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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Disquiet Junto Project 0213: Complex Signatures

The Assignment: Combine three field recordings from artist Charles Lindsay to explore and express notions of perceived techno-organic intelligence.

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Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, 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. There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

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

This project was posted shortly before noon, California time, on Thursday, January 28, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 1, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0213: Complex Signatures
The Assignment: Combine three field recordings from artist Charles Lindsay to explore and express notions of perceived techno-organic intelligence.

This week’s project is being done in conjunction with the head of the Artist in Residence program at the SETI Institute. His name is Charles Lindsay, and he has provided us with three very different field recordings. Work completed for this project will be considered for employment in a future project of Charlie’s. Work won’t be used without the given participating musician’s permission.

Step 1: Consider what it is that Charlie is exploring in his work: “I’m thinking about evolution, entropy, sentience, and the complex signatures of intelligence: what microtonal soundtrack would best express the micro and the vast, the field and the matrix, what we call nature and what we call machine, in unity, as music or as sound?”

Step 2: Download the three tracks recorded by Charle that are in this playlist on SoundCloud. The first track was made on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, rain-forest ambient sounds caught with a parabolic microphone at nightfall. The second was made with a hydrophone at dusk amid the Bunsby Islands in British Columbia. The third was made at the D-WAVE2 Quantum Computer at NASA Ames.

Step 3: Follow this request from Charlie: “Please process, merge, and mix these tracks to seven minutes total. Imagine the final track looping indefinitely in a sound installation in a museum or gallery environment. This use of sound in controlled space is something I’m very interested in, as a real time, real space tool to blend so-called realities. Imagine dream images, much the way our mind seems to, glitches and all. I look forward to what you come up with, and thanks very much for your interest.”

Step 4: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project was posted shortly before noon, California time, on Thursday, January 28, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 1, 2016.

Length: Your track should be seven minutes in length — if that request proves too long, certainly consider submitting something shorter.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this project, and be sure to 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 in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0213-complexsignatures.”Also use “disquiet0213-complexsignatures”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 213th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“The Assignment: Combine three field recordings from artist Charles Lindsay to explore and express notions of perceived techno-organic intelligence”) at:

Disquiet Junto Project 0213: Complex Signatures

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

https://disquiet.com/forums/

The photo associated with this project is the cover of Charles Lindsay’s forthcoming book, Carbon, more on which here:

Charles Lindsay: Carbon

And here are details on a MASS MoCA exhibit he will be participating in. It begins May 28, 2016:

http://www.massmoca.org/event_details.php?id=1045

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Musical Development That Occurs Over Repeated Listens

In "ATC4pm5nov2015" by New York–based John Hudak

This piece by John Hudak moves trilled percussion figures amid slowly modulating chords, like Amon Tobin chilling with Herbie Hancock at the end of a particularly long and dolorous night. It’s soft, and suggestive, and enigmatic, what with all the rattles and chattering and stereoscopic pinging. Tiny noises momentarily hold, like they’re caught in the thin beam of light. Slow gurgles almost gain a resemblance to slurred speech. At 10 minutes in length, the track has plenty of time to circulate. It doesn’t necessarily gain complexity as it progresses, but it does so on repeated listens, as the details come to the fore, and the whole wide field of sonic elements seems to brighten — what once was dark becomes various shades of blue. The title “ATC4pm5nov2015” suggests it was recorded at 4pm on November 5, 2015 — what the “ATC” stands for isn’t immediately clear.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/johnhudak. More from Hudak, who’s based in Dobbs Ferry, New York, at johnhudak.bandcamp.com. (Found via a repost from the soundcloud.com/audio-obscura-music account.)

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Exploring the Object-ness of Sounds in Audio Headspace

And other pleasures from Cullen Miller's new album, Simulateur

Cullen Miller has a tremendous new album out, titled Simulateur. It’s a collection of 11 electronic ventures that move from gentle, prismatic percussion (the opening track, “Objecthood,”whose title expresses the physicality, the object-ness of the sounds in audio headspace) through shuddering drones (the glitchy light noise of “Purple Cycle”). The majority explores minimal techno, from its outer dubby realm (the enticing “Formant Network”) to more club-friendly, if still metrically complex, beats (“Euclidean Tropism”). Wonderful stuff throughout.

Album originally posted at soundcloud.com/cullenmiller. Get the album as a free download at pointlinesurface.com. More from Miller at cullenmiller.tumblr.com. Full disclosure: Miller taught me everything I know about Audacity, more or less.

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What Sound Looks Like

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt


I once worked on a project where the company’s website was so complex and detailed and, frankly, byzantine, that by the time we first visited the company’s actual office I wondered where the skyscraper was hiding. You’d never know from the company’s massive online presence that it was really just a few dozen people working on the top floor of a two-floor building. Sometimes such confusion is willful, an act of strategic dissimulation, a game of tactical artifice. Sometimes it’s a matter of putting on airs. Often it’s just bad planning. Either way, the company came to mind when I wandered by this extensive doorbell situated at the entryway of a modest two-story apartment building. The verticality of the form brought to mind soda cans that have the silhouette of a glass bottle drawn on them, as well as depictions of the very condensation that the can was designed to diminish. Of course, this doorbell grid isn’t really a skeuomorph, per se. It’s more of an aspiration. The architecture curator at a museum once described the faux lofts being built in San Francisco as “townhouses in drag.” This doorbell is playing its own sort of low-budget dress-up. It’s skyscraper cosplay.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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Satie, This Time with Feeling

And at a slower pace — thanks to Hey Exit

If you know the piece coming is “Gymnopedie No. 1,”then the second that first note hits you have a sense of what’s up ahead. When the track doesn’t actually fulfill the second note of your solo-piano clairvoyance, your brain fills in the blank, and the blanks that follow immediately upon it. You hear “Gymnopedie”even if it isn’t playing.

In fact, in this reworking of the Satie classic, the song is playing, just transformed in two ways. First of all, it is slowed considerably. The roughly six-minute piece is extended to 10 times its original length. Second, this isn’t one “Gymnopedie”but about 60 “Gymnopedies.”It’s the track “Every Recording of Gymnopedie 1”by Brendan Landis, who initially stretched every rendition of the piece he could find to an equal length, yielding a slightly out of sync, phase-shifting rendition, halfway between Steve Reich and Brian Eno.

The initial “Every Recording of Gymnopedie 1”gained quite a following in the past week. When I first wrote about it it had about 2,000 listens on SoundCloud. As of this writing it has just over 50,000 listens. Following up the initial post I wrote a second appreciation, looking at how Satie himself as preordained the Landis reworking, and touched on a precedent by artist Sean Dack, who developed a gallery installation, a la Janet Cardiff, that played individual versions on freestanding speakers.

This new, half-hour piece by Landis has a stronger similarity to the Dack than did his earlier piece, because the Dack likewise employed extensive time-stretching. The strings of the piano take on gargantuan capacity, like one of Ellen Fullman’s long-stringed instruments. Being inside this piece — “being inside”inside describes the consumption process much more closely than does, say, “listening”— reveals the off-sync qualities of the original in a manner like shards being shed in rapturous slow motion.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/hey-exit. More from Hey Exit at heyexit.com, heyexit.bandcamp.com, and twitter.com/slownames.

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