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

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

Monthly Archives: July 2016

Disquiet Junto Project 0239: Code Requiem

The Assignment: Compose a short composition in memoriam for a piece of recently deceased software.

deadcode

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.

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, July 28, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 1, 2016.

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

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0239: Code Requiem
The Assignment: Compose a short composition in memoriam for a piece of recently deceased software.

Please note the instructions below, in light of SoundCloud closing down its Groups functionality.

Project Steps:

Step 1: Compose a short composition in memoriam for a piece of recently deceased software.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done :

Step 1: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud (this task will continue until the August 22 sunsetting of that service). It’s here:

Step 2: This is a new task, if you’ve done a Junto project previously. In the comment field to the track mention @disquiet. This will ping me to add the track to a playlist.

Step 3: Per the instructions below, be sure to tag your track #disquiet0239

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

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

Deadline: This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, July 28, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 1, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Between one and three minutes seems about right.

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 “disquiet0239.”Also use “disquiet0239”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 239th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Compose a short composition in memoriam for a piece of recently deceased software”— at:

https://disquiet.com/0239/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place on a Slack (send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for inclusion) and at this URL:

https://disquiet.com/forums/

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What Sound Looks Like

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


This wire dangles near the side door of a friend’s home, which I visited last week when I was on vacation. The home is having significant work done on it, involving the remodeling of all three floors and most of the existing rooms. There’s a main entrance to the home on the first floor, next to the garage, but due to how the property is landscaped, you could find yourself easily following a path up and around to the side of the house. A doorbell makes sense. Why exactly the crew doing the work decided to put the cable hole so far from the door, however, isn’t necessarily clear. Presumably a doorbell is a simple thing, just a dot the size of a finger tip, perhaps with a small frame around it. But perhaps in our time of connected devices, of networked domestic life, of semi-sentient consumer products, the general contractor was planning for a far wider and more talented contraption, something with a camera, something with a speaker-microphone combination — less a side-door welcome than a state-of-the-art surveillance apparatus.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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Chrissie Caulfield’s “Ambient Improv”

Pushing at assumed identities

Chrissie Caulfield, who’s based in Leeds, England, has a broad understanding of the violin and of ambient music. She pushes both well past their assumed identities. In her hands the violin is a sound source for myriad tweakings and warpings, transformations and embellishments. Likewise, her ambient music is rarely static, rarely free of developmental process. It’s rarely even peaceful.

“Ambient Improv,” a recent track she uploaded to her SoundCloud account yesterday, may not even have a violin in it. She lists the instrumentation as Blofeld (the synthesizer, not the James Bond villain) and Montage (presumably the Yamaha synth), though perhaps the violin is so implicit in her work that she doesn’t even think to mention it. The piece is a spacey mix of heavy oscillations, burpy grace notes, and nearly sub-aural hums that radiate when played with a proper woofer. It changes as it proceeds, from horror-movie organ chords to otherworldly sci-fi touches.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/chrissieleeds. More form Caulfield at chrissieviolin.info, twitter.com/chrissie_c, and chrissieviolin.wordpress.com.

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Disquiet Junto After the End of SoundCloud Groups

Processes and platforms in the near term, and after

This morning SoundCloud announced that it is sunsetting it Groups functionality. This is the note that came today to Groups moderators:

We’re constantly looking for ways to make it easier for creators to share their work and connect with new fans. As well as adding new features and updates, we review existing features to see if they’re still beneficial to the community.

As we dug into the best ways for curators to connect with artists and fans, we found that Groups aren’t working as well as reposts, and curated playlists.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to phase out Groups on Monday, August 22nd to make room for future updates. Until then, you can collect, like or repost the content you would like to save, and connect with your fellow Group members.

As a Group moderator, we understand the following you’ve built by moderating submissions to your Groups — we suggest to keep that following going by creating a profile to curate. You can use Reposts and Playlists to share suitable tracks, and accept submissions via Messages.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can continue to improve your experience on SoundCloud. Send your ideas and feedback by replying directly to this email.

Here is the note that I sent out just now to the members of the Disquiet Junto email list (tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto). The short version: the Disquiet Junto is not going away.

