It’s not uncommon to come upon a description of culture that is said to take apart the very thing it seems to be a part of: gallery exhibits that critique the art world, pop music that is poking holes into pop music, poetry that undermines poetry. Often the supposed critique is so difficult to distinguish from that which it is commenting on that it becomes a part of the whole. The revolution is televised, and then syndicated. Now, “Fear Biz” by IQbit makes no immediate claims for its purpose. The track, as posted on the Italy-based IQbit’s SoundCloud account, is accompanied just by one bit of description: “Any Resemblance to Real Persons or Actual Facts is Not Coincidental.” The comment may just be a toss-away joke, or it may be a direct reference to the reality that surfaces in “Fear Biz,” courtesy of sirens and street noise. No matter. The heart of the track is a sequence of club-like emanations: synth pads, strobing percussion, throbby beats, echoing voices, dramatic modulations. A few of them on repeat for six minutes would be a minimal brand of dance music. Instead, it’s a story of sorts, a suite of transitions, three-and-a-half minutes of moments, more like a memory of a night out than the score to a night out. I’ve written once previously about IQbit’s music, back in November 2011. The subject then was a remix he’d done that emphasized the ecstatic opening moments of minimal techno over the rote beats that often follow.
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
• December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
• December 28, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
• January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
• July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
• There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the 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.
• A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the 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.)
• 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).
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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.
• 0507 / In DD’s Key of C / The Assignment: Make music with 10 acoustic instrument samples all in a shared key.
• 0506 / Wipe Out / The Assignment: Take something whole and erase half of it.
• 0505 / Line Out / The Assignment: Share a track, get feedback, and give feedback.
• 0504 / Transform Formula / The Assignment: Take a sound, change it, and contrast that with the original.
• 0503 / Sing Song / The Assignment: Record a song using only your voice transformed beyond recognition.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 507 consecutive weeks to date.
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