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. • Disquiet.com 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.

Monthly Archives: March 2018

The Ends of the Spectrum

An industrial drone from Beathaven

“Spirit” is credited to Beathaven, whose avatar is the piercing visage of a supermodel, while the track’s cover image is an uncanny valley of human destitution drawn from the work of photographer Antanas Sutkus. The music emits the sleek, focused ferocity of the former and the abject sentiment of the latter. The sole accompanying note to the track is a mere six letters, “beauty,” suggesting the subject at hand is located at both ends of the spectrum, and perhaps not in between.

As for “Sprit,” is is a highly accomplished industrial drone, with all the gears in the foreground, the chatter of the factory reduced to a corroded through-line of rhythmic abrasives. There are occasions when the sparks fly, and others when the hum overcomes the machinations. The overall effect is of a creaky manufacturing plant left to long-running, deeply rooted, and long-unquestioned protocols, entirely devoid of purpose beyond its own continued functioning. Which is to say, it’s quite beautiful.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/606303, which is the Beathaven account. Beathaven’s releases have appeared on the English label Midievil Records, more from whom at midievil-records.bandcamp.com.

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More Celestial Than Aquatic

An ambient track by Croatia-based the Monk by the Sea

The Monk by the Sea is the name under which Ivan Ujevic of Zagreb, Croatia, records lush ambient music, often guitar-based. Presumably the “sea” in question is the Adriatic, which separates Croatia from Italy. In a new track titled “Lost at Sea,” the Monk by the Sea ventures into a spectral zone, a purely imaginary space, one that feels more celestial than aquatic. When the piece first opens, the familiar pluck of an electric guitar and the effects of backward-masking — already a nostalgic technological touch when employed by rock musicians in the 1960s, and these days doubly so — are easily recognizable. Yet as the work moves forward, those sounds get lost in — more to the point, those sounds expand to become — a vast shuddering spectacle, a voluminous shimmer that drones on like the sonic equivalent of the horizon.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/themonkbythesea. More from Ujevic at twitter.com/UjevicIvan, YouTube, and themonkbythesea.bandcamp.com.

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Cartographic Misdirection

A one-synth video from r beny

When first pulled up on its YouTube page, this video from musician r beny invokes a bit of cartographic misdirection. In the center of the frame is a single black box. The box is packed with knobs and buttons as well as a small, bright screen, which is itself packed with little icons. To the right of the box, in view when beny’s left hand isn’t, is a piece of paper with two columns of information. The circles and triangles on the paper bear more than a small resemblance to what is cycling through on the screen.

It’s not uncommon for musicians, beny included, to post videos of their early experiments with new (or at least new-to-them) equipment, so it would be entirely rational to interpret this piece of paper as a page from the device’s instruction manual, a reference as beny lets the lovely music unfold. The track, titled “Fall Creek Unit,” begins with a little melody against a backdrop of white noise. That melody in turn doubles and triples, notes falling into each other and out of pace until, as the piece nears its end after seven and a half minutes, those individual instances have been almost fully subsumed into a gentle cloud of soft tonality.

And if, at some point, you pull the video into full-screen mode, those two columns of icons are revealed to be not the instructions for the electronic music device on which the tune is being performed, but instead the legend for a larger map on which the device has been placed.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at r beny’s YouTube channel. More from r beny, aka San Francisco Bay Area resident Austin Cairns, at rbeny.bandcamp.com and soundcloud.com/rbeny.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0324: Factory Floor

Make music for newsrooms, design studios, and other collaborative workplaces.

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.

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

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, March 19, 2018. This project was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, March 15, 2018.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0324: Factory Floor
Make music for newsrooms, design studios, and other collaborative workplaces.

Step 1: This is the latest in a series of Junto projects about background music. Consider what sort of music is appropriate for collaborative workplaces, such as newsrooms, design studios, software development teams, and so forth. Think about music that (1) isn’t distracting and (2) suggests momentum.

Step 2: Record a piece of music that applies the thinking arising from Step 1, and that makes sense played on repeat or as part of an imagined playlist of like-minded compositions. The length is up to you, but consider keeping it between three minutes and six minutes.

Background: This project is somewhat similar to another recent project that was part of the background-music series. In this case, to probe the concept further, most of the previously proposed constraints have been removed.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0324” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0324” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Please consider posting your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0324-factory-floor/

Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Other Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, March 19, 2018. This project was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, March 15, 2018.

Length: The length is up to you. Between three and six minutes seems about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0324” 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 324th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Factory Floor: Make music for newsrooms, design studios, and other collaborative workplaces) at:

https://disquiet.com/0324/

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-0324-factory-floor/

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

The image associated with this project is by kenmainr and is used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/dPaQ96

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

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Depth of Field

Guitar + modular, via Australia-based Betsy Hammer

A post shared by Betty Hammer (@betty.hammer) on

This brief Instagram clip from Betty Hammer — aka Liesl Hazelton — shows her performing electric guitar, in the background, through an array of synthesizer modules, in the foreground. That depth of field serves as well to describe the music. You can see her hands playing the guitar, but by the time it reachers your ear those modules have done a lot to the source audio, pushing it from a simple plucked string to something more like a Caribbean steel drum played at the very far end of a long metal corridor. Meanwhile the synth is deploying its own snare beat, the pace evident in the soft red light that is as large as Hammer’s hand.

Clip originally posted at Hammer’s Instagram page. More from Hammer, who lives on Norfolk Island, Australia, at lieslhazelton.com.

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