you hear that Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner, has recorded a cover of “White Christmas,” perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is surveillance audio of Santa making his annual sleigh ride — a sound art version of the Official NORAD Santa Tracker. Scanner made his name — that name — early on by plucking dialog from the ether thanks to his namesake object, and adding layers of narrative and emotion with delicate electronic textures. But it turns out his “White Christmas” is very much the song, coming in at a relaxed three and a half minutes. The only plucking here is of what sounds like a harp, and there’s a fair amount of sleigh bells at the close.
A solo piano piece by Glasgow's Elizabeth Veldon
In the recent solo piano piece by Elizabeth Veldon, “The Pure Water, Filled with Light,” the light may very well be the spaces between the notes. That’s an unnecessary distinction, because silence is a kind of note unto itself, so safer to say that the light is the space between the parts played between the piano. The piano is slow and studied, and at times meticulously random, brief moments of melodic fragments and sudden stoppages. The silences are of irregular length, which means that rather than serve as pauses, they stand as sonic content as well. One listens to the silences to hear what they contain, what they mean, rather than treating them as mere punctuation. It’s quite a feat.
Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/elizabethveldon. More from Veldon, who is based in Glasgow, Scotland, at elizabethveldon.tumblr.com, twitter.com/elizabethveldon, and elizabethveldon.bandcamp.com.
Japan trip, Triplets of Belleville, Danielle Baquet-Long, and more
A friend suggested that I begin posting a regular peek into this site’s archives, so I am going to experiment with a “This Week [X Number of] Years Ago” project. There are no posts from December 1993, so I can’t do 20 years ago this week. I do, that said, have some print archives to port/upload in the future.
5 Years Ago (2008): In those pre-Instagram (b. 2010) days, I was posting an occasional “Image of the Week,” in this case the Tone Sender used by an AT&T service person who had come by the house I had recently moved into, in order to check the line. This was in the home I had just moved into a few weeks earlier, and where I still live. … I left for a Japan trip the Friday of that week, which is why (a few weeks later) I posted about an early Korg mobile software project. … I was also doing a “Quote of the Week” back then, and this one was of a scene in the under-appreciated TV show Leverage about ID’ing munitions by their sound. … Oh, and that week I upgraded to WordPress 2.7. Just this week, in 2013, I upgraded to WordPress 3.8. … In the Downstream department, there was music and by Fold, Giuseppe Ielasi, Pascal Wyse, and Celer’s Will Long and Danielle Baquet-Long (the latter of whom would pass away the following year). The Celer recording was of sounds outside George Orwell’s home. There was also a track by Merleon Cedraeon made with the Nintendo DS audiogame cartridge Electroplankton. On that Japan trip I purchased in Akihabara either the Korg cartridge mentioned above or the Electroplankton, or both.
10 Years Ago (2003): Easily the most prominent item this week a decade ago was an interview with the composer of the music for the film Les Triplettes de Belleville, BenoÃ®t Charest; the score featured, among other things, music from the sounds of vacuum cleaners. Charest’s score would be nominated for an Academy Award, and he would perform on the Oscars telecast. He’s recorded on average one score a year since then. … The Downstream department of this site was still a fairly new thing on Disquiet.com a decade ago. I had only months earlier moved back to San Francisco after four years in New Orleans, and the Downstream was still including streaming music, though it would soon come to focus solely on legally freely downloadable music, out of my interest in what had come to be known as the Creative Commons (founded 2001). This week’s entries included music from Addisko, Pocka, Steve Roach, Amon Tobin, Underworld, and 400 Lonely Things. Many of those offsite links have, inevitably, since expired.
15 Years Ago (1998): The only piece this week was a short review of the excellent album Signal Series by Chessie. Interestingly, several sources list this as having come out in 1996. Maybe I have the date stamp incorrect for the post. It would be quite excellent if my first attempt to dig into the archives yielded misinformation. Anyhow, Chessie makes music based on the sounds of trains. They’ve most recently released the 2008 album Manifest. When I reviewed this, I think Chessie was singular, just Stephen Gardner, but the Chessie website (chessiemusic.com) also lists Ben Bailes.