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

Monthly Archives: September 2017

Disquiet Junto Project 0300: The 300th Project

3 chords x 100 seconds

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 (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, October 2, 2017. This project was posted in the late morning, San Francisco time, on Thursday, September 28, 2017.

Tracks will be added to the above 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 0300: The 300th Project
3 chords x 100 seconds

Step 1: For the 300th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project, choose a chord. Read the 6 steps of these instructions all the way through before making a decisions about instrumentation (Step 2) or recording (Steps 3 and 4). Understanding the intended end result will potentially influence those decisions.

Step 2: Choose three different instruments on which to play the chord selected in Step 1.

Step 3: Record yourself playing for 100 seconds that chord on the first of the instruments you chose in Step 2. You may want to record slightly longer than 100 seconds and edit back. Not every instrument has infinite sustain. You may need to use different techniques (strumming, sequencing, preparing, etc.) to achieve the 100 seconds. Consider those different techniques and the role they’ll have in the resulting sound.

Step 4: Repeat Step 3 for each of the other two instruments from Step 2. Consider how the three instruments, as well as the techniques you employ to play them, will correlate with each other.

Step 5: Layer the three tracks you have recorded. Perhaps fade in at the start and out at the end.

Step 6: Bonus round: Your piece is completed, but if you have the time and interest, consider subtly tweaking with filters and other means one or more of the three track you recorded.

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 “disquiet0300” (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-the-300th-consecutive-weekly-project/

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 (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, October 2, 2017. This project was posted in the afternoon, San Francisco time, on Thursday, September 28, 2017.

Length: The finished track should be roughly 100 seconds long.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0300” 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 300th weekly Disquiet Junto project (3 chords x 100 seconds) at:

https://disquiet.com/0300/

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-the-300th-consecutive-weekly-project/

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

Image associated with this project is by Greg Williams is used thanks to a Creative Commons license allowing for non-commercial use and adaptation:

flic.kr/p/9U68Ep

creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

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Augmented Japanese Neo-Classical

From Shinji Wakasa, straight outta Yokosuka

The neo-classical piano at the start of Shinji Wakasa’s track “Swimmy” is lovely enough unto itself, a gentle line heard as if through a felt screen, not so much muffled as it is coddled and framed, softened and nestled. And then the light transformations are introduced, wisps of synthesizer flourishes, backward masks that merge with the sound source, fibrous shoots of sound that for mere moments seem to fix the nostalgic melody in something more proximate to the present. And then the past forges back into the foreground. The synthesis isn’t so much evidence of a hybrid as it is of an augment, an upgrade, a fissure. It’s absolutely beautiful.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/user-666602380. More from Shinji Wakasa, aka Hitsuji Sound Factory, who is based in Yokosuka, Japan, at hitsujisound.com.

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Lightbath’s Percussive Reverberations

A bit of what Emily Sprague praised in the Sound + Process podcast

In her interview as part of the Sound + Process podcast, Emily Sprague mentioned two musicians as inspirations for her, one of them being Lightbath, aka Bryan Noll. She was speaking in particular about Lightbath’s videos, in the context of videos with a certain aesthetic that she found comforting if rare — which is to say, not all 4/4, not techno, not noisey, not songy, not purely noodling; instead: soft, ambient, and ever so slightly melodic. She doesn’t specifically say those things; that’s an aesthetic triangulation on my part based on what Sprague’s music often sounds like, and what Lightbath and the other musician whose videos she mentioned, R Beny, are generally up to.

This track, while quite rhythmic, is a good example of Lightbath in action. Titled “Forgiveness,” it has a very organic sounding percussive undercurrent. The beat brings to mind African talking drums, above which sharp, plucked notes slowly fill the audio spectrum with extended reverberations. I’ve posted the audio, from SoundCloud, up top, and the video below to encourage giving it a listen before watching the piece unfold. Like many modular performances, there is far less going on than we actually hear. With notable exceptions, of course, modular performance is often more a matter of coaxing, nudging, and shifting than it is of what we have come to traditionally think of as “playing.” That sedate composerly presence isn’t always reflected in the sound, but it certainly is here.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/lightbath. More from Lightbath/Noll at lightbath.com and twitter.com/lightbath.

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Olga Palomäki Makes Sonic Spaces for Dark Stories

A work of ever-shifting sound design by the Helsinki-based musician

Olga Palomäki’s piercing, churning, often frightening “Groundwork” transforms everyday noise into something bracing and enigmatic. It’s urban cacophony rendered as a hyperreal installation. It’s echoes in which the original source audio is entirely lost to the hall of sonic mirrors. What for a moment is just rain on a heavily trafficked street is suddenly a warped blanket of strangeness. The humming of a tunnel is suddenly a zombie chorus. Industrial clanging proceeds as the sense of scale sways from skyscraper cladding to slide-door rattling. The end effect is prime cinema for the ear, not necessarily telling stories, but laying out the scene for countless ones. It lacks the metronomic pulse of minimal techno, the nihilism of overt noise music, and the utility of a generic sound design cue. It’s its own thing, its own unnerving place, its own richly detailed setting.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/olgapalomaki. More from Palomäki, who is based in Helsinki, Finland, at olgapalomaki.net and vimeo.com.

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What Sound Looks Like

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


Used record stores have their own logic, both fluid and impenetrable.

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

  • 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

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    • There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the 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.
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  • 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.

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  • 0554 / Cage Chord / The Assignment: Riff on a chord by John Cage.
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    0552 / The Radio in My Life / The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation.
    0551 / The Bends / The Assignment: Get less strict about something you're strict about.
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