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: September 2016

Sonic Freeze Frame

From Massachusetts–based PrettyRobots+HungryGhosts

“Cascade V.1” by the (apparently?) anonymous Northampton, Massachusetts”“based musician who goes by PrettyRobots+HungryGhosts, is a slow, tinkling drone that gains layers of quietly anxious activity as it proceeds until, true to its name, it explodes in a vibrantly refracting hall of mirrors stutter. Her piece is room tone and glass clicks, mood setting and light glitch, until it goes all sonic freeze frame. It’s grand.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/prettyrobotshungryghosts. More at prettyrobots–hungryghosts.tumblr.com.

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What Sound Looks Like

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


I flew a kite for the first time in decades if not ages, for the first time perhaps since before my own age hit double digits. The kite was a gift my child, still early on in single digits, had received, and we took it down to the ocean — a straight shot by bus from our home — to see how well it took to the wind. There is a dragon on the kite, a not particularly friendly looking dragon. The higher the kite flew, the more the dragon’s eyes seemed to shine with the sun. If you can hear your kite, that’s not a particularly good sign. When the kite lingers a couple dozen feet above the beach, the tails flutter perceptibly, much like a flag fighting to stay erect in a storm. If you hear your kite, it is proximate to ground, perhaps heading rapidly in that direction. The goal is to not hear your kite. The higher the kite goes, the quieter the flutter, until at some point the kite makes no sound at all. It ascends into silence. I had it in the air for almost 45 minutes straight, learning to tug this way and that to keep it afloat when the elements challenged its flight plan. At some point I recognized that I could pluck the string and watch the waveform travel up to the heavens, up to the kite, which would jiggle a bit in response. The slender tether made me think of Ellen Fullman’s Long String Instrument, which places the performer, generally Fullman herself, in a field of resonant strings, like a Lilliputian caught in a luthier’s workshop. I wondered how my long string might come to make sound, rather than recede from sound. As it hung in the air, I took mental notes about attaching something, maybe a bell, maybe a wind chime. Those experiments are for the next trip to the beach.

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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Disquiet Junto Project 0248: Galactic Tick

Celebrate the new celestial holiday in music.

galactictickdotcom

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, 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. A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required. 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 in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, September 29, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, October 3, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0248: Galactic Tick
Celebrate the new celestial holiday in music.

Project Steps:

Step 1: Read up on the Galactic Tick, a new proposed holiday exploring, as described by Popular Mechanics, “how people’s perceptions would change if they really realized the one fixed point in their celestial understanding, the mighty sun, was also in flux.”

http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/deep-space/news/a22492/galactic-tick-day-september-29/

http://galactictick.com/

Step 2: Devise a short piece of music in celebration of the Galactic Tick. Perhaps you’ll explore the distance of 225 million years, which is how often the Earth fully circles the center of the Milky Way. Perhaps you’ll find cosmic meaning in 1/129,600,000, which is the “centi-arcsecond” employed by the Galactic Tick planners to make the period of time more human-comprehensible. Perhaps you’ll find meaning in 633.7, which is the number of days between celebrations of the Galactic Tick here on Earth, or 1.74, which is the number of years.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Per the instructions below, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0248”(no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track. (Assuming you post it on SoundCloud, a search for the tag will help me construct the playlist.)

http://llllllll.co/t/music-for-the-galactic-tick-disquiet-junto-project-0248/4744

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 afternoon, California time, on Thursday, September 29, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, October 3, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. One minute and 44 seconds seems like a good length (that’s roughly 1.74 minutes).

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0248”in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, 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.

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 online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 248th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Celebrate the new celestial holiday in music”— at:

https://disquiet.com/0248/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

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

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

http://llllllll.co/t/music-for-the-galactic-tick-disquiet-junto-project-0248/4744

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

The image associated with this project is borrowed from the website galactictick.com

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Greg Davis & Keith Fullerton Whitman Live in 2002

"the live set was recently unearthed"

Greg Davis and Keith Fullerton Whitman have posted a half-hour set from 2002, recorded on WVUM in Miami, Florida, during a spring tour from March and April of that year. It’s an early document for both. Davis released his first album, Arbor, in 2002, on the Carpark Records label. And while Whitman had been since the late 1990s making recordings (generally self-released), 2002 would also see the release of his breakthrough, Playthroughs, on Kranky.

According to the brief note on Davis’ SoundCloud account, “the live set was recently unearthed.” The two are heard “trading off playing live tracks.” These veer between gentle folktronic material from Davis (ruminative field recordings, guitar above a pixelated beat), and more frenetic, often IDM-flavored material from Hrvatski (rubbery breakbeats, scattered metric logicistics). The tag team approach is emblematic of their camaraderie.

I was fortunate to have seen them play when they hit New Orleans later that month at a show at the Mermaid Lounge. The full tour itinerary is archived at the microsound discussion list. It started at Bard College mid-way through March and ended in Montreal at La Sala Rossa toward the end of April. The microsound-list announcement humorously depicts the tour as a trio, splitting Whitman between his given name and his Hrvatski moniker. Here’s part of the announcement:

hello microsound listers. i’m going on tour starting tomorrow, will most likely end up in a town near you some time over the next few weeks. if you’re in the area come and say hello… -k

starting very soon: spring tour.

featuring:
hrvatski (planet-mu, reckankreuzungsklankewerkzeuge).
greg davis (carpark, autumn).
keith fullerton whitman (kranky, apartment b).

hrvatski will be performing material from his forthcoming album swarm & dither (planet-mu).
greg davis will be performing material from his recently released debut album arbor (carpark).

keith fullerton whitman will be performing material from his forthcoming debut album playthroughs (kranky) on select dates.
greg davis and keith fullerton whitman will be performing material together as a duo on select dates (as they see fit).

If you want something to read while listening to the performances, I interviewed Davis later that year (“Woodshedding”), and Whitman in mid-2001 (“Army of One”).

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/greg-davis.

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The Drone as Amber

By Maine-based Bryan Hilyard

Bryan Hilyard’s “Asleep in Amber” is a gentle drone. To say it’s a drone is to say it subsists on waveforms. To say it subsists on waveforms is to say that it pulses. The pace at which it pulses provides an internal contrast to the sounds themselves, which are gentle, hazy, soft, true to the slumber made explicit by the track’s title. The pace of the pulse, in contrast, is fairly quick, the main waveform moving more like water pushing at a pier as the tides shift than like a ripple on an otherwise still pond. It’s insistent for much of the track’s first third, at which point it dives. The pulse remains, but it’s deep, shadowed by the dense shimmer that Hilyard takes artful pains to accumulate. There seem to be voices in the mix, though they’re never remotely intelligible. They’re trapped even deeper down than is the pulse — like the title says, “Asleep in Amber.”

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/hilyard. More from Hilyard, who is based in Mariaville, Maine, at hilyard.bandcamp.com and twitter.com/hilyardmusic. (Track found via a repost by soundcloud.com/themonkbythesea, aka Ivan Ujevic of Zagreb.)

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