Jana Rockstroh, the German musician who records simply as Jaja, composed and performed Music for Space Observation after hours as 2017 was easing into 2018. It was released the first day of the new year. The album contains three longform tracks, each between 22 and 30 minutes, of slow-paced ambient music. As the title suggests, this is space music: outer, inner, room-filling, head-expanding. It’s all loose sine waves given seconds — and, seemingly, eons — to chart their course. Slight modulations lend a sense of development to the glacial tones, texture provides a richness sometimes lost in synth-heavy work, and layers (especially on the opening track, “Far Beyond the Realm of the Stars”) introduce metric play even when there is no self-evident rhythm. While the first two pieces (“Far Beyond” and “Earthrise Over the Moon”) are often lovely and soft, the closing piece, “In the Realm of the Nebulae,” ventures into darker corners of the evening sky, as white noise and urgent drones threaten to encompass the listener.
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Robert Gable: "Classical Pulse had slipped my mine. I remember at the time thinking that Robert Levine listened to a..."
Ian Joyce: "Thank you Marc for such a lovely and thoughtful review! "
Debashis Sinha: "Thanks so much for this Marc – spot on analysis. You nailed it exactly. "
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• January 2, 2018: This day marks the 6th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• February 7, 2018: Start of the semester for the course I teach on the role of sound in the media landscape at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
• December 13, 2018: This day marked the 22nd anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• Ongoing: 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, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury, is now in its second printing. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
The Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects:
• 0329 / Extended Version / Make a piece of music in which you expand the functionality of an instrument — and document your technique.
• 0328 / Sonic Pentimento / Record a piece of music inspired by a term from painting.
• 0327 / Time Zoned / Create a piece of music that is simultaneously in 3/4, 2/4, and 7/4 time.
• 0326 / Wave Turntable / In collaboration with composer Danny Clay, make music for his exhibit with artist Jon Fischer using only sine waves and turntable surface noise.
• 0325 / Fake Book / Make a forgery of an old jazz song by using samples from three Edison cylinders.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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