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.
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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Disquiet Junto Project 0296: Clustered Primes

Make music inspired by a prime-number query initiated by novelist Robin Sloan.

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.

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, September 4, 2017. This project was posted in evening, California time, on Thursday, August 31, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0296: Clustered Primes
Make music inspired by a prime-number query initiated by novelist Robin Sloan.

Step 1: The source material for this week’s project is a list of prime numbers. The list is the result of a contest that novelist Robin Sloan ran recently. In advance of the release of his new novel, Sourdough, which will be published on September 5, Sloan asked readers of his email newsletter to compete for an advance copy by submitting a prime number. The people who submitted the lowest prime numbers — and this next bit is important — that no one else submitted won a copy of the book. With that in mind, take a gander at the resulting CSV file of prime numbers here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1l9r1uncsmos0u0/primecountsmay2017.csv?dl=0

Step 2: Note that the CSV file has two columns of numbers. The column on the left shows the prime number. The column on the right shows the number of people who submitted the prime number on the left. Thus, 17 people submitted the number 2, 10 people submitted the number 3, and so on. The lowest prime number submitted by one person was 409, then several numbers were submitted by multiple people until you get to 467, and then two more were multiple submissions, but then you get three single submissions in a row: 491, 499, and 503. Just spend some time looking at the numbers for patterns — not just the patterns suggested by the primes, but the patterns in the social context, the clusters of submissions and what they say about people’s sense of the competition.

Step 3: Make a piece of music that somehow draws inspiration from the CSV file and from your perception of patterns.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0296” (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:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0296-clustered-primes/

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.

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, September 4, 2017. This project was posted in early evening, California time, on Thursday, August 31, 2017.

Length: The length is up to you. Bonus points, of course, if the minutes and seconds of the finished work read as a prime number.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0296” 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 296th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Clustered Primes: Make music inspired by a prime-number query initiated by novelist Robin Sloan — at:

https://disquiet.com/0296/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

More from Robin Sloan at:

https://www.robinsloan.com/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

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

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0296-clustered-primes/

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

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Disquiet Junto Project 0295: Disregard Echoes

Make music inspired by a haiku, reflecting on Australian history.

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 the above playlist for the duration of the project.

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 28, 2017. This project was posted in early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 24, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0295: Disregard Echoes
Make music inspired by a haiku, reflecting on Australian history.

This week’s project is a collaboration with Naviar Records and Western Riverina Arts, spearheaded by longtime Junto participant Jason Richardson. The results will contribute to an exhibition in the town of Narrandera during October that incorporates haiku describing local scenes.

Step 1: Consider the following haiku:

Poisoned Waterhole:
Violent disregard echoes.
Keenly felt today.

Step 2: Write a piece of music inspired by that haiku, which was written by Peita Vincent.

Background: This project is the brainchild of Jason Richardson. He has encouraged members of the community to write haiku describing local scenes. Those haiku have been turned into music as part of Naviar Records’ weekly Naviar Haiku series. The resulting recordings will join the haiku, photography and a textile exhibition Slow Book Haiku by Kelly Leonard Weaving and Greg Pritchard. There are also plans for Naviar Records to develop a CD featuring a selection of recordings. While the image of a poisoned waterhole speaks to many environmental concerns, the location earned its name during the “Frontier Wars” of the early 19th Century when the indigenous Wiradjuri people resisted European settlement. In the 1830s, several groups of Aboriginal families used to camp by the waterhole. Annoyed and eager to get rid of them, the local homestead owner poured drums of poison into the waterhole, killing many of them. This discussion comes as contemporary Australia reconciles colonial history.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0295” (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:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0295-disregard-echoes/

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’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 28, 2017. This project was posted in early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 24, 2017.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0295” 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 295th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Disregard Echoes: Make music inspired by a haiku, reflecting on Australian history — at:

https://disquiet.com/0295/

Thanks to Jason Richardson, who proposed the project; Naviar Records, which is collaborating with Richardson on a series of haiku, as part of the ongoing Naviar Haiku community; Peita Vincent, who wrote this haiku; and Western Riverina Arts, which is hosting an exhibit that will include music from the haiku series.

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:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0295-disregard-echoes/

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

Photo associated with this project is by Jason Richardson.

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Synthesizer Etudes

Including one sedate aural terrarium

Eric Kuehnl has released a second collection of short modular synthesizer pieces. It’s titled Modular Etudes — Volume 2 and contains five pieces, ranging from gurgling drones that unfold into what suggests pizzicato strings, to escapades in sound design for what might be a rough draft of a claustrophobic science fiction tale. One hallmark of the pieces is their range of sounds. Most of them contain clearly contrasting elements, like the varied percussion in “Mod_06.11.17” (presumably the titles are dates) and the mix of percussion and an alarm-like presence in “Mod_06.20.17.” Even the set’s most sedate piece, “Mod_07.20.17,” the one that earns the #ambient tag that Kuehnl affixed to the SoundCloud upload, is still quite sonically diverse, a little aural terrarium packed with life forms.

Get the full collection at soundcloud.com/erickuehnl. More from Kuehnl, who is based in Berkeley, California, at erickuehnl.com.

