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

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Monthly Archives: January 2015

An Extract, a Diary, a Symphony

One of Marcus Fischer's occasional sound entries

20150131-mapmapnyc

Marcus Fischer has not been updating his SoundCloud account (soundcloud.com/mapmap) with the regularity of Taylor Deupree, who throughout 2014 maintained a near daily journal of sounds from his studio (soundcloud.com/12k), and who has begun to do so again this year. But like Deupree he has been sharing brief instances, 58 seconds of modular synthesizer activity here, two minutes of guitar and cassette tapes there. Some of the tracks are considerably lengthier than Deupree’s entries, and seem closer to finished work. And then there’s an occasion where their journals — or at least the circumstances of their journals — collide, as on this piece from Fischer’s account. It is drawn in part from a show he performed recently with Deupree. The image up top, source from Fischer’s Instagram account, is from that show.

It isn’t from the live performance, per se. It is source audio that Fischer developed for use in the performance, a rich wavering resonance that meanders this way and that, ever so slightly, for the length of its one-minute run, like an orchestra heard from the bar in some grand but dilapidated symphony hall.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/mapmap. More from Fischer, who is based in Portland, Oregon, at mapmap.ch.

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The Industrial Music of a Modest Machine

Courtesy of Funabashi's most wanted

Corruption is a prolific musician based in Funabashi, Japan. There are two sets of tracks on Corruption’s SoundCloud account. One is labeled “Corruption Music Drugstore 2,” and it has 48 tracks at current count. The other is labeled “Lullaby for the Losers/The Baddest of Corruption,” with 25. Those selections are culled from the now nearly 600 tracks in the Corruption account, ranging from tweaked cicada sounds to lounge synth jams, from warped vocal electronics to hardcore industrial noise. One recent favorite, “みぞれ,” which appears to be the Japanese word for “sleet,” appears to combine several of Corruption’s most central themes. These include the everyday weather from which it takes its name (and associated image), the lofi quality of the employed electronics, the slight dub influence, the just-shy-of-earworm melody, and the louche sensibility. Any one of those elements would define a batch of Corruptions tracks, and all those elements are heard here, in barely two and a half minutes. All that is missing is the occasionally forceful sentiment that sometimes constitutes a Corruption track. Then again, the minimalist pacing and repetitiveness of the rhythm of “みぞれ” constitutes a low-key descendent of industrial music. It is the industrial music of a modest machine.

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/corrption. Note that Corruption drops the “u” in the account URL, because someone else snagged it first, though that person has yet to upload a track. Which is fine, because the missing vowel carries over some of the urban decay inherent in Corruption’s sprawling catalog.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0161: Netmix Relabel

The Assignment: Create a new track from three tracks from three different netlabels.

20140213-actsofcommons

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.

Tracks will be added to this set for the duration of the project:

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, January 29, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 2, 2015.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0161: Netmix Relabel
The Assignment: Create a new track from three tracks from three different netlabels.

Every couple of months the Disquiet Junto hosts a netlabel remix. All of the source audio for a netlabel remix is available for free, non-commercial download and creative reuse thanks to a Creative Commons license. This series of “netlabel remixes”is intended to promote that sort of thoughtful, collaborative sharing.

These are the steps:

Step 1: Create a new piece of music by using nothing but the following segments of the following songs:

The first 15 seconds of “Dog Kiss” by Chtin Mara off the album Animus Animal Anima (Enough Records), available for free download at: http://goo.gl/iWcJJs

The first 10 seconds of “Qif Kiff” by Ayato & Natalia Kamia off the album Cluster (eg0cide Records), available for free download at: https://eg0cide.bandcamp.com/album/eg0-131-ayato-natalia-kamia-cluster

The first 10 seconds of “Espasmo” by Lingering Last Drops (Bump Foot Records), available for free download at: http://www.bumpfoot.net/foot237.html

Step 2: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 3: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, January 29, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 2, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work should be between two and four minutes.

