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

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

Monthly Archives: November 2014

Writing Sound

Mira Grant wakes a woman from a coma

“His voice was no more or less compelling than the buzz of the machines around her.” That’s from Mira Grant’s novel Parasite (2014), describing the experience of a woman emerging from a coma. It continues: “None of his words meant anything to her, and so she dismissed them as unimportant stimuli in a world that was suddenly full of unimportant stimuli. … Then the other people in the room started making noise, as shrill and confused as the machines around her.” The sequel to Parasite, titled Symbiont, comes out later this month. I’m just behind in my reading.

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The Year of Aphex Twin

And the (temporary?) end of a SoundCloud account

My book on the 1994 Aphex Twin album Selected Ambient Works Volume II is now, I have learned, in its second printing (Amazon, Powell’s), which is pretty great. The book was published back in February as part of the 33 1/3 series, and I had a blast doing readings at City Lights in San Francisco and Powell’s in Portland, and giving talks and presentations (in person and via Skype) at various institutions, including SETI. As it turns out, that February publication was in advance of what has turned out to be, quite unexpectedly, the Year of Aphex Twin, starting with the logo-festooned blimp over London that coincided with his birthday, continuing to a full-length album on the Warp label (Syro), and moving on to a deep dive into his archives thanks to tracks posted on his SoundCloud account. For the moment, that SoundCloud account appears to have been wiped clean, sadly, but I’m hopeful it’s a temporary thing, because the reversed version of “Avril 14th” was quite lovely.

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Comet Eavesdropping

A comet is recorded, a koan is clarified, a marketing campaign is muted.

A familiar koan was updated this past week. “In space,” we were told long ago thanks to promotions for the movie Alien, “no one can hear you scream” — that is, we’ve now learned, until that scream has its frequencies boosted “by a factor of 10,000.” That’s how, among countless other news organizations, characterized the marvel that was the (literally) otherworldly sound of the (figurative) song captured from a comet by the Philae lander. Nothing is going to shut up the commenters on, who seem to wait eagerly for a moment to point out the absurdity of sounds in outer space scenes in movies and on television, but nor is the Philae incident the first audio collected from space. Back in 2013, as the Voyager space probe was leaving our solar system, two bursts of sound were collected and shared by NASA, sounds that we used in a Disquiet Junto project. One funny thing that happened last week was that just as the entire planet was celebrating the act of listening to sounds from space, the DVD and Blu-Ray of the film Gravity were released with a “Silent Space” alternate version that removes all the sound from the outer-space sequences. A welcome edit, if one slightly marred by unfortunate timing.

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Mark Rushton’s Podscast

The background of a Junto project

The Iowa City, Iowa”“based musician Mark Rushton regularly publishes an ambient podcast worth addition to whatever service you happen to utilize. His podcast, in which he posts his music and gives some context for its creation, is located at He also talks a bit from time to time about the medium through which his music is distributed, providing insights from his own experience about SoundCloud, Pandora, and other subjects. His most recent podcast entry, number 64, happens to take as its focus the track he recorded for a recent Disquiet Junto project, in which three minutes of everyday noise are juxtaposed, from one stereo channel to the next, with a lightly transformed version of the source material. The track is posted at and available directly as an MP3. And here’s the isolated track he produced for the Junto project:

More from Rushton at

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An ongoing series cross-posted from

Judging by the earbud packaging that comes with the iPod Touch, someone at Apple is an MF Doom fan.

Cross-posted from
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