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Olivia Block Welcomes the Eclipse

With an archival piece recorded for the NNA label

The slowly rising, cicadas-in-heat, increasingly crunchy, white-noise opening of Olivia Block’s “Aberration of Light” sets the stage for the 30-minute sonic experience that follows. Originally released on the NNA label back in 2015, the piece was posted by Block on her SoundCloud page today, timed to the solar eclipse. The music originated earlier still, back in 2011, as a four-speaker installation. The white noise ebbs and flows as the piece proceeds, enhanced by, per the NNA writeup, a modest but grounding horn section comprised of James Falzone (clarinet) and Jason Stein (bass clarinet). For some time it is riotous, and then reduced to an eerie hum, like wind across a vast prairie. At others it is richly tonal, as when those two clarinets weigh in with deep drones that eventually engage in threatening levels of fierce patterning. As it comes to its close, that sense of impending violence — whether in the void of near silence or the tension of layered drones — breaks free into full-on tumult.

More on the composition at the website of the releasing label, nnatapes.com. More from Block, who is based in Chicago, at oliviablock.net and twitter.com/oliviablock.

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Aphex Twin Details SAW2 Recordings

Anecdotes appear on the aphextwin.warp.net webstore

Aphex Twin recently debuted his own online shop, where he’s making available not only high-fidelity audio of past releases, but also candid insights into those recordings. The site is at aphextwin.warp.net. It’s been slowly accumulating his Warp releases, and even music from his own label, Rephlex. The store includes not only recordings released by Richard D. James under the name Aphex Twin, but also under such monikers as GAK, afx, Polygon Window, and the Tuss. And the releases aren’t merely archival. Included is an expanded version of the recent collection of experiments with the Korg Minilogue synth, on whose development James consulted.

In addition to the tracks themselves, streamable online and available for purchased download, there are occasional bits of information. Some of them are simply humorous (a demo for a Japanese extra on 1999’s Windowlicker is tagged “You should not drink and take Antibiotics”), and others more informative, or at least semi-informative (an extra track on 2014’s Syro is tagged “Missing track from Syro, didn’t make it for technical and personal reasons. Drums were made on FOUR customised mid-racked Pearl syncussions, thanks to Colin Fraser and Tony Allgood”).

The site has a mix of certitude and silliness that feels like Richard D. James’ hallmark. For individual tracks you don’t click on a “purchase” or “buy” link, for example; instead you click on a link that reads “Cherish.” On each page, there’s a different joke term for whether you buy the “lossless” or more standard 320 mbps version of an album (these include “No guilty conscience,” “Possess,” “Nab,” “Casket,” and “Part with money,” among others).

The audience for this information is often musicians more than just Aphex Twin listeners. A video was added for the Drukqs track “Vordhosbn,” showing its underlying software in action (the goings-on are detailed by David Abravanelat at cdm.link).

The site didn’t launch fully formed. There was initially a mention that Rephlex releases would show up, and eventually some began to. And it doesn’t appear simply to be a matter of accrual. Things are changing as well. When the site first launched there were little colorful tags next to the new tracks that were being added to various albums. Those extra tracks remain, but the icon callouts are gone.

And, fortunately, among the albums benefitting from liner notes is Selected Ambient Works Volume II, his landmark ambient album, about which I wrote a book in the 33 1/3 series, published in 2014. So far four of the tracks on the record have got little bits of additional info. The full 25 tracks are available for download, rather than the 23 or 24 that plagued discographies for years, but the discography confusion has also been added to, thanks to the appearance of a new, 26th track, an 11-minute-long piece titled “th1 [evnslower].”

Here are the Selected Ambient Works Volume II liner notes that have appeared thus far, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for additions as time passes:

Track 13: “Blue Calx”

Recorded in Linmiri [Lannerlog bedroom studio], probably the last track I ever recorded in that house, quite fitting really, end of that era. I made it when coming back to visit my parents in Cornwall after moving away to go to college to do a degree in microelectronic engineering, which I thankfully never finished, was so boring, always preferred teaching myself, so much more satisfying, letting your mind wander where it needs to go. I heard Derrick May pressed this up onto vinyl so he could DJ it, I wonder if that was true?

Track 19 (“side 5, track 2, omitted from CD’s”) — otherwise known as “Stone in Focus”:

This track has now thankfully been found and uploaded here, I was very worried it had been lost, very relieved*** It was not included on the original CD’s as there wasn’t enough room. I usually always give priority to the vinyl versions of all my releases as I never ever really liked CD’s much, think I would have liked CD’s a little bit more if you could put 90 mins on them, who decided they were to be 74 mins anyway? Thinking about this now I’d love to try and get Warp to do high quality chrome cassette versions of all my Warp musics, maybe even metal ones if possible. If I wait a year or so for this I could include all the extras on the cassettes as there would be plenty of room, would have to sign the tracks over to Warp first for a physical release, something I don’t have to do for this website but that shouldn’t be too difficult.

Track 22 — otherwise known as “Spots”

Someone I used to know, you know who you are, worked as a cleaner in a police station and kindly pinched me a police interview tape. It was with a woman who murdered her husband, it’s the background audio in this track.

Track 23 — otherwise known as “Tassels”

featuring an EMS synthi ‘a’, mk1, Studiomaster star mixer, recorded 184 Southgate road, 1st floor, London. Bought the synthi when I was about 19 from Robin wood at ems, Ladock, Cornwall. Saved all my money for it for a long time, one of the first synths I ever bought and I know that machine inside and out, magical piece of equipment, always felt like it was made specially for me.

Visit the Aphex Twin site at aphextwin.warp.net.

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