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. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0161-netmixrelabel”in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: It is necessary for this specific project 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 161st Disquiet Junto project — “Create a new track from three tracks from three different netlabels”— at:

Disquiet Junto Project 0161: Netmix Relabel

This track includes material from the songs “Dog Kiss” by Chtin Mara off the album Animus Animal Anima (Enough Records), “Qif Kiff” by Ayato & Natalia Kamia off the album Cluster (eg0cide Records), and “Espasmo” by Lingering Last Drops (Bump Foot). More on Enough at enoughrecords.scene.org. More on eg0cide at eg0cide.com. More on Bump Foot at bumpfoot.net. All work used courtesy of a Creative Commons license allowing for derivative use.

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/

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Rhythmic Revival

Four Tet and Emanative redo Cherry and Blackwell

20150128-emanative

A forthcoming collection by the percussion player Emanative, aka Nick Woodmansey, is getting deserved advance notice, in large part due to an absolutely tremendous cover that Woodmansey has committed with Four Tet, aka Kieran Hebden, of an earlier duet. The subject of their rhythmic revival is a track off the album El Corazón, a 1982 release on the label ECM by Don Cherry and drummer Ed Blackwell. The track is titled “Makondi.” Cherry is best known as a trumpeter, but he doesn’t play trumpet on the original “Makondi,” which is a deeply percussive, mantra-like piece with no clear beginning or end. It is comprised almost entirely of a brief pattern that is repeated with slight variations as it proceeds. In spirit it brings to mind efforts toward a jazz minimalism by folks like Abdullah Ibrahim, Randy Weston, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Both the original Cherry-Blackwell recording and the new Woodmansey-Hebden version are the same length, just shy of three minutes and 50 seconds. Hebden is credited with thumb piano on the new take, and Woodmansey with drums and percussion. I seriously played this on repeat for an hour straight yesterday. Today I layered the two versions, new and old, and listened to them in near-sync, which I recommend for the simpatico moiré that results.

Here is the new rendition, off Woodmansey’s forthcoming album The Light Years of the Darkness, which is due out March 2. It’s available for pre-order at stevereidfoundation.bandcamp.com. As the URL suggests, album sales will fund the foundation named for the late drummer Steve Reid, who played with Fela Kuti, Sun Ra, and Miles Davis, among others:

And here, for comparison (and sync layering), is the original:

New version originally posted at soundcloud.com/four-tet.

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A Qualitative Social Network

Stats, functionality, and community maintenance

It’s funny, much as I’ve used SoundCloud daily for all these years now, I’ve never really found use, myself, for the stats. Likely, that’s because almost all my focus is on the Groups functionality. I do post a track occasionally, but not with any particular hopes of a broad listenership, just to participate, to float a musical idea, or to mark a milestone, like the addition of a new module to my little synthesizer rig.

For the Disquiet Junto group each week, all I look at is three things:

(1) where we’re at in active users (not members, but accounts that have actually posted tracks, which just topped 500),

(2) the number of tracks in the most recent project (I don’t even keep track of the numbers, but I do note it mentally — we’ve been as high as 70+ in a week and as low as around 10, and we’re generally around 30 or so), and

(3) the number of total tracks (we’re so close to 4,000 in just over three years).

I tend to be more qualitative than quantitative in general, but, yeah, maybe if there were Groups-oriented stats, that’d help me a bit, but I wouldn’t make it a priority. I look at the Junto qualitatively — are folks commenting on each other’s tracks, and is the commentary constructive; are the projects being met with enthusiasm, not so much in terms of number of participants in a given week but the sense that effort was expended by those who did participate; are there any obvious breakouts, in terms of levels of listenership, that sort of thing.

I think I’m more focused on functionality than on stats. You know what I would love would be the ability to transfer a track. I’d love if someone who’s posted a track but didn’t want it associated with their account any longer could transfer it to me, or to someone else.

Note: I originally posted this in a conversation on Facebook, but figured I’d post it here, too.

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