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: July 2018

Stasis Report: Thomas Fehlmann ✚ Laurel Halo ✚ More

Six new tracks added to the ambient Spotify playlist as of July 15, 2018

The latest update to my Stasis Report ambient-music playlist on Spotify, on Sunday, July 15, added the following six tracks:

Thomas Fehlmann and Terrence Dixon‘s “Landline” is the one track off their recent We Take It From Here, out in April but only just this week appearing on Spotify, that dispenses with beats in favor of something entirely atmospheric. It’s also the final of the album’s six tracks, sort of reinforcing ambient techno’s role as after-party/VIP-lounge music. It’s on the Tresor label.

✚ “Raw Silk Uncut Wood” is the title track off the new Laurel Halo album (laurelhalo.com), released this past week on the Latency label (latency.fr).

✚ “Saying Goodbye” and “Where Are the Boys” are two tracks from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis‘ score for Kings, directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Mustang) and starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig. It was released recently on Milan Records. Ellis, a member of Cave’s band the Bad Seeds, did the score to the new Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti docudrama, starring Vincent Cassel in the title role, but it’s not streaming yet (it is on YouTube).

✚ “Musles” is off How We Fall, the new J.Peter Schwalm album on RareNoiseRecords (rarenoiserecords.com). It features Eivind Aarset (Jon Hassell, Nils Petter Molvaer) on guitar and Tim Harries (Bill Bruford’s Earthworks, Steeleye Span) on bass. They were also on Schwalm’s previous album, The Beauty Of Disaster (2016).

Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie (A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Stars of the Lid) scored the new Whitney Houston documentary, Whitney, from director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void), but it’s not streaming yet. So, in the meanwhile, this is the end-credits cue from Wiltzie’s score to the 2015 film Salero.

Some previous Stasis Report tracks were removed to make room for these, keeping the playlist length to roughly an hour and a half. Those tracks are now in the Stasis Archives playlist.

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This Week in Sound: Another Kind of Mouth

+ parenting + surveillance + sonic weapons + Fripp apps + more

An annotated clipping service

Outboard Voice: “What’s a wheelchair but another kind of movement? What’s a device like this but another kind of mouth?” — a parent, Jamie Sumner, writes in the New York Times (“Helping My Nonverbal Son Find His Voice”) about her son, who has cerebral palsy, and his use of technology that gives him if not speech then “bits of speech.”

Telegram Parenting: “Mommy-gram (and Daddy-gram) is an Alexa skill that essentially allows you to text back and forth with your child at home without he or she having a phone or even needing to know how to spell or read,” writes Emily Price at lifehacker.com.

Mic Off: The human voice gets just one brief mention (“Chinese companies are developing globally competitive applications like image and voice recognition”) in this lengthy New York Times article on the Chinese surveillance state (“Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras”), which certainly begs the question: What about the microphones? Hopeful for follow-up coverage. And, um, a future that looks less like that recent Clive Owen / Amanda Seyfried straight-to-Netflix movie, Anon.

Sonic Sickness: The Center for Disease Control has joined the research investigation into the reported “sonic attacks” in Cuba and China, via Boing Boing.   / / /   Meanwhile, perhaps all this sonic-weapon anxiety has overlooked opportunities.

Schizoid Apps: If you dug Brian Eno’s Bloom app, then check out the latest trio of apps from his co-developer on that, Peter Chilvers. It’s a set of “virtual live performance” apps featuring King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and flautist/saxophonist Theo Travis. More at dgmlive.com

Echo Location: You apparently don’t actually need an Amazon Echo to play that audio-only Westworld game mentioned here recently.

Format Function: WYNC asks what a DJ is in the digital age. “We’re getting more music sent to us than ever in our history, and yet most of it’s digital and contains no other context so it gets ignored,” the article quotes Ken Freedman, the General Manager and Program Director at WFMU (via Mike Rhode).

Multi Media: The Telemetron is a brand new instrument intended for use in zero gravity. It was developed by Nicole L’Huillier and Sands Fish at the MIT Media Lab.   / / /   Also from MIT, an AI “can recognize instruments in a video, identify specific ones at pixel level and isolate the sounds they produce.”

Face Dance: Latest reports, via fastcompany.com, that Facebook isn’t using “ambient audio” techniques to spy on its users — despite having a patent to, in essence, do just that, per the article.

Duplex Planet: That Google Duplex AI mentioned here recently that can make phone calls for you might also find its way into call centers, per theinformation.com.

We All Scream: Someone hacked the LinkNYC internet booths in New York City and made them play the music from ice cream trucks, per motherboard.vice.com, via Dan M.

Sports Doctor: My lack of knowledge regarding competitive sports can fill a stadium, so I’m always glad when someone like Gabrielle Cornish, a PhD candidate in Musicology at the Eastman School of Music, can do something like break down the sounds of soccer.

