“After the dancing / The wind in the pine trees / The voices of insects.” That brief poem was the subject of the 111th Naviar Haiku project. Naviar Haiku is a weekly project series, like the Disquiet Junto and the Stonesthrow Beat Battles, in which musicians respond to prompts. In the case of Naviar, each prompt is a haiku that the participating musicians then transform into sound. The musicians produce, in essence, a score to the words — not necessarily, if ever, to the melody inherent in the words, but to the images and narrative that the words express. I wrote the haiku for the 40th Naviar project (“There’s a lifetime in / between the first and second / clicks of the door’s lock”), which doubled as a Junto project (the 145th). Yesterday I wrote about another weekly project, Weekly Beats, through the lens of a recent piece that employed field recordings. Like the Weekly Beats, the Naviar puts a minimal constraint on the participants. In the hands of the musician who goes by noimspartacus (based in Birmingham, England), it’s a call for a whimsical, modest fantasia. Wind chimes give way to an underlying drone, out of which emerges a playful melody played on synthesized instruments. At first it’s a little organ or horn sound, but then a more high-pitched tone is introduced, drawing on the listener’s memory of that chime at the opening.
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
• July 28, 2021: This day marks the start of the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
• December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
• January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
• There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the forthcoming 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.
• 0485 / Strange Weather / The Assignment: Remix the pure sounds of Chris Kallmyer's traveling wind chimes to your own musical purposes.
• 0484 / A Movable Heart / The Assignment: Transplant the sounds of Chris Kallmyer's wind chimes to a new location.
• 0483 / Type Set / The Assignment: Use a recording of yourself typing something as the underlying rhythmic track for a piece of music.
• 0482 / Exactly That Gap / The Assignment: Make a musical haiku following instructions from Marcus Fischer.
• 0481 / Capsule Time / The Assignment: Record a time capsule for yourself in the future.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 485 consecutive weeks to date.
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