New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

A Little Imaginary Proto-Techno

Tribal music before and after technology, from Certain Creatures

The recent Certain Creatures album takes its title, as did its predecessor, from a mystical term with Sanskrit origins. Back in 2015, it was Vipassana (on the Styles Upon Styles label). This time around it’s Nasadiya Sukta (Mysteries of the Deep), or the Hymn of Creation. Like a lot of origin myths, the new album, released the first week of January 2018, is at its most mysterious, at its most amorphous, at its most singular, when it first begins — before reality emerges, before reality sets in.

The opening track on Nasadiya Sukta, “Cross Star Woman,” starts with thuddy gongs that usher in a dark, wet sonic space, deep with echoes that, as the track proceeds, push at distant, unseen contours. A chanting vocal, a muffled bit of finger percussion, and slow, syncopated beats slowly consume that gong. A door opens and closes and opens again. Perhaps it’s one door, perhaps several down a long corridor. Maybe it’s a trick of mirrors, and it’s the same door over and over. (There’s also a plinky IDM nod to Selected Ambient Works-era Aphex twin as the track comes to a close.)

Only in retrospect, over the course of the full album, does the techno-primitivism of that first track become evident. In subsequent pieces, the analog sounds of doors, percussion, and voice give way to more industrialized alternatives. “Nyau Dust” has a similar ghostly-noise backdrop to “Cross Star Woman,” but introduce far more synthesized effects, all throbby synths and digital snares. “Golden Circle” layers in a modulating keyboard part and the carefully plotted drama-via-layers of club music. All the subsequent tracks, from the thriller-cinema pacing of “We Live Inside a Dream” to the squelchy dub of “Tachyon,” trace a not dissimilar pattern to “Cross Star Woman” but do so with a more evidently synthesized vocabulary, often as much techno, at times with synth-pop flavoring. To go back and listen to “Cross Star Woman” after taking in the album in full is to hear that opening track as a kind of pre-historical techno, an imagined tribal ceremony before the fall.

Certain Creatures is Brooklyn-based musician Oliver Chapoy, formerly of Warm Ghost and Saxon Shore. He’s also played with the metal band Shai Hulud. Album available at More at and

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Leave a comment ]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Subscribe without commenting

  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website 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

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe

  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly ( at Gray Area (
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • 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.
    • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at

  • 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).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    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.

    Recent Projects

  • 0548 / Drone Vox / The Assignment: Make a drone using just your voice.
    0547 / Genre Melee / Combine two seemingly different genres.
    0546 / Code Notes / The Assignment: Make music that includes a secret message.
    0545 / Unself-Awareness / The Assignment: Learn from feedback intended for others.
    0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 548 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts