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: March 2019

Rhythmic Segmentation

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

Unlike at clock shops in movies, in this tiny, one-person clock shop the majority of the clocks that tick are blissfully still. But enough are ticking to provide a nice quiet rhythmic segmentation of each second. I’d love to record this place in the middle of the night.

What Sound Looks Like: An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.

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The Room Tone of a Porch

Two tracks from Josh Mason's forthcoming album, Coquina Dose

If glitchy little dust particles sending out Morse code via slight alterations in biometric pressure are your thing — and if not, you’re reading the wrong website at the moment — then Josh Mason’s forthcoming album, Coquina Dose, is your thing, at least judging by the two tracks up for pre-release streaming on the Bandcamp page of the releasing label, Florabelle.

The full album is due out March 22, but for now we’ve got “Crack the Juice Code,” the opening track, and “Key Blight” the album’s third. The first is a beautifully understated conglomeration of soft tones and small noises, of sound as texture and of texture as melody. Throughout there’s a very light patter of white noise. It’s vinyl surface dust experienced as environmental data.

The other track feels like it takes us, quite suddenly, outside. The noise of “Juice Code” is traded for bird chatter, at roughly the same volume: not so much distant as background, the room tone of a porch. Both are marked with backward masking, which lends a retrospective, hindsight-gaze quality to the music — so, too, little wisps of warbling pitch changes. On “Key Blight” these latter shifts suggest time being bent, nudged, and suffering small impacts. The music is composed from — comprised of — nothing but such modest materials.

Album first posted at florabelle.bandcamp.com. More from Mason at joshmason.info. More from Florabelle at florabellerecords.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0376: Pi Filling

The Assignment: Celebrate Pi Day.

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, March 18, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted shortly before noon, California time, on Thursday, March 14, 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 0376: Pi Filling
The Assignment: Celebrate Pi Day.

Step 1: There is only one step for this project: Make music by applying pi (3.14159…) in celebration of Pi Day, March 14, 2019.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0376” (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 “disquiet0376” (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-0376-pi-filling/

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

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0376” 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: 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).

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

More on this 376th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Pi Filling / The Assignment: Celebrate Pi Day — at:

https://disquiet.com/0376/

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-0376-pi-filling/

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

Image associated with this project adapted (cropped, colors changed, text added, cut’n’paste) thanks to a Creative Commons license from a photo credited to Emily:

https://flic.kr/p/82D1bt

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

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Guitar Learning: First Shift

An attempt at phase shifts with ambient guitar loops

This short video is of two simple loopers that are ever so slightly out of sync. By the point at which the video begins, both of the loopers had accrued several layers of audio, all of it culled from an electric guitar. Some of the audio is shared between the two loopers, and some is unique to each separately. The starting point of each of the two loops is signaled when the given looper’s light briefly blinks. Shortly after the midpoint of this recording, the two loops can be seen to come into sync, and to then proceed to drift apart — to shift, to phase — again.

The looper used here is the original Ditto from TC Electronic (due to its popularity, several variations on the Ditto followed). I bought my first one used a few years ago, and have always enjoyed how simple yet effective its controls are. Despite having just one button and one knob, the Ditto comes with a manual that is nearly a dozen pages long, because different combinations of button clicks cause different processes. When I found another inexpensive secondhand Ditto, I picked it up just this afternoon with the express purpose of exploring asynchronous loops such as this one.

Video originally posted at my youtube.com channel.

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Guitar + Synth Learning: Ultomaton Software

This is a quick, initial attempt on my part with a new piece of software called Ultomaton. The name is a play on the word “automaton” because the software employs Conway’s Game of Life, the famed “cellular automation” simulation, as a source of triggers and other controls, such as volume and place in the stereo spectrum, for all manner of sonic processes. These effects include stutter, backwards audio, looping, and granular synthesis, several of which are heard in this test run.

What I’m playing on electric guitar as the source audio is the first of the 120 right-hand exercises by composer Mauro Giuliani (1781 – 1829). I’ve been working my way through these exercises for the past few weeks, and sometimes experimenting with ways to make practice even more enjoyable, such as prerecording the chords to supply accompaniment. The real-time processing of Ultomaton provides accompaniment as I play, built from the very things I am playing at that moment. The accompanying screenshot shows the Ultomaton controls as they were set for this recording.

The electric guitar went into the laptop, a Macbook Air (2013), via a Scarlett audio interface. After recorded, the audio was cleaned up in Adobe Audition: volume increased, bit of reverb added, and fade-in/fade-out implemented.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/disquiet. The Ultomaton software is the work of Benjamin Van Esser, who is based in Brussels, Belgium. The software is free at github.com/benjaminvanesser. More information at benjaminvanesser.be.

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