Applied Loop Theory from Indonesia

A live ambient performance video by Fahmi Mursyid

It will not be surprising that sometimes the most enticing ambient music is made with the most minimal elements. No phalanx of gear and patch cables, no state-of-the-art computer running multiple programs in unison, no battery of controllers offering gestural interfaces to the musician. Just a combination of tape loop and a small number of effects — that is all it takes for Fahmi Mursyid, of Bandung, Indonesia, to usher the listener into a lush, artfully circumspect zone of sonic density.

“I discovered that the most interesting music of all was made by simply lining the loops in unison, and letting them slowly shift out of phase with other” — that quote from the minimalist composer Steve Reich introduces the video on YouTube, where Mursyid has posted a live recording of the track’s performance, simply titled “Ambient / Drone : Tape Loops Experiment.” In it, a looper allows Mursyid to layer segments of the tape, though never so much that the desolate quietude of its opening instance is ever fully lost.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at Mursyid’s YouTube channel back in October 2017. More from Fahmi Mursyid at

Stasis Report: Davachi ✚ Eno/Shields ✚ Classic Oliveros ✚

Four recent tracks and one Deep Listening Band classic from 1991 newly added to the ambient playlist on Spotify and Google Play Music as of October 14, 2018

The latest update to my Stasis Report ambient-music playlist on Spotify and Google Play Music. The following five tracks were added on Sunday, October 14. Three of the tracks are from the past month, one is from the summer, and one dates back to 1991.

✚ “Full Moon Serenade” off Arrive without Leaving from Laraaji, with Arji OceAnanda and Dallas Acid, released by Flying Moonlight on October 12, 2018:

✚ “Gloaming” by Sarah Davachi off Gave in Rest, released by Ba Da Bing Records on September 14, 2018:

✚ “The Weight of History” by Brian Eno with Kevin Shields. Initially an exclusive for Record Store Day, it was released this past week to streaming services:

✚ “Triangle Waves” by Hainbach off Ambient Piano Works, released by the Seil Records label back on July 26, 2018:

✚ “Phantom” by Deep Listening Band from the album The Ready Made Boomerang, recorded in the Fort Warden Cistern in 1988, and released on the New Albion label in 1991. The core bands is Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster, and Panaiotis, with guests Thomasa Eckert and William O. Smith:

Some previous Stasis Report tracks were removed to make room for these, keeping the playlist length to roughly two hours. Those retired tracks (from North Atlantic Drift, Mark Rushton, Les Momies de Palerme, and Grouper, plus Christina Vantzou remixing Balmorhea, and a duet of Julia Kent and Jean D.L) are now in the Stasis Archives playlist (currently only on Spotify).

Disquiet Junto Project 0354: Rituals & Canticles

The Assignment: Make music using instruments from a future that doesn't fully remember our present.

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, October 15, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted shortly before noon, California time, on Thursday, October 11, 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

Disquiet Junto Project 0354: Rituals & Canticles
The Assignment: Make music using instruments from a future that doesn’t fully remember our present.

Background: Nathan Moody didn’t create a concept album when he recorded his recent album, The Right Side of Mystery, but he had a framework for deciding how to make his instruments, and even how he composed. He imagined a future American tribe living in the ruins of our current civilization, scrounging for materials to make instruments for their rituals, from everyday events to significant milestones of years and lives. The music itself would be incorrectly remembered combinations of past musical traditions and styles, melded together.

Step 1: Consider that scenario of the future.

Step 2: Check out instruments that Moody made to act out his imagined future:

Step 3: Download the sonic source material that Moody recorded with those instruments, and that he has made available to participants in this Disquiet Junto project:

Step 4: Roll one six-sided die, which will determine which of these tribe events/rituals you’ll compose music for:

1 = Marriage
2 = Death
3 = Lullaby
4 = Solstice or Harvest
5 = Coming of Age
6 = Coronation

Step 5: Re-read the background description up above, and compose a piece of music for the event assigned to you in Step 4 using the sounds from Step 3. Bonus interim round: create your own instrument modeled after Moody’s.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0354” (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 “disquiet0354” (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

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, October 15, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted shortly before noon, California time, on Thursday, October 11, 2018.

Length: The length of your track is up to you. (Think of the amount of time associated with the event/ritual assigned to you.)

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0354” 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).

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

More on this 354th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Rituals & Canticles / The Assignment: Make music using instruments from a future that doesn’t fully remember our present) at:

Thanks to Nathan Moody ( for proposing and providing the sounds and images and ideas for this project.

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

There’s also a Junto Slack. Send your email address to to join in.

Two Sides of Michiru Aoyama

A new album on the Mirae Arts label

Ten minutes into the nearly 20-minute runtime of “Side A,” the opening track — the first half — of Brilliant Days, the new album by Michiru Aoyama, the music gets so quiet, the volume dips so near-thoroughly, that you might think the light bits of noise that linger are from tension on your headphone jack. Up until that moment, it has been all strings (guitar, though it could be mistaken for a synthesized simulation) and rustling (marbles? cash registers? leaves?), a sonic kaleidoscope of materials coming in and out of focus, in and out of interaction with each other, a soft tornado of simple sounds.

When the music recovers from that dip, when the second half of “Side A” is revealed as, in essence, a track unto itself, the vibe is heavier, the sounds deeper and the momentum at once more insistent and, yet, still suggested rather than explicit — less a matter of beats, more a matter of pulses. The music has moved from drone to atmospheric exotica, and it doesn’t let up on “Side B,” another nearly 20-minute escape into Aoyama’s considered exploration of melody and sound design.

Get the full album at Michiru Aoyama is based in Kamakura, Japan. More from Aoyama at

Lori Scacci x Victoria Keddie

Pushing the Desire Loop to the breaking point

Lori Scacco’s album Desire Loop was released back in early July. The singular nature of the title served in marked contrast to the variety of sounds contained within. This wasn’t Desire Loops. It wasn’t a collection of source material. The title’s suggestion of a compositional technique was revealed as something more personal.

The album is inherently electronic. It isn’t just played on synthesizers. It is synthetic to its core. “Tiger Song” is drenched with waveforms that long into their blissful stasis give way to a poppy little beat and, then, to a proper melody, as if two rich strains of 1980s music (minimalism and new wave) had been yoked together to their mutual benefit. “Interactivity in Plastic Space,” two songs earlier on Desire Loop, manages computer whistles and vocaloid warbles above an overtly digital, and head-noddingly patient, rhythm track.

One album highlight is sandwiched between the two: “Back to Electric,” built on a bracingly looped thumb-piano beat and shot through on occasion with the ecstatic trill of some long lost silicon-chip tribe. “Back to Electric” isn’t just a highpoint of Desire Loop. It’s a highlight, as well, of the subsequent remix collection, Interpretations Vol III – Desire Loop, on which Victoria Keddie takes the original and, after an extended, playfully murky introduction, pushes its metrics to a polyrhythmic breaking point, until it all but evaporates. There are also remixes on Interpretations Vol III by William Selman, Helado Negro (aka Roberto Carlos Lange), A Grape Dope (aka Tortoise’s John Herndon), and Certain Creatures (aka Oliver Chapoy). Both Selman and Certain Creatures have previous albums and remix records on Mysteries of the Deep.

The albums are both available from the Mysteries of the Deep label ( More from Lori Scacco at and from Victoria Keddie at