One of the great pleasures of listening to an active electronic musician for an extended period of time is observing how they bring new equipment into their orbit. There is the question of how that equipment, in turn, informs their work. There is also how they achieve their now familiar sounds with unfamiliar tools. The musician Dustmotes’ adoption of a new percussive-oriented sampler is a case in point. The London-based Dustmotes, also known as Paul Croker, has been making elegantly gritty instrumental hip-hop at least since 2011, which is the earliest credit on his discogs.com page, and also the first year I wrote about his music. His music often features a slightly drifting rhythm, a beat missed here, a tempo ebbing there. He regularly explores gentle sounds on well-circumscribed repeat against muffled beats. Playing with a new tool, the Elektron Digitakt, he recently posted a short video, which he dubbed a “Spontaneous live performance” in the brief accompanying note. It has all the modesty of his earlier work, with a newfound level of grit and glitch. The video was shot overhead, so you can watch as he goes. Even if you’re not familiar with the Digitakt’s interface, you can infer correspondences between action and sound — how a knob adds a new effect, or changes the pitch, or welcomes additional elements. It’s a great piece.
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
• August 15 - September 15, 2019: The Disquiet Junto is teaming up with Musikfestival Bern for a series of projects.
• August 29, 2019: This day marks the start of the 400th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project. It will be a collaboration with the novelist Malka Older.
• December 13, 2019: This day marks the 23rd anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2020: This day marks the 8th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• March 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 0398 / Rauschen Bern / The Assignment: Make music by making a collage of noises.
• 0397 / Numbers Racket / The Assignment: It's 808 Day. Do it up.
• 0396 / Front Page / The Assignment: Make music with by humming a song and then processing the humming.
• 0395 / Acoustic Expanse / The Assignment: Make music with (samples of) the biggest guitar in the southern hemisphere.
• 0394 / You & Me / The Assignment: Accompany the music made by a species other than your own.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 398 consecutive weeks to date.
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Most Recent Comments
Mahlen: "Regarding the Android comment: as you say, simultaneous audio is clearly already possible in Android. The..."
Dave Seidel: "Best subtitle ever. Thanks, Marc! "
Mala: "Dear Marc, it was a very interesting article that you have penned. Thank you for sharing your interview..."
Darwin Grosse: "I use random words – responding at the appropriate time with nonsensical words. “French..."
Mim: "This is a very helpful post coming at the right time for me. Thank you. "