It’s been raining in the city. It’s been raining hard on and off for weeks. It’s been raining, and the wind has been knocking down trees. In certain neighborhoods the intense buzz of the chainsaw has become as common a sound as one imagines it to be in rural areas, or in horror movies for that matter. Construction sites in this boomtown have been forced to take days off. Repair vehicles are a frequent block to traffic. People are expressing, albeit in diplomatically hushed tones, that they miss the drought. The rain and wind do their fair share of damage, and of cleansing. The city streets shine at night. The reflection of bus taillights on soaked black tarmac casts red streaks the length of full blocks. Perhaps the elements are to blame, as well, for this blank slate of a doorbell. It’s quite common for dwellings to be marked at multi-unit entries with thick pens, or with little plastic tags affixed by tape. Maybe the rain washed it all away. Though, judging by the uniformity of the buttons, the prim white grid, this is more likely a fresh install. Supporting the impression is the bright grey of the faceplate, and the barren cavity where there might in the future be a doorknob. What visitors are supposed to do in advance of the association of buttons with apartments is an open question. It’s also difficult to imagine how the labels will fit in this design. The spacing is tight. The sense of a geometric grid will diminish should the numbers be placed below or beside each button. Should they be written on the buttons, they’ll be worn away by usage, by friction and sweat. No doubt the landlord is waiting for the inclement weather to pass before labeling the buttons. Soon enough the rain will end, or at least take an extended pause. And then, almost certainly, the implementation of mundane visual damage will begin.An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.
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.
• 0494 / Insect Menagerie / The Assignment: Record a 20-second clip of the sounds of an insect that you yourself have invented.
• 0493 / AudioCorrect / The Assignment: Think about the utility and the useful failures inherent in autocorrect and apply this to your music.
• 0492 / Kintsugi Rework / The Assignment: Employ the Japanese technique of mending broken ceramics as a metaphor for remixing.
• 0491 / Footsteps Sequencer / The Assignment: Compose a piece of music structured upon a walk through your home.
• 0490 / In Conversation / The Assignment: Compose a piece of music structured like dialog.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 494 consecutive weeks to date.
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