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: January 2019

Disquiet Junto Project 0368: Engage Duo

The Assignment: Record the second third of a trio, adding to a pre-existing track.

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, January 21, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted around noon, California time, on Thursday, January 17, 2019.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0368: Engage Duo
The Assignment: Record the second third of a trio, adding to a pre-existing track.

Step 1: This week’s Disquiet Junto project is the second in a sequence that explores and encourages asynchronous collaboration. This week you will be adding music to a pre-existing track, which you will source from the previous week’s Junto project (disquiet.com/0367). Note that you aren’t creating a duet — you’re creating the second third of what will eventually be a trio. Keep this in mind.

Step 2: The plan is for you to record a short and original piece of music, on any instrumentation of your choice, as a complement to the pre-existing track. First, however, you must select the piece of music to which you will be adding your own music. There are more than 40 tracks to choose from, almost all of them in this playlist:

https://soundcloud.com/disquiet/sets/disquiet-junto-project-0367

And at least one more is available as part of a video in this discussion thread from last week:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0367-trio-initiate/

To select a track, you can listen through all that and choose one, or you can use a random number generator. (Note: it’s perfectly fine if more than one person uses the same original track as the basis for their piece.)

Step 3: Record a short piece of music, roughly the length of the piece of music you selected in Step 2. Your track should complement the piece from Step 2, and leave room for an eventual third piece of music. When composing and recording your part, do not alter the original piece of music at all, except to pan the original fully to the left. In your finished audio track, your part should be panned fully to the right. To be clear: the track you upload won’t be your piece of music alone; it will be a combination of the track from Step 2 and yours.

Step 4: Also be sure, when done, to make the finished track downloadable, because it will be used by someone else in a subsequent Junto project.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0368” (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 “disquiet0368” (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-0368-engage-duo/

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

Step 6: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #disquietjunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, January 21, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted around noon, California time, on Thursday, January 17, 2019.

Length: Your finished track will be roughly the length of the track you chose to add to.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0368” 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 for this project be sure to set your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 368th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Engage Duo / The Assignment: Record the second third of a trio, adding to a pre-existing track.) at:

https://disquiet.com/0368/

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-0368-engage-duo/

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

Image associated with this project is adapted (edited, color altered, text added) from a photo by Anna J and is used via Flickr thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/gcojn

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

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Disquiet Junto Project 0367: Trio Initiate

The Assignment: Record the first third of an eventual trio.

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, January 14, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the late morning, California time, on Thursday, January 10, 2019.

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 0367: Trio Initiate
The Assignment: Record the first third of an eventual trio.

Step 1: This week’s Junto will be the first in a sequence that explores and encourages collaboration. You will be recording something with the understanding that it will remain unfinished for the time being.

Step 2: The plan is for you to record a short and original piece of music, on any instrumentation of your choice. Conceive it as something that leaves room for something else — other instruments, other people — to join in.

Step 3: Record a short piece of music, roughly two to three minutes in length, as described in Step 2. When done, if possible, pan the audio so that your piece is solely in the left side of the audio.

Step 4: Also be sure, when complete, to make the track downloadable, because it will be used by someone else in a subsequent Junto project.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0367” (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 “disquiet0367” (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-0367-trio-initiate/

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

Step 6: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #disquietjunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, January 14, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the late morning, California time, on Thursday, January 10, 2019.

Length: Keep the track to between two and three minutes, preferably.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0367” 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 for this project be sure to set your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 367th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Trio Initiate / The Assignment: Record the first third of an eventual trio) at:

https://disquiet.com/0367/

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-0367-trio-initiate/

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

Image associated with this project is adapted from a photo by Anna J and is used via Flickr thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/gcojn

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

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Steady State

Nudging an ambient beast

The machine does most of the work. It chugs along, lights blinking a telegraph of the underlying rhythm, knobs erect and at precise angles, tones rendered as held bits atmosphere, fraying as they go, the full effect a sort of aged glisten. Occasionally a hand comes into view, introducing a new note, altering the way a present sound is filtered, making other adjustments that may not be immediately evident to the listener — perhaps just to retain the work’s status quo. Sometimes when you’re the caretaker of a modular synthesizer, your job is not so much to play an instrument as it is to keep steady something that’s already moving on track, on target, in key. This video is Alex Roldan at play with his modular synthesizer, and it dates from late November of last year (earlier videos from him include drum covers of songs by Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin). Since then there have been another four modular ones from Roldan. Subscribe to his channel to encourage further endeavors.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted to Rodan’s YouTube channel. More from Rodan, who is based in Washington, D.C., at iamanalog.bandcamp.com.