Unquiet Place: “The premise: there is a mysterious and terrifying noise called The Sound that attracts children when they hear it.” That’s the story of a forthcoming film based on “first time filmmaker Julian Terry’s horror short They Hear It,” per Deadline.

News Submissions: If you find sonic news of interest, please share it with me, and (except with the most widespread of news items) I’ll credit you should I mention it here.

This was first published in the July 12, 2018, issue of the free weekly email newsletter This Week in Sound.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0341: Sample Forensics

The Assignment: Place a fragmentary sample into a natural-seeming setting.

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, July 16, 2018. This project was posted on Thursday, July 12, 2018.

Tracks 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 0341: Sample Forensics
The Assignment: Place a fragmentary sample into a natural-seeming setting.

Step 1: Choose a sample, a very short piece, roughly two to five seconds in length. It’s best if the sample has no fixed meter, no explicit rhythm, that it feels frayed at its beginning and its end — perhaps a snatch of melody, or a fragment of a field recording.

Step 2: Consider how you might create a piece of music into which the sample from Step 1 can be set, so that it is as if that setting is the point of origin for the sample. This is an act of forensics and of forgery.

Step 3: Record a piece of music based on the planning in Step 2. At the start of your piece, repeat the original sample three times separated by two brief silences, so the listener knows what to listen for in the completed piece. (It is fine to repeat the sample in your original piece, but not to run it continuously as a loop.)

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0341” (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 “disquiet0341” (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: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0341-sample-forensics/

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, July 16, 2018. This project was posted on Thursday, July 12, 2018.

Length: The length of your track is up to you. Roughly a minute or two sounds about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0341” 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 341st weekly Disquiet Junto project (Sample Forensics / The Assignment: Place a fragmentary sample into a natural-seeming setting) at:

https://disquiet.com/0341/

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-0341-sample-forensics/

There’s also a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet to join in.

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Simulating Environmental Byproducts

A live performance by Dave Seidel

When occurring in the everyday environment, drones have a natural quality to them — natural, that is, much of the time, as expressions of the built environment. They aren’t natural like tree sap. They are natural as occurrences of, consequences of, human-made spaces, of HVAC, of wind tunnels, of electrical appliances, and especially as combinations thereof. They are hums of unclear origin, sounds whose qualities are experienced differently by different people, and that can be influenced by just a slight shift in the position, even a mere tilt of the head, from which you witness them.

Drones are quasi-natural effluences — environmental byproducts, really. In contrast, the conscious production of drones is something else entirely. It takes effort to sound like more than a sine wave. It takes skill to sound like more than a single tone on repeat. It takes nuance to have the sort of qualities that suggest deep fractal complexity. Those talents belong to Dave Seidel, who in this graceful performance (“Marwa in Centaur”) ushers a subtle, sumptuous drone from the displayed equipment. It is epic and modest, glacial and economical, all at the same time.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted to Seidel’s YouTube channel. More from Seidel, aka New Hampshire-based Mysterybear, at mysterybear.net and mysterybear.bandcamp.com. I wrote the liner notes to Seidel’s album ~60 Hz, released in 2014: “Even Waveforms Have Terroir.”

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Stasis Report: Roger Eno ✚ The Expanse ✚ Lucrecia Dalt ✚ more

New tracks added to the ambient Spotify playlist as of July 8, 2018

The latest update to my Stasis Report ambient-music playlist on Spotify, on Sunday, July 8, added the following eight tracks:

✚ “Atmospheres Touch” is from Anticlines (on the RVNG Intl. label) by Lucrecia Dalt: lucreciadalt.bandcamp.com.

✚ This week marked the ninth anniversary of the death of Danielle Baquet-Long, half of the duo Celer. The duo’s other half, her husband, Will Long, has continued Celer as a prolific solo act since her death. The track “Hotel Mona Lisa” is from Landmarks, released back in February on the label Constellation Tatsu. It’s a collaboration with Forest Management (aka John Daniel): ctatsu.bandcamp.com.

✚ The super TV series The Expanse recently escaped cancellation, thanks to Amazon having picked it up after Syfy announced its recently concluded third season would be its last. This track, “Welwala,” is from the first collection of Expanse score cues by the composer Clinton Shorter (clintonshorter.com). Shorter also has composed music for Intelligence (the one with Josh Holloway, not the one with Ian Tracey), Colony, and House of Lies, among other series.

✚ Four tracks off guitarist Jamie Stillway‘s recent album City Static (jamiestillway.bandcamp.com). These are brief ambient interstitial recordings, ranging in length from 45 seconds to one minute and 11 seconds. I wrote a bit about them this past week.

✚ “Velvet Minute” is from Dust of Stars by Roger Eno. The album was released recently on the Painted Word label. It features contributions from Alex Paterson (of the Orb, currently celebrating its 30th anniversary) and Youth.

Some previous Stasis Report tracks were removed to make room for these, keeping the playlist length to roughly an hour and a half. Those tracks are now in the Stasis Archives playlist.

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