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. • Disquiet.com 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.

The Hell of It

Listening to Neal Stephenson

As I type this, I am 43% of the way through the new novel by Neal Stephenson, Fall; Or, Dodge in Hell. It is a Singularity story, which is to say it tells of someone whose brain is scanned and uploaded to a computer system, and what happens as a result. (Side note: It’s always “uploaded,” isn’t it? The word suggests a higher plane of existence is assumed for post-human experience. As the book’s subtitle seems to imply, however, we may be wrong about such linguistically entrenched correlations.)

There is a lot of sound in the book, like when, while still on this mortal plane, the protagonist asks himself: “if there was an afterlife, either old-school analog or newfangled digital–if we lived on as spirits or were reconstructed as digital simulations of our own brains–would we still like music?”

Or when exploring the nuances necessary in producing political disinformation: “Whoever had produced this counterfeit had completely nailed the sound: you could hear chairs scraping, shutters clicking, fingers pounding laptop keyboards, people’s cell phones going off, all conveying the sense that a hundred journalists were crammed into the room.”

Or an extended sequence exploring how the music we listen to on headphones alters our perception of reality. The subject is an imaginary band with the awesome name Pompitus Bombasticus. (It brings to mind William Gibson’s 1989 “Rocket Radio” essay, about how “The Walkman changed the way we understand cities.”)

Or what his newly digital avatar experiences upon awakening for the first time in the brave new world of the computer: “to the extent he was hearing anything, it was just an inchoate hiss.”

Of course, the key word there is not “hiss” but “inchoate.” I still have 57% of the book to go. We’ll see what comes of it.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Comment: 1 ]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

Subscribe without commenting

  • about

  • 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. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe



  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)

  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

    Recent Projects

  • 0561 / Samplelicker / The Assignment: Rework environmental sound recordings with Aphex Twin's new software.
    0560 / Sonic Disambiguation / The Assignment: Help the Wikimedia Foundation develop a sonic logo.
    0559 / Yes Exit / The Assignment: Compose your personal entrance and exit cues for conference calls.
    0558 / Chore Progressions / The Assignment: Use a routine activity as the map of a composition.
    0557 / Condensation Is a Form of Change / The Assignment: Interpret a graphic score that depicts four phases.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 561 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts