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: February 2019

Aphex Twin (in Japan)

What appears to be my book's Japanese translation

I do believe this may be the cover of the upcoming Japanese translation of my 33 1/3 book on Aphex Twin’s landmark album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Having spent much of the early 2000s working in manga, which is to say helping shepherd the translation into English of Japanese books, I’d say it’s nice to finally be sending a book back in the opposite direction.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0372: Honeymoon Phase

The Assignment: Record a piece of music with (only) your most recently obtained instrument or music/sound tool.

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 Monday, February 18, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted shortly after noon, California time, on Thursday, February 14, 2019.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0372: Honeymoon Phase
The Assignment: Record a piece of music with (only) your most recently obtained instrument or music/sound tool.

Step 1: Locate the latest instrument, piece of music/sound software, or related technology that has come into your possession. (If there’s something inexpensive, like an app, you’ve been meaning to try out, this project might provide an impetus to do so.)

Step 2: Employ only the single thing identified in Step 1 to compose and record a short track.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0372” (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 “disquiet0372” (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-0372-honeymoon-phase/

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, February 18, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted shortly after noon, California time, on Thursday, February 14, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you. Short is good.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0372” 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 372nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Honeymoon Phase / The Assignment: Record a piece of music with (only) your most recently obtained instrument or music/sound tool — at:

https://disquiet.com/0372/

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-0372-honeymoon-phase/

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

Image associated with this project adapted thanks to a Creative Commons license from a photo by Thorsten Sideb0ard:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sideb0ard/10364491865/

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

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The Evel Knievel of Tape Loops

Amulets lets a tape un-spool to its death.

Like the old Evel Knievel stunts of long-ago prime-time television broadcasts — well, sort of — the experimental musician Amulets announced in advance that today he would let un-spool, live on YouTube, a cassette tape that would, a bit like in the Mission: Impossible episodes that aired around the same time Knievel was jumping big rigs, self-destruct. (Or perhaps a bit like the old Saturday Night Live skit, also from that era, in which a lobster’s fate hung in the balance.)

The Amulets tape — more specifically a tape-loop, a few mere seconds of sound going round and round — would be encased in a device jury-rigged to slowly “erode” the material on which the sound was recorded.

When the video first aired (I did, indeed, tune in live, though it’s now archived for repeat viewing, round and round), there was drama to the slow-moving affair: Just how degraded would the audio get? (Pretty darn.) Would it be recognizable half an hour or forty five minutes into the process? (Yes, actually.) Would it snap before the full, planned hour of decay had played out? (Quite surprisingly: nope!) What does happen is that the sound falls apart in stages, so slowly that it’s only really recognizable when one compares and contrasts snippets five to ten seconds apart. Fortunately for the curious, even when streaming live, YouTube’s embedded player allowed you to back up to earlier in the recording, and then return to the current, live moment.

In a separate video, the process behind the loop scenario is revealed. Turns out it’s the same challenge that the musician Hainbach responded to last week (see: “Sandpaper Is a Form of Change.”) Making this sort of an answer song.

Like the cassette tape technology itself, what with its newfound revival in recent years, the cassette that Amulets experimented with proved indefatigable. Writes Amulets of the process, “Through a lot of trial and error I was able to design a self-destructive, self-contained cassette that not only eroded the magnetic tape, but could also be reused and reloaded with different loops for continued future experiments.” Here’s to the sequel!

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at the YouTube channel of Amulets, aka Randall Taylor of Portland, Oregon. More from Amulets/Taylor at amuletsmusic.com and amulets.bandcamp.com.

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My First Article for The Wire

A review of the Recombinant Festival from late last year, now in the March issue

If you like abstract electronic and other non-popular musics, you likely know this typeface in this weight and set at this column width. I’m excited to have been published in The Wire for the first time (the magazine previously had a nice write-up of the Disquiet Junto, and reviewed my book on Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II). It’s a full-page review of the excellent Recombinant Festival (in San Francisco at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, with satellite operations at the Lab and a gallery called Ohio). Highlights included Herman Kolgen, Rrose, Electric Indigo, Semiconductor, and the audio-visual duo of Drew McDowall and Florence To. (It’s in the March issue, with Stephen Malkmus of Pavement on the cover.)

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Disquiet Junto Project 0371: Concrete Ambience

The Assignment: What could concrete wallpaper music sound like?

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, February 11, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, February 7, 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 0371: Concrete Ambience
The Assignment: What could concrete wallpaper music sound like?

Step 1: Consider the concept of wallpaper music.

Step 2: Consider wallpaper designed to look like concrete.

Step 3: Consider what concrete wallpaper music might sound like.

Step 4: Record concrete wallpaper music.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0371” (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 “disquiet0371” (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-0371-concrete-ambience/

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, February 11, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, February 7, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0371” 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 371st weekly Disquiet Junto project (Concrete Ambience / The Assignment: What could concrete wallpaper music sound like?) at:

https://disquiet.com/0371/

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-0371-concrete-ambience/

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

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