New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • Disquiet.com F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

The Least Digital Music You Will Hear These Days

Tape cassettes as halls of mirrors, courtesy of Black Thread

The black thread from which the act Black Thread takes its name is the thin spool of magnetic tape in a standard cassette.

That tape is Black Thread’s medium, modus operandi, and muse. He works the material into dense, ever-shifting cathedrals of murky noises. It is some of the least digital music you will hear these days, the foundation ever slightly moving, like it exists in a state of permanent subtle earthquake aftershocks. This is music that is incapable of perfection, devoid of a metronomic pulse. It isn’t free like free jazz. It isn’t free like a hand-drawn line. It’s free like a machine that was once a source of documentary purpose, and that now lingers in gadget retirement as a folk instrument.

That insistent, unpredictable bleed is the origin of the effect from which these two pieces take their name: “Seeping Pitch.” The accompanying art is a parallel effort — same aesthetic, different medium — exploring the inaccuracies inherent in photocopy machines:

20150824-blackthread

Tracks originally posted at soundcloud.com/magneticassemblage. More from Black Thread, aka Gregory Gorlen, who is based in San Francisco, at soundcloud.com/blackthread.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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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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