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: December 2014

Video from My San Jose Museum of Art Installation

A short feature with all 10 interveners

The San Jose Museum of Art has uploaded this eight-minute video featuring the various folks who, like me, contributed works as “interveners” for its current Momentum exhibit, which celebrates the museum’s 45th anniversary. I talk in the video at 2:52 and 3:59.

My piece is “Sonic Frame,” a response in three screens to a video by Josh Azzarella. Each screen contains a unique set of seven different audio tracks composed to complement it, so each time the video plays anew it is accompanied by different sounds. Among the participating musicians are Taylor Deupree, Natalia Kamia, Julia Mazawa, Steve Roden, Naoyuki Sasanami, Christina Vantzou, Stephen Vitiello, and Scanner.

The Momentum exhibit runs from October 2, 2014, through February 22, 2015. More on the exhibit here (“How Sound Frames Vision”) and at sjmusart.org. Video hosted at youtube.com.

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A Gamelan Wind Chime

Built in software

This track is Stringbot trying things out in Numerology, the music software program that just saw its update to version 4.0 on November 25, a month ago. The software is self-described as being “all about building musical phrases by starting with simple patterns of repeating notes, and then manipulating the pattern with a set of easily applied transformations.” Among those transformations are “generative” capabilities — that is, changes that are not entirely predictable, such as engaging with chance operations or following evolutionary steps. I first learned about Numerology from Brian Biggs, who records as Dance Robot Dance. This track by Stringbot appeared in his SoundCloud feed on Christmas Day. It puts the chance capabilities to work in “Rando Gamelan,” yielding a gentle pattern that brings to mind a metal mallet instrument submitted to the operations of a wind chime.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/stringbot. Stringbot is Joshua Davison of Chicago, Illinois. More from him at twitter.com/stringbot and stringbot.com. More on the Numerology software at five12.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0156: Audio Journal 2014

The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen five-second segments.

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Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at Disquiet.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 assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, December 25, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, December 29, 2014.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0156: Audio Journal 2014
The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen five-second segments.

This week’s project is a sound journal, a selective audio history of your past year. You will select a different audio element to represent each of the past 12 months of 2014. You will then select one five-second segment from each of these audio elements. Then you will stitch these dozen five-second segments together in chronological order to form one single one-minute track. There should be no overlap or gap between segments; they should simply proceed from one to the next.

These audio elements will most likely be of music that you have yourself composed and recorded, but they might also consist of phone messages, field recordings, or other source material. These items should be somehow personal in nature, suitable to the autobiographical intention of the project; they should be of your own making, and not drawn from third-party sources.

When done, upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud. Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, December 29, 2014.

Length: Your finished work should be 60 seconds long.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and 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.

Information: Please, when posting your track on SoundCloud, list the source of each of the 12 elements.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0156-audiojournal2014”in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

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

More on this 156th Disquiet Junto project — “Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen five-second segments”— at:

Disquiet Junto Project 0156: Audio Journal 2014

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

https://disquiet.com/forums/

Photo associated with this project by Tim Sackton used via Creative Commons license:

Out of Time [206/366]

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Helge Meyer Pushes the Drone

A piece from Hamburg, Germany

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Helge Meyer refers to “North of Dust” as a drone, yet it has a serrated texture beyond the norm for that word. The pushing of the term’s meaning is welcome, because the word “drone” has become increasingly synonymous with a specific, dense, solitary sound, and the drone of “North of Dust” has a far more fractured, anxious feeling to it than one might initially expect. There is, certainly, an underlying, mantra-like current, of course, like a remnant of some ancient Terry Riley piece, but there is atop it this thorough screen of chattering noise, neither explicitly mechanical nor organic. It is static in both senses of the word. The track is off Meyer’s recent debut album, Vessel, on the Pleisto label.

Track originally posted for streaming at soundcloud.com/helgemeyer. More from Meyer, who is based in Hamburg, Germany, at econore.com. More from the label, Pleisto, at facebook.com/pleisto.

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My Aphex Twin Book: a 33 â…“ Bestseller for 2014

Welcome news from my publisher

Selected+Ambient+Works+Volume+II+CD1+Selected+Ambient+Works+Volume

cover-from-Bloomsbury-siteThis is very nice news. I just learned this morning that my book in the 33 1/3 series, on Aphex Twin’s album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, is one of the top 10 bestsellers in the series for all of 2014. That’s out of over 100 books. The 100th in the series, by Susan Fast, on Michael Jackson’s album Dangerous, came out in September. I’m especially happy that two largely lyric-less albums, mine and Ferguson’s Donuts, made the list. Also, Ferguson was one of the authors I brought in to work on those comics I edited for the recent Tokyo festival put on by Red Bull Music Academy. His comic was on Isao Tomita. Anyhow, below is the top 10 list of 33 1/3’s 2014 bestsellers in full. My book, which was published on February 13, 2014, and is now in its second printing, came in #5:

  1. J Dilla’s Donuts by Jordan Ferguson

  2. Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kirk Walker Graves

  3. Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville by Gina Arnold

  4. Michael Jackson’s Dangerous by Susan Fast

  5. Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II by Marc Weidenbaum

  6. Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality by John Darnielle

  7. Oasis’ Definitely Maybe by Alex Niven

  8. Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Kim Cooper

  9. Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique by Dan LeRoy

  10. Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love by Carl Wilson.

News via the 33 1/3 blog at 333sound.com.

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