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: October 2019

Disquiet Junto Project 0407: Dark Pitch

The Assignment: What do you hear between stations on the radio dial during a drive in the middle of night?

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, October 21, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, October 17, 2019.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0407: Dark Pitch
The Assignment: What do you hear between stations on the radio dial during a drive in the middle of night?

This project has one step:

Step 1: It’s 3am. You’re driving across a very dark, very flat territory. There are no other cars in sight. The radio signal begins to fade. You turn the dial. You hear something strange between stations. You grab your phone to record what you’re hearing. Now share that recording.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0407” (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 “disquiet0407” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation of 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-0407-dark-pitch/

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, October 21, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, October 17, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0407” 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 407th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Dark Pitch / What do you hear between stations on the radio dial during a drive in the middle of night? — at:

https://disquiet.com/0407/

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-0407-dark-pitch/

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

Image by the Flickr account of the-difference, used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/9bHnUo

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

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Musician’s-Eye-View

A live ambient performance by Japan-based Haik

Even the casual viewer will understand at the three-minute mark in this live performance video, if not far sooner, that automation has an invisible hand in what’s going on, that in addition to the two visible human hands, which belong to Haik, a musician based in Japan, there are sequences of notes being set in motion. That automation allows the hands to do other things, like tweak settings, or adjust the neighboring reverb pedal to lend a sense of space far out of scale with the modest footprint of the equipment. The keyboard displays admirable range and depth, slowly building contrasting components: rich drones, melting sing-song, lofi lush textures.

I also wanted to mention that I’ve come to enjoy the overhead view employed in this video, and on much of YouTube, or at least music YouTube, including the piece I wrote about here yesterday (“Pop Ambient from Aldo”). The lack of motion keeps a sense of intimacy at bay, but the setup does provide an idealized musician’s-eye-view of the goings-on.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted to Haik’s YouTube channel. More from Haik at instagram.com/haikmusic_.

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Pop Ambient from Aldo

Three devices and a YouTube channel

Simple music made with simple tools. The idea might seem obvious, but on YouTube — where many musicians, experienced and new, known and not, share works-in-progress in the form of demos and tutorials — simplicity often isn’t the order of the day. Comprehensiveness is. Here, refreshingly, a single sound source and a single tool for looping combine to let Aldo, a French musician living in London, accumulate and manipulate material. Aside from a thick delay pedal at the end of the chain to lend spaciousness, that is it. The result is a glitching, droning, undulating collection of material prepared in advance and then improvised upon in a live setting. The result is vibrant pop ambient.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at Aldo’s YouTube channel. More from Aldo at instagram.com/aldo.is.taken.

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Reviewing SFEMF 2019 in The Wire

And clarifying the metaphorical nature of the trash compactor

I have a new, 650-word piece in The Wire, as the typeface in this little snippet evidences. It’s about the recent San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, all four nights of which I attended over the course of mid-September. The deadline was quite tight, as it’s only October 11 today, the issue has been out for a few days already, and the final night of the concert series was September 15. I really enjoyed the challenge, and the music, which itself was often challenging, ranging from 3D sound environments, to live circuitry, to experimental chamber opera. It was the SFEMF’s 20th anniversary.

In the Wire review, I compare one musician’s work favorably to being inside a trash compactor. I loved that I had to clarify (at my editor’s valuable and perceptive request) that this was a metaphor and the musician wasn’t, in fact, employing a trash compactor.

My article is in the November 2019 issue, the one with Kevin Martin and Stephen O’Malley on the cover.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0406: Phoneme Home

The Assignment: After a visit to Yellowstone National Park, you send a sonic report back to your planet of origin.

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, October 14, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, October 10, 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 0406: Phoneme Home
The Assignment: After a visit to Yellowstone National Park, you send a sonic report back to your planet of origin.

Step 1: You’re an extraterrestrial visiting Earth from your home planet. Like many tourists, you’re in awe of the beauty of Yellowstone National Park. You make a bunch of audio recordings of the wildlife. You surreptitiously post those recordings at the following URL. Check them out:

https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/soundlibrary.htm

Step 2: Since this is your first trip to Earth, you can’t really tell one animal from another, bird or human or wolf. Create a report back to your home planet consisting of material drawn from those audio recordings. It can take whatever structure you’d like: collage, song, cut-up, analysis. Be sure to employ alien technology when constructing your report.

Thanks to Lowell Goss for mentioning the kottke.org post that brought this resource to my attention.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0406” (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 “disquiet0406” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation of 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-0406-phoneme-home/

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, October 14, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, October 10, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0406” 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 406th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Phoneme Home / The Assignment: After a visit to Yellowstone National Park, you send a sonic report back to your planet of origin — at:

https://disquiet.com/0406

Thanks to Lowell Goss for mentioning the kottke.org post that brought this resource to my attention.

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-0406-phoneme-home/

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

Audio via the United States’ National Park Service, used via:

https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/soundlibrary.htm

Image by John J. Audubon, used via the Internet Archive:

https://archive.org/details/brooklynmuseum-o84177-white-headed-eagle

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