Dear Members of the Disquiet Junto,

You may have read about upcoming changes to SoundCloud, specifically that the Groups functionality is going to be mothballed.

Just to be clear, the Disquiet Junto is not going away. More on that below.

SoundCloud has been incredibly supportive of the Junto since the group was founded back in January 2012. The Junto was, in fact, devised with the Groups functionality in mind. In many promotional/editorial ways, SoundCloud employees have played a big role in helping the Junto build an audience and its membership. Key personnel there have also been especially responsive to technical queries over the years. (Speaking of which, on an unrelated note, if you know someone at Instagram who is supportive, I have a small request I’d like to make.)

With the SoundCloud Groups functionality going away (technically the old groups will be frozen in state), I’m now pondering next steps. There are various options.

Certainly for the short term, the Junto will proceed on the SoundCloud service. I’m not sure how exactly I’m going to manage the production of playlists, but my current workflow thought is as follows:

Step 1: Participant posts track to SoundCloud.

Step 2: Participant (privately) messages me the track’s URL.

Step 3: I then add the track to two playlists: (1) an overall group playlist and (2) a project-specific playlist.

The end result is that there still would be, as with the current group page, a playlist that allows Junto participants and observers to witness all tracks as they’re added. (An alternate to Step 2 above is the participant tags my username, @disquiet, in the comment of the track. That could save a step that messaging would require.)

There actually some potential small benefits to this scenario. One benefit is that it’s harder this way for someone to spam the group, because they have to get through me first. (Spam has been a hassle, not because of the process of removing tracks, but because of how rude people can be when I do so.) The other benefit is that participant messages (or comment tags) will automatically ping me, which in turn means I don’t have to check the Junto page multiple times a day (as I do now) to see if new tracks have been added. This would also, come to think of it, free up whatever part of my brain remembers the most recent track that I’ve already added to the group — and believe me, freed-up brain space is attractive to me, even in tiny increments.

There are, of course, demerits to the change, and while I have no plans to vacate SoundCloud, I would be ill advised not to think about ways to potentially migrate the Junto down the road, either to another service or to the Junto’s own dedicated online space. I’m interested in seeing what Naviar Haiku and other groups based on SoundCloud do. The Weekly Beats site (weeklybeats.com) is worth taking a look at in this regard. Likewise, the great Stones Throw Beat Battle uses a public message board (in contrast with our semi-private Junto Slack) as a way to track participation. It’s here:

http://www.stonesthrow.com/messageboard/?showforum=11

For the Junto, I don’t currently see this Groups-function sunset as a huge issue. I think it’ll potentially have a more adverse effect on groups dedicated to particular types of software and hardware, as I’m not sure how a dedicated Octatrack or OP-1 or Monome (etc.) group would transition to a playlist-only system. Then again, I’m only just now beginning to think about all this.

Anyhow, I wanted to get my thoughts on this out as soon as possible. As always, if you have any input on options for the future, that’d be super. A year or so ago I put out a call for a Disquiet “board of advisors,” and ironically I was so overwhelmed by the response (about 35 people offered to participate) I just haven’t had the time to (yet) act on the generosity.

Thanks for reading.

Best wishes from San Francisco,

Marc
[email protected]

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The Drone as Terrain

A sonic narrative from Kiev

Some drones are lilting things that serve as background listening, as emotional cues, as gentle attempts at spatial reconfiguration. Others are dense constructs, enveloping environs that invite investigation, sonic mazes akin to virtual terrains, like the maps of RPGs and the plots of complex fictions. The latter descriptor applies to “Numinous,” from the Kiev, Ukraine”“based Dronny Darko. For a solid seven minutes it traffics in a thick, guttural, slow-motion howl. Its vibrant darkness is occasionally, mustily illuminated, giving hints at vocal intonations, distant noises, anxious activity. It’s a place with no answers to its inherent mystery — and you’ll find yourself visiting it repeatedly for the pleasure provided by their absence.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/dronnydarko. More from Dronny Darko at facebook.com/dronnydarko and dronnydarko.bandcamp.com.

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