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: November 2017

Disquiet Junto Project 0309: Military Matrix Mixer

Mix music according to a military standard for relative message clarity.

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.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, December 4, 2017. This project was posted in the evening, California time, on Thursday, November 30, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0309: Military Matrix Mixer
Mix music according to a military standard for relative message clarity.

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the concept of “five by five,” in which five “readability” levels and five “signal strength” levels are aligned in a matrix. Messages are rated from 1 to 5 in readability (unreadable, readable now and then, readable but with difficulty, readable, perfectly readable) and from 1 to 5 in signal strength (scarcely perceptible, weak, fairly good, good, very good).

Step 2: If you’re not familiar with the concept of a matrix mixer, familiarize yourself with it.

Step 3: Imagine a matrix mixer whose X axis and Y axis align with the concept of “five by five” described in Step 1.

Step 4: Create a piece of music that is mixed over the course of its duration in a way that explores the various intersections of a hypothetical “five by five” matrix mixer.

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 “disquiet0309” (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-0309-military-matrix-mixer/

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, December 4, 2017. This project was posted in the evening, California time, on Thursday, November 30, 2017.

Length: Five minutes makes sense, but it’s up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0309” 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 309th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Military Matrix Mixer: Mix music according to a military standard for relative message clarity) at:

https://disquiet.com/0309/

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-0309-military-matrix-mixer/

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

Image associated with this project is a detail of the cover of the FM 24-6 Radio Operator’s Manual, Army Ground Forces, June 1945, courtesy of the Internet Archive:

https://archive.org/details/Fm24-6

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Disquiet Junto Project 0308: Giving Thanks

Write a short piece of music for a person or thing you're thankful for.

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.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, November 27, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

Tracks will be added to this 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 0308: Giving Thanks
Write a short piece of music for a person or thing you’re thankful for.

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. To keep it brief, I always think of Thanksgiving as an inherently Junto holiday, for various reasons, key among them its focus on the turkey, which Benjamin Franklin once upon a time proposed as the national bird of the then-nascent U.S. (Spoiler: the country went with the eagle.) Of course, it was Franklin’s use of the word Junto in the early 1720s that served as the basis of our music community.

Step 1: Think of someone (a friend, family member, etc.) you’re thankful for, or perhaps a thing (an instrument, an institution, a local business, etc.).

Step 2: Write a short piece of music dedicated to the subject you focused on in Step 1.

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 “disquiet0308” (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-0308-giving-thanks/

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, November 27, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

Length: Somewhere under 5 minutes seems about right, but it’s up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0308” 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 308th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Giving Thanks: Write a short piece of music for a person or thing you’re thankful for) at:

https://disquiet.com/0308/

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-0308-giving-thanks/

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 Lew Holzman and used via Flickr thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/8ZofLU

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

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Disquiet Junto Project 0307: Black and White and Punk All Over

Pay tribute to the Sex Pistols on the 40th anniversary of Never Mind the Bollocks.

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.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, November 20, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, November 16, 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 tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0307: Black and White and Punk All Over
Pay tribute to the Sex Pistols on the 40th anniversary of Never Mind the Bollocks.

It’s the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ 1977 album Never Mind the Bollocks, a punk origin point if ever there were one. Of course, punk can be traced both forward and further back, not just back to the prior urtexts of the Ramones, but further still to Dada, to the Situationist International. To explore punk continuity, and borrowing from Greil Marcus’ Lipstick Traces, we’re going to use a classic Situationist film, Hurlements en faveur de Sade, as a starting point. The whole thing is streamable here:

Note that Hurlements has no visual component outside of a white and black screen: when the screen is white, people speak; when it is black, there is silence.

Major thanks to Zero Meaning, Toaster, and Jason Wehmhoener for leading the way in developing this prompt.

Step 1: Think about what “punk” means to you. The word has mutated over time, and can embody something as specific as instrumentation and recording, and as broad as a spirit, an approach, a philosophy. It’s both a source of inspiration and a nexus of conflicted debate. Keep your sense of punk in mind as you follow the remaining steps.

