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
• February 5, 2020: The first session of the 15-week course I teach at the Academy of Art about the role of sound in the media landscape.
• April 15, 2020: A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the forthcoming 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.)
• December 13, 2020: This day marks the 24th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2021: This day marks the 9th 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.
• At least two live group concerts by Disquiet Junto members in the San Francisco Bay Area are in the works for 2020.
• I have liner notes for a musician's solo album and an essay in a book about an art event due out. I'll announce as the release dates come into focus.
• 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).
Most Recent Posts
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.
• 0472 / Jam Time (1 of 3) / The Assignment: Record the first third of a trio that others will complete.
• 0471 / Phase Transition / The Assignment: The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something with it.
• 0470 / Calendar View / The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments.
• 0469 / [Missing in Caption] / The Assignment: Make music that pushes the constraints of descriptive television captions.
• 0468 / Mirror Rorrim / The Assignment: Create a new persona for yourself, and record a duet together.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 472 consecutive weeks to date.
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Monthly Archives: October 2016
Remix some music for infants with parents in mind.
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, October 20, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, October 24, 2016.
These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):
Disquiet Junto Project 0251: Soothing Sounds for Parents Remix some music for infants with parents in mind.
Last week’s project involved making soothing sounds for babies. This week the plan is to transform those sounds into something for parents (where Creative Commons licenses or other agreements allow).
Step 1: Listen through and locate a track from project 0250 that (a) is something you’d like to rework and (b) is available for reworking. If it doesn’t have an evident Creative Commons license allowing for re-use, consider contacting the musician for permission. Or just find another track. You’ll find them at disquiet.com/0250.
Step 2: Take the piece of music from Step 1, which was, Ã la Raymond Scott, intended as Soothing Sounds for Babies and transform it into something intended as Soothing Sounds for Parents. (Yes, yes, parents might certainly enjoy the original material, but please push it beyond the bassinet.)
Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:
Step 1: Per the instructions below, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0251”(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.)
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, October 20, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, October 24, 2016.
Length: The length is up to you. Four minutes feels about right.
Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0251”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 251st weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Soothing Sounds for Parents: Remix some music for infants with parents in mind”— at:
More on the Disquiet Junto at:
Subscribe to project announcements here:
Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:
There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.
Baby monitor photo lightly adapted from one by mrplough, used thanks to a Creative Commons license:
An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt
The chandeliers at this hotel I stayed at sure looked like Victrola horns.An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
The modular synthesis of R Beny
The above video is a recent piece by R Beny, whose new album, Full Blossom of the Evening, I wrote about late last month (“This Is Glisten”). That record has a prominent string presence, as does this track. In the discussion that — politely and enthusiastically, unlike many public discussion spaces — accompanies the video, Beny mentions that the source of the sound isn’t a guitar but, in fact, one of the synthesizer modules. “It’s the second module you see: ‘Rings,” he explains in response to a viewer’s question, “that is able to produce those guitars and other string type instrumentsï»¿.” He’s referring to the second module in from the left. That tone is heard here as a fairly realistic element, a largely single-line melody that traverses, deep in a lightly warbly echo, an increasingly static-lined zone. The harshness of that latter, low-fidelity noise provides a contrasting atmosphere to the gentle tones of the guitar-like material. Beny is a master of deceptively simple music whose quietude is matched by its attention to detail and its emotional richness, and this live performance is a fine example of what he’s capable of. If this piece strikes your fancy, another live performance featuring the guitar-like module is his “Spring in Blue”:
Video originally posted at R Beny’s YouTube channel.. It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.” More from R Beny, aka Austin Cairns of the San Francisco Bay Area, at rbeny.bandcamp.com and soundcloud.com/rbeny.
A house show in Chicago
This may not be the same Cinchel performance, a “house show,” I caught glimpse of on Periscope a few months back. That piece was softer, more practice-like, more as if we were peering over his shoulder as he worked through new and old techniques. This piece, nearly 13-minutes live, is commanding, as he pushes his electric guitar through (largely) off-screen pedals and software, milking chords for their densely layered, drone-cum-shoegaze intensity. An occasional glimpse of a shoulder and hair suggests this was, indeed, a performance with an audience. It’s authoritative stuff, and a great example of the way ambient/noise guitar — the piece regularly edges past the zen comfort zone of purely blissful music — is as much about the live processing as it is about handling the six-string.
It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.” Video originally posted at the youtube.com channel of Seijin Lee. More from Cinchel, aka Jason Shanley of Chicago, Illinois, at twitter.com/cinchel, cinchel.bandcamp.com, and cinchel.com.