New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Monthly Archives: April 2019

What Sounds Looks Like: Brands of Sounds

Blackboard edition

Remains of the day. This is the blackboard at the end of the class this past Wednesday, week 11 of 15 in the undergraduate course I teach on sound in the media landscape. Week 11 marks the start of the third and final arc of the course. Arc one is “Listening to Media,” three weeks on learning to pay attention with and to one’s ears. Arc two is “Sounds of Brands,” from which the course takes its name; in it we discuss how things (companies, products, services, etc.) express themselves in sound (jingles, product design, retail design, etc.). Arc three of the course is “Brands of Sounds,” which flips the second arc on its head. We look at how things related to sound (musical instruments, headphones, streaming services, record labels, bands) express themselves in non-sonic ways. This begins with a discussion of what sound looks like. The lengthy class discussion yielded this mid-period Basquiat.

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Life on the Virtual Run

Adventures in social media

This is my ongoing battle with Twitter: I change my location in the settings so that the odious “Trends” appear in a language I don’t understand (preferably one I find geometrically appealing, like Korean or Thai). Time passes. Those items begin to appear translated. I move on. I’m a virtual international fugitive.

I try to tweet the Twitter I want there to be in the world. The Twitter from back when I would just call out the sounds I heard around me, and people would respond in kind. The Twitter when people would share thoughtful observations or fragments of culture they come upon. The Twitter before Twitter was synonymous with bad actors.

I’ve long thought of Facebook as a place where I realize how little I have in common with my friends, and Twitter as a place where I realize how much I have in common with people I don’t know. Twitter increasingly makes it difficult to maintain that usage, but for now it remains worth the effort.

Currently my Twitter trends have me in Tokyo, and they appear to be about new sports cars and anime releases. I was “in” Tijuana for awhile, and then Seoul, until the Translator Sentinels (as I picture my tireless virtual opponents) caught up with me. Who knows where I’ll be this time next week.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0382: Understanding McLuhan

The Assignment: Remix samples of an interview with Eric McLuhan on his father and media theory.

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, April 29, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, April 25, 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

Disquiet Junto Project 0382: Understanding McLuhan
The Assignment: Remix samples of an interview with Eric McLuhan on his father and media theory.

This project is being done in coordination with Fabricatorz Foundation and ONG Record’s O.N.G.2 experiential club night on Saturday, April 27, in Saint Louis. Many thanks to Jon Phillips for having made this project happen.

Step 1: Download and listen to the provided samples of Eric McLuhan, son of media theorist Marshall McLuhan, at this URL. The following samples are made from a radio interview of Eric McLuhan about his father and media theory. The McLuhan Institute authorized use (for this one-time artistic, non-commercial purpose). Have fun!

Step 2: Create an original piece of music employing one or more of those samples. Consider the theme of “media ecology” as you do so.

Background: Marshall McLuhan developed the concepts of media theory and media ecology in his seminal work Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964). Media ecology is the study of media, technology, and communication and how they affect human environments. Media ecology refers to the context and the environment in which a medium is used. Marshall McLuhan’s work on media began in St. Louis while he taught at Saint Louis University from 1937-1944.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0382” (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 “disquiet0382” (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: 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, April 29, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, April 25, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0382” 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: When applying a license, such as a copyright or Creative Commons license, keep in mind that these tracks are for non-commercial purposes only, and only for this project.

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

More on this 382nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Understanding McLuhan / The Assignment: Remix samples of an interview with Eric McLuhan on his father and media theory — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

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

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Aliens Were Among Us

Don't let them fool you. Every day can be Record Store Day.

My lucky find at the record shop yesterday. This full-length album was released, in 1977, because the previous one (note this is “The Second Whale Record”) had sold some 100,000 copies, a surprise hit in its day. The alien intelligence of these voices strains my capacity for description and comprehension. Fascinating to imagine the voices had such a command of the public’s imagination that this translated into actual record sales. A bit like Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (the Bulgarian women’s ensemble) a decade or so later, only this choir is submerged.

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Morning Sounds

Starting the day with a listening exercise

Morning sounds: I hear the fan in the bathroom. I hear a plane overhead. There’s the low-level whine that my ears experience during high-allergy times. I hear cars at varying distances. I hear the distinct heavyweight industrial rumble of a recycling truck. I hear the pneumatic blast of a bus coming to a halt.

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