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Monthly Archives: September 2018

Disquiet Junto Project 0351: Selected Insomniac Works Volume II

The Assignment: Rework some very quiet music by making it even more sedate.

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 Monday, September 24, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted just before noon, California time, on Thursday, September 20, 2018.

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 0351: Selected Insomniac Works Volume II
The Assignment: Rework some very quiet music by making it even more sedate.

Step 1: Last week, about 60 members of the Disquiet Junto recorded ambient music for the middle of the night. The specific request was to “Make very quiet music for very late at night for very fragile psyches.” This week, we’ll each select a track from last week and proceed to dial it down even further.

Step 2: Listen through the tracks from last week’s project, and choose the one whose ambience you want to employ in your track:

https://soundcloud.com/disquiet/sets/disquiet-junto-project-0350

In addition, there may be some other tracks from the project in the Lines discussions, here:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0350-selected-insomniac-works/

Step 3: Having chosen a track in Step 2 above, confirm that your chosen track is downloadable. If it isn’t, either get in touch with the musician who made it, or choose another track.

Step 4: Listen closely to the track you selected in Step 3. Consider what edges it has that might be smoothed out, what drama it has that might be subsumed. Consider how you might do such things while retaining something that is inherently listenable, should someone choose to turn up the volume and focus on it.

Step 5: Rework the track you selected in Steps 2 and 3 to achieve the goals that arose from Step 4.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0351” (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 “disquiet0351” (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-0351-selected-insomniac-works-volume-ii/

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 Monday, September 24, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted just before noon, California time, on Thursday, September 20, 2018.

Length: The length of your track is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0351” 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: Please consider setting your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information — as well as the name of the individual whose original track you’re reworking, and a link to that source track:

More on this 351st weekly Disquiet Junto project (Selected Insomniac Works Volume II / The Assignment: Rework some very quiet music by making it even more sedate) at:

https://disquiet.com/0351/

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-0351-selected-insomniac-works-volume-ii/

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

Image associated with this project is by Chris, used thanks to Flickr and a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/yfhgm

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

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Taking Mount Vision by Strategy

A first listen to a new album from Emily A. Sprague

The musician Emily A. Sprague has shifted her topographic imagination. At the very end of 2017, she released Water Memory, a widely praised collection of five modular-synthesizer tracks, the origins of which were likened in the album’s liner notes to “floating through the natural world around us.” Now, just shy of a year later, Sprague returns with Mount Vision, due out this coming Saturday, September 22 — barely a week after the reported two-day recording session that yielded the music. However rapid the production and delivery, a pre-release cut, “Piano 2 (Mount Vision),” suggests Mount Vision to be just as sedate and reflective as the best of Water Memory.

The one Mount Vision track available for streaming now, while the album racks up its cassette and download pre-preorders, is “Piano 2 (Mount Vision).” It opens with a brief acoustic piano chord — reminiscent of Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14th” — that repeats for the full length of the track. Initially the apparent automation of that repetition strikes a contrast with the chord’s natural composure. It is closely mic’d, like a Nils Frahm solo — you can almost picture the inner workings of the keyboard. Field recordings of room tone and birdsong lend a naturalism the piano might lack otherwise.

And as the piece moves forward, a wafting synthesizer line comes if not to the fore then to the slow-burn middle ground. The development of that line adds to the Celtic lilt of the piano part, and brings to mind the Evening Star collaborations between Robert Fripp and Brian Eno — the synth akin to Fripp’s infinite-hold guitar, and the piano to Eno’s swaying ambient groove. All that quiet beauty notwithstanding, the real marvel of “Piano 2 (Mount Vision)” is how that synth line reveals subtle harmonic and rhythmic components of the piano part. It’s a small miracle of a piece.

The map up above is a detail of Mount Vision just north of San Francisco. There are several Mount Visions on this planet, but judging by the album’s liner notes, which list Northern California as where the recordings took place in mid-September, this spot is likely where it was titled after. For further reading, here’s a bit about a podcast interview with Sprague: “The Self-Education of Synthesist Emily Sprague.” And here’s a bit about her previous album: “The Water Memory of Emily A. Sprague.”

Album available at mlesprg.bandcamp.com. More from Sprague, who is originally from the Catskills and now lives in Los Angeles, at mlesprg.info.

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Stasis Report: Less Bells ✚ Distant Fires Burning ✚ More

Five tracks newly added to the ambient playlist on Spotify and Google Play Music as of September 16, 2018

The latest update to my Stasis Report ambient-music playlist. It started out just on Spotify. As of three weeks ago, it’s also on Google Play Music. The following five tracks were added on Sunday, September 16. All the tracks are fairly new, with the exception of one from a recent reissue.

✚ “Seashore Story” from Ambient Hamlet by Eashwar Subramanian, of Bangalore, India: bandcamp.com.

✚ “Golden Storm” from Solifuge by Less Bells (aka Julie Carpenter) of Joshua Tree, California, on the Kranky label: bandcamp.com.

✚ “Rosalie” from the score to Green Days by the River, composed by Laura Karpman, who is based in Los Angeles: cdbaby.com

✚ “Any” For the Love of… by Distant Fires Burning (aka Gert De Meester of Mechelen, Belgium), on the Audiobulb label: bandcamp.com.

✚ “Second Lens” from A Turn of Breath – Extended by Ian William Craig of Vancouver, British Columbia, on the Recital Program label: recitalprogram.com. It’s an recently expanded reissue of an earlier record.

Some previous Stasis Report tracks were removed to make room for these, keeping the playlist length to roughly two hours (up from what was originally an hour and a half, when the playlist first launched). Those retired tracks (Goldmund, Pariah, C. Diab, and Meg Bowles) are now in the Stasis Archives playlist (currently only on Spotify).

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Disquiet Junto Project 0350: Selected Insomniac Works

The Assignment: Make very quiet music for very late at night for very fragile psyches.

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 Monday, September 17, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted just before noon, California time, on Thursday, September 13, 2018.

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 0350: Selected Insomniac Works
The Assignment: Make very quiet music for very late at night for very fragile psyches.

Step 1: It’s the middle of the night, long past dusk and long before dawn. You can’t sleep.

Step 2: Think about what kind of music you’d want to hear right now — super quiet, super subtle, unlikely to wake you, potentially to ease you back to the comfort of your pillow, or at least to calm your mind.

Step 3: Record the sort of music that Step 2 made you imagine.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0350” (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 “disquiet0350” (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-0350-selected-insomniac-works/

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 Monday, September 17, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted just before noon, California time, on Thursday, September 13, 2018.

Length: The length of your track is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0350” 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: Please consider setting your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 350th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Selected Insomniac Works / The Assignment: Make very quiet music for very late at night for very fragile psyches) at:

https://disquiet.com/0350/

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-0350-selected-insomniac-works/

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

Image associated with this project is by Helen Cassidy, used thanks to Flickr and a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/69oCuU

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

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What Sound Looks Like

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

I pushed this button. Nothing happened. I wondered what I did wrong.

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

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com 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

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  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    December 28, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in 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 oup.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, 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

  • 0511 / Freeze Tag / The Assignment: Consider freezing (and thawing) as a metaphor for music production.
    0510 / Cold Turkey / The Assignment: Record one last track with a piece of music equipment before passing it on.
    0509 / The Long Detail / The Assignment: Create a piece of music with moments from a preexisting track.
    0508 / Germane Shepard / The Assignment: Use the Shepard tone to create a piece of music.
    0507 / In DD's Key of C / The Assignment: Make music with 10 acoustic instrument samples all in a shared key.

    Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 511 consecutive weeks to date.

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