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: May 2019

Live: Branciforte, Bleckmann, and Gomberg

A concert from May 15, 2019

Finally got to see Joseph Branciforte perform live last week for the first time, having admired his music for several years now. He is on tour with Theo Bleckmann, supporting their forthcoming collaborative album, LP1, which as the title suggests is the first of something, in this case the first from a new record label, Greyfade, founded by Branciforte. The duo performed on Wednesday, May 15, at the Center for New Music at the edge of San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, with Billy Gomberg opening up. Branciforte and Bleckmann are based in New York City, and Gomberg moved to San Francisco from New York last year.

Branciforte, an accomplished producer and musician, worked with sounds manipulated by and triggered from his laptop, yielding small percussive motives and gentle washes. Bleckmann has recorded for ECM, Winter & Winter, and other labels, and his past collaborators include Laurie Anderson, Phil Kline, and Meredith Monk. He was very much the focus of the performance, a charismatic singer in a polka-dot shirt who channeled the evident power of his voice into tiny, soft gestures that he looped and transformed with a small battery of devices on an adjacent table. Together they filled the room with often fiercely quiet and delicate material, playing straight through for about 45 minutes.

Gomberg opened the evening with a set on his economically sized modular synthesizer rig. He explained to the audience at the start of the show that the apartment building in which he lives has had renovations going on, and that the work has caused a lot of noise, noise he has in turn been filtering into his own work. In this case that meant the sounds of construction and the muffled conversations, in Spanish, of workers, which he slowly subsumed, the voices giving way over time to modestly scaled melodic pursuits. The transitions were so subtle that you had to think back to recall where your ear had been. There was an introspection to the piece that suggested someone making mental space for themselves amid the persistent cacophony.

More from Bleckmann at theobleckmann.com, Branciforte at josephbranciforte.com, Gomberg at fraufraulein.com, and the Greyfade label at greyfade.com.

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Junto Event in Montréal on June 23

Une Rencontre de Juntos at Cabaret Berlin

More details as it approaches, but there’s a special Disquiet Junto live event taking place in Montréal, Quebec, on Sunday, June 23. Various members of the Junto are meeting up in the city that weekend (several local, others traveling for the event), hanging out, and on Sunday performing at Cabaret Berlin (cabaretberlin.ca). There’s a more detailed entry on Cabaret Berlin’s Facebook page. The participants include: New Tendencies (aka Matt Nish-Lapidus), Electric Kitchen (aka Mark Lentczner), and the duo of Simon Demeule and Maxime Giard. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to make it, but in some ways it’s all the more exciting for me when Junto events occur that I’m not directly involved in. That said, I do hope I can make it.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0385: Audubonus Instrumentum

The Assignment: Imagine a fake instrument, and make music with it.

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, May 20, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 16, 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 0385: Audubonus Instrumentum
The Assignment: Imagine a fake instrument, and make music with it.

Step 1: Imagine an instrument that doesn’t exist.

Step 2: Develop documentation (description, back story, perhaps even a sketch) of the instrument.

Step 3: Record a piece of music that supposedly employs this instrument. Bonus points if the piece of music is an étude.

Background: The inspiration for this project is the naturalist and illustrator John James Audubon (1785-1851), who it has been discovered created upwards of 30 nonexistent animals and included representations of them amid his celebrated drawings of real species.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0385” (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 “disquiet0385” (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-0385-audubonus-instrumentum/

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, May 20, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 16, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0385” 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 385th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Audubonus Instrumentum / The Assignment: Imagine a fake instrument, and make music with it — at:

https://disquiet.com/0385/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Thanks to Paul Harrington for the Latin assistance.

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0385-audubonus-instrumentum/

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

John James Audubon image associated with this project adapted (cropped, colors changed, text added, cut’n’paste) from a public domain Audubon illustration, courtesy of Wikipedia.

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Studio Journal: “The Body Pneumatic”

Usually when I use my iPad as part of the process, it’s just that: part of the process, creating something that I then employ in another context (like a sample for my modular synth), or processing something external (such as my electric guitar). This time, I wanted to do something where the iPad was the beginning as well as the end of the process, and everything in between, all the way through uploading the finished recording to SoundCloud.

The short version of the process: I recorded my breath (something closer to a breathy vowel), then cut it up into slivers, then enacted some alterations on those individual slivers, then triggered them, then recorded a second variation triggered differently, then combined the two tracks by overlaying them, and then uploaded.

This is part of the current Disquiet Junto project (number 0384), in which we find rhythmic material in our breathing. When working with the sample-triggering, I set the pace of this to 60bpm, which is sort of my happy pace. I didn’t think of the start of each breath as the pace, but instead various moments within the breath.

For more detail, here are the iPad apps I used: I recorded the breathy vowel into AudioShare. It took several tries to get the quality I was looking for. The iPad’s microphone turned most of the initial breath attempts into harshly serrated white noise, which is when I added a vowel/hum quality to the breath, and that took the edge off it. I transferred the sample from AudioShare to ReSlice, and then I used ReSlice to break it down into evenly divided segments, and then changed the attack, decay, and release on those slices, in order that each had a unique quality (I also set two of them to play in reverse).

I used the Autony app to trigger the slices in ReSlice for one track, and then added more randomness within Autony to a second round of triggers, yielding a second track of equal length. I could have done those two tracks separately and added them together after the fact, but I wanted to hear what they sounded like together, so I did this all in the AUM app. When I was happy with the balance between the two Autony-triggered ReSlices, I transferred the two lines to the Cubasis 2 app, then used the mixdown tool within Cubasis to output a finished mix. Then I sent that back to AudioShare, and used AudioShare to upload to my SoundCloud account.

More on this 384th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Breath Beat / The Assignment: Explore breath as a resource for rhythm — at:

disquiet.com/0384/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-pr…t-0384-breath-beat/

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 Victor Morell Perez:

flic.kr/p/4M5zUQ

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

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Rob Walker’s The Art of Noticing

And the act of reviewing everyday sounds as if they were record albums

This is a quick note in case you’re coming to Disquiet.com for the first time, having read about my writing, research, and teaching in Rob Walker’s excellent new book, The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everyday (Knopf, 2019).

I’ll write more about Rob’s book in the near future, but in the meanwhile, one of the subjects he discusses in his book is my practice of reviewing the sounds of everyday things. (This specific page from The Art of Noticing is helpfully archived on books.google.com, for reference.)

A sequence of such reviews appears here on the Disquiet website under the tag #listening-to-yesterday. These include the final moments of a dying lightbulb, the odd quiet of a usually bustling restaurant, and the background noise of a bank’s institutional authority, among many others.

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