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A Jigsaw of Desire

Listen to — and watch — Peter Speer re-work Alice Coltrane.

If you really love a piece of music, you don’t just remember it in sequence. You remember it in slices, bits that your brain plays on repeat, often without effort. You remember it in different keys. You remember it slower, faster, in a different time signature altogether. You remember segments played out of the original order, layered, yoked together through a compulsion for a different whole, or more to the point: in a new arrangement that prioritizes your ideal comprehension of the song, a jigsaw of desire.

To hear Alice Coltrane’s “Om Shanti” re-worked (the hyphen added to emphasize the newness, the apartness-from-the-original) by Peter Speer on the sparest of a modular synthesizer setup — just two pieces: a sampler and a tool to control the sampler — is to hear such a mental remapping, albeit here performed in realtime. It’s Speer’s consciousness manifesting in the physical world of dials and cables. Coltrane’s alternately sultry and mournful tonalities are stretched and echoed, turned into nano-washboard rhythms and deep cavernous spaces, all in fitting tribute to her otherworldly oeuvre. Grounding the effort are the modest, even mundane, maneuvers that Speer must enact over the course of the video to accomplish his goals.

Video originally posted at vimeo.com. More from Speer at instagram.com/peter.speer.

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Algorithmic Art Assembly

I'll be giving a talk at this two-day event in San Francisco on March 22

My friend Thorsten Sideb0ard is hosting Algorithmic Art Assembly, a new event in San Francisco on March 22nd and 23rd this year, “focused on algorithmic tools and processes.” I’ll be doing a little talk on the 22nd, which is a Friday.

Speakers include: Windy Chien, Jon Leidecker (aka Wobbly), Julia Litman-Cleper, Adam Roberts (Google Magenta), Olivia Jack; Mark Fell (a Q&A), Spacefiller, Elizabeth Wilson, M Eiffler, Adam Florin, Yotam Mann & Sarah Rothberg — and me. Performances include: Kindohm, Algobabez, Renick Bell, Spatial, Digital Selves, Wobbly, Can Ince; Mark Fell, W00dy, TVO, Shatter Pattern, William Fields, Sebastian Camens, Spednar. Here’s a bit more from the website, aaassembly.org:

Algorithmic Art Assembly is a brand new two day conference and music festival, showcasing a diverse range of artists who are using algorithmic tools and processes in their works. From live coding visuals and music at algoraves, to virtual reality, gaming, augmented tooling, generative music composition, or knot tying, this event celebrates artists abusing algorithms for the aesthetics.

Daytime talks will present speakers introducing and demonstrating their art, in an informal and relaxed setting, (very much inspired by Dorkbot).

Each day will feature one workshop in an intimate setting, creating an opportunity for you to learn how to create live coded music using two of the main platforms, SuperCollider and TidalCycles. Workshops are limited in space, with reservation required – details to come.

Evening performances will be heavily based upon the algorave format, in which the dancefloor is accompanied by a look behind the veil, with several artists projecting a livestream of their code on screen. Performers will play energetic sets back to back, with minimal switch-over time.”

It was a new year, so I cleaned up my bio a bit. Here’s how it reads currently:

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 that explore creative constraints. A former editor of Tower Records’ music magazines, Weidenbaum is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, and has written for Nature, Boing Boing, Pitchfork, Downbeat, NewMusicBox, Art Practical, The Atlantic online, and numerous other periodicals. Weidenbaum’s sonic consultancy has ranged from mobile GPS apps to coffee-shop sound design, comics editing for Red Bull Music Academy, and music supervision for two films (the documentary The Children Next Door, scored by Taylor Deupree, and the science fiction short Youth, scored by Marcus Fischer). Weidenbaum has exhibited sound art at galleries in Dubai, Los Angeles, and Manhattan, as well as at the San Jose Museum of Art, and teaches a course on the role of sound in branding at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Weidenbaum has commissioned and curated sound/music projects that have featured original works by Kate Carr, Marielle V Jakobsons, John Kannenberg, Steve Roden, Scanner, Roddy Schrock, Robert Thomas, and Stephen Vitiello, among many others. Raised in New York, Weidenbaum lives in San Francisco.

More on the Algorithmic Art Assembly at aaassembly.org. The event will take place, both days, at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts grayarea.org.

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