Step 2: Choose a length for your project. Somewhere under 5 minutes should do fine.

Step 3: Using chance methods, divide that length into segments. A minimum of one segment per minute should keep things interesting, though certainly feel free to use more or fewer segments.

Step 4: Label your first segment “white” and your second “black” and your third “white” and, per Hurlement, continue to alternate labels until all the segments are labeled.

Step 5: Choose two sets of instruments (or, more broadly defined, sound sources). If you don’t have access to more than one instrument, then vary the playing approach (plucking vs. bowing, chords vs. single notes, different patches on a single synth, etc.). Label one set “white” and the other “black.” Do not use any of the same instruments/methods in the “white” sections that you use in the “black” sections. The amount of cohesion between the segments is up to you, but keep the instrumentation the same in each.

Step 6: Now, jam econo. Record an original piece of music in the simplest way possible, using only white instruments in the white segments and black instruments in the black segments. Consider something more lo-fi than you might normally use.

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 “disquiet0307” (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-0307-black-and-white-and-punk-all-over/

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, November 20, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, November 16, 2017.

Length: Somewhere under 5 minutes seems about right, but it’s up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0307” 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 307th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“Black and White and Punk All Over: Pay tribute to the Sex Pistols on the 40th anniversary of Never Mind the Bollocks.) at:

https://disquiet.com/0307/

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-0307-black-and-white-and-punk-all-over/

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

Photo associated with this project is a detail of an image by Koen Suyk used via Wikipedia thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://goo.gl/RVqKBY

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What Sound Looks Like

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

Much has happened over time at this address, at these addresses, at this location, this building, this structure. Sure, there can be a slight sense of dislocation along any given stretch of street as odd numbers are skipped on the even side of the block, and vice versa on the opposing — how the resulting rough congruences leave open potential voids, missing numbers, interstitial spaces that prove, upon investigation, either purely hypothetical or hidden in plain sight.

But this multi-residence doorbell is something else entirely. Here there is a 1236, and then a 1238A, and also something missing, something forgotten, something erased. Where, to begin with, is the 1238 whose former presence required the “A” to be appended to a separate unit? What was the room to the right of 1236, a space now taped over, not just the label but the button itself? What’s the extra bit of tape above 1236 — what information did it exhibit? Why did 1238A get added on later, using embossed label tape, rather than appear as part of the original doorbell? And finally, what is referenced by the blue tape residue atop the brown metal strip above the buttons? Was there some previous configuration?

In any case, at some point do let the myriad inherent questions recede and take some pleasure in the happenstance construction of the object itself. Blow up the image, marvel at the various textures, and revel at the readymade, Robert Rauschenberg-seeming piece that the world — which is to say: lack of care, combined with time, combined with a need to solve some now deeply obscured problems — has served up.

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

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303 + 606 = Punctum

Caterina Barbieri and Carlo Maria have their new ways with old tools.

Punctum is the duo of Caterina Barbieri and Carlo Maria working with old electronic equipment in new ways. On Remote Sensing they take their start with hallowed Roland boxes dating from the early 1980s, namely the TB-303 and the TR-606. Barbieri and Maria then pair and filter these artifacts with additional equipment. The result is heavily punctuated beats that echo with a fierce, vibrant, rhythmic intent.

On “Uncharted,” each foregrounded plunk is refracted with a sturdy, antiseptic repetition. That hard-rubbery effect is magnified on “Quick Botta,” where it provides a bottom level to an ever-rising sequence of 4/4 tribal efficiency, and on “Innocecocchito,” which is a quarter the speed and all the more chilly for it. On “Innocecocchito,” that same brittle decay is the sound of a hospital ward experienced through heavy sedation and half-dead fluorescent lights — which is to say, its glorious in its stubborn fragility.

Album available at caterinabarbieri.bandcamp.com. More from Barieri at caterinabarbieri.com and Maria at carlomaria.bandcamp.com. Image from ziguline.com.

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