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.
Composing in code.

Monthly Archives: October 2017

Music for an Aquatic Road Movie

France Jobin in collaboration with Stephan Mathieu

France Jobin and Stephan Mathieu composed this seven-part sequence, rich with sublimated internal motion, as the score to a film by Cedrick Eymenier, titled The Answer. Released in 2016 as part of Mathieu’s Radiance series, Music for the Answer opens with certain emotional intensity, a sense of expectation as the slow-motion sounds being to whirl. The recordings that follow more than rise to the occasion. The variety in the set is striking. There is the high-pitched whistle that serves as the through line amid “Sea Song V.” There are broken chimes on “The Answer,” those shards of glisten slowly merging into a nocturnal drone. There is the insect-like white noise cycling amid on “The Answer VII.” And there is what sounds like a irrevocably warped vinyl recording of horns in the dense, kaleidoscopic “Sea Song I.” Among all the tracks, texture is paramount, from soft shadings to hyper-detailed micro-fissures.

The trailer for Eymenier’s film is online. It’s been characterized as an “aquatic road movie,” and was shot Canal du Midi in the south of France:

France Jobin is a Montreal, Canada-based composer and curator, with albums on And/Oar, Line, Room 40, and other labels. Stephan Mathieu is a prolific German sound artist and musician who has recorded for 12k, Ritornell, Lucky Kitchen, and Editions Mego, among other labels. Both have exhibited numerous sound installation.

Album originally posted at More on Cedrick Eymenier’s The Answer at More from Jobin at her website,, and Mathieu at

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Interview for the 300th Disquiet Junto

Thanks to Caliper Music's Matt Ackerman

Back in early January 2012, when I first posted to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud, I wasn’t sure anyone would take me up on the compositional prompt I had in mind, or on the idea of compositional prompts for that matter. The prompt was, “Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it.” But people did take me up on it, and what was something of an experiment became an ongoing experiment — and then, two weeks ago, we celebrated the 300th consecutive Junto project. Each week I propose a composition as a series of steps, or instructions, and then musicians respond with tracks informed by the prompt. That is the Disquiet Junto in a nutshell.

On the occasion of the 300th Junto prompt, Matt Ackerman of the Caliper Music blog interviewed me about the Junto — about its origins, the role today of social media in music (and vice versa), keeping the prompts fresh, and my favorite sound, among other subjects. Here’s one segment of the interview:

C: What’s your favorite sound?

M: I tend to think of sound in context, not alone. I teach a course about the role of sound in the media landscape, and I structured the course that way because I didn’t want to do a sound studies project that suggested that sound must be considered in hermetic, theoretical isolation. The brain isn’t an anechoic chamber. If anything, it’s the opposite. If anything, we as humans are the opposite. Sound occurs in the context of the moment it resounds, in the way we experience it physically, and also amid the non-linear accumulation of personal and cultural associations it brings to mind. All of which said, if I had to choose one sound as a favorite, it would be the sound of ice in a glass. That is, specifically the sound of ice cubes put in a cold beverage, and especially when those cubes crackle and pop as they ever so slowly change composition. That sound is the subject of the very first Disquiet Junto, when I asked musicians to record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it. It was already a sound I liked. I drink a small glass of iced coffee every morning, always with a couple ice cubes in it. But because of what the Junto has become, that sound has become rich with personal meaning and associations, which have in turn reinforced it as a favorite, as a true touchstone. When I did the first Junto project, that sound was the subject of it because I liked the sound. Now every morning when I drink iced coffee, I think in turn of the Junto.

Read the full piece at Major thanks to Ackerman for having done this, especially for the gracious introduction he penned for the interview.

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Talking About Talking About and Working with Sound

Title slides from a presentation I gave last week

Last week I had a great opportunity to give a talk about various projects I’ve done in sound, from working on the score of Brett Marty’s science fiction film Youth with Marcus Fischer, Ted Laderas, and Paula Daunt; to teaching a course I designed for the Academy of Art here in San Francisco about the role of the sound in the media landscape; to helping a coffee shop make decisions about what music to play; to moderating the weekly compositional-prompt music community the Disquiet Junto; to editing comics for Tower Records’ Pulse! magazine, Red Bull Music Academy, and other publications. Those are some of the projects I walked through, and these are the title slides from my talk:

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Step Inside an Organ with Claire M Singer

Cello and electronics in hand

Step inside an organ, and then step inside one of its pipes, and then settle in for a spell. Listen as the pipes resound. Listen not just to the pipe you’re in, but to how it responds to the pipes around it, to the air current, to the shape of the majestic hall in which it resides. Listen further to the song that seems to form, out of the ether, from the beading tonalities of this magnificent mix of space and sound.

This is not how the music was made — no miniaturization was involved, no Fantastic Drone Voyage — but it is the sense of “Fairge,” an excerpt of which, two and a half minutes in all, has been posted at the website of the Touch label, It’s the title (and sole) track off Claire M Singer’s forthcoming release, due out on October 20. The track heard currently on that page is about 10 percent of the full piece, which was scored for organ, cello and electronics — as well, it seems, voice, since vocal tones certainly emerge from the heavenly backdrop Singer has summoned up. (Jack Chuter at also hears voices.)

“Fairge,” which is apparently Scottish Gaelic for “the ocean,” was composed for, and recorded in June of this year on, an organ installed at Oude Kerk, not only the oldest church in Amsterdam, but the city’s oldest building as well, dating back 800 years. The organ itself is far more recent, built in 1965.

Track originally posted at More from Claire M Singer at Image from

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Disquiet Junto Project 0302: Gronkytonk

Record a single in the genre introduced in Malka Older's novel Infomoracy.

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 16, 2017. This project was posted in the late morning, California time, on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0302: Gronkytonk
Record a single in the genre introduced in Malka Older’s novel Infomocrocy.

Step 1: There’s a genre of music called “gronkytonk” in Malka Older’s novel Infomocracy. You can see the word in context on this page:

Step 2: Consider what gronkytonk might sound like.

Step 3: Record a gronkytonk single.

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 “disquiet0302” (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 please consider posting your track:

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 16, 2017. This project was posted in the late morning, California time, on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

Length: The finished track’s length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0302” 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 302nd weekly Disquiet Junto project (“Gronkytonk: Record a single in the genre introduced in Malka Older’s novel Infomocracy) at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

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

Photo associated with this project is by Michael Banabila. It’s used via Flickr thanks to a Creative Commons license:

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