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

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Monthly Archives: December 2019

Disquiet Junto 0417: Changes Tracker

The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments.

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, December 30, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, December 26, 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 0417: Changes Tracker
The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments.

As is the tradition at the end of each calendar year, this week’s project is a sound journal, a selective audio history of your past twelve months.

Step 1: You will select a different audio element to represent each of the past 12 months of 2019 — or you might choose even more elements, choosing an audio element for each week, or each day, for example. These audio elements will most likely be of music that you have yourself composed and recorded, but they might also consist of phone messages, field recordings, or other source material. These items should be somehow personal in nature, suitable to the autobiographical intention of the project; they should be of your own making, and not drawn from third-party sources.

Step 2: You will then select one segment from each of these (mostly likely) dozen audio elements (if you’re doing a dozen items, one for each month, then five-second segments are recommended).

Step 3: Then you will stitch these segments together in chronological order to form one single track. There should be no overlap or gap between segments; they should simply proceed from one to the next.

Step 4: In the notes field accompanying the track, identify each of the audio segments.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0417” (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 “disquiet0417” (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-0417-changes-tracker/

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, December 30, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, December 26, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0417” 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 417th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Changes Tracker / The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments — at:

https://disquiet.com/0417/

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-0417-changes-tracker/

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

The image associated with this track is by kntsmd, and is used (image cropped, text added) via Flickr thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/7ngP9u

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

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Dischoir: A Call for Voices

For a future Disquiet Junto project

What does the Disquiet Junto community sound like when it sings together? Let’s find out.

We’re doing a special Disquiet Junto project beginning on January 9, 2020. What follows below are instructions well in advance of that project. (This phase is to collect material for the January 9 project. This isn’t the project itself.)

Please record yourself singing one held syllable, such as “ahhh” or “ohhh” or “ewww” or “eeeee” or whatever you choose, for between two seconds and seven seconds in duration. The note you sing and the held syllable you sing don’t matter. Just sing the note and held syllable that come to you.

Then send me a link to the audio file in the .wav format. Title the .wav file “[artist-name]–[title-with-hyphens].wav.” So, for example, something I’d share might be weidenbaum–drone-syllable.wav, or disquiet–held-tone.wav. (Please don’t send me the file as an attachment. Send it as a link. Thanks.)

I’ll then collate the files I receive into a folder. Those vocal files will be shared with everyone on January 9, 2020, when the project begins, along with further instructions.

The deadline for the vowel submissions is Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

This all came about as a result of something Alan Bland mentioned on the Junto Slack. He pointed out that my having misspelled Disquiet as “Disquier” in the December 19, 2019, project title made him think of “Dischoir,” a possible Junto project. Thanks to Alan and to Jason Wehmhoener for helping me think this project through. It should be a lot of fun.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0416: Time Laps

The Assignment: Improvise successive layers, each time reversing the previous layer.

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, December 23, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, December 19, 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 0416: Time Laps
The Assignment: Improvise successive layers, each time reversing the previous layer.

The project is intended as a series of live improvisations, but certainly interpret the instructions as you see fit.

Step 1: Record a short piece of live, improvised music.

Step 2: Reverse the audio recorded in Step 1.

Step 3: Record a live improvisation on top of the reversed audio that resulted from Step 2. (Do this by listening to and responding to the playback in real time.) Then flatten the two layers into one layer.

Step 4: Reverse the combined audio (both layers flattened) resulting from Step 3.

Step 5: Record a live improvisation on top of the reversed audio that resulted from Step 4. (Do this by listening to and responding to the playback in real time.) Then flatten the two layers into one layer.

Step 6: Reverse the combined audio (both layers flattened) resulting from Step 5. This is your finished piece (unless you’d like to do additional layers, continuing the flip-flopping, for as many times as you’d like).

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0416” (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 “disquiet0416” (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/disquier-junto-project-0416-time-laps/

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, December 23, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, December 19, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0416” 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 416th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Time Laps / The Assignment: Improvise successive layers, each time reversing the previous layer:

https://disquiet.com/0416/

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/disquier-junto-project-0416-time-laps/

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

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The Mute Siren

San Francisco's Tuesday noon siren has begun a two-year hiatus.

Today as noon approached, I left home and walked to the bus stop. The downtown bus wasn’t due to arrive for another 10 minutes or so, but rather than linger indoors, I stood outside and waited for not just the bus but the hour to arrive. I waited for the confirmation that, indeed, at noon, nothing would be heard. Not nothing, mind you, just not the something that has rung out every Tuesday at noon for years.

That something is the unique one-two punch of the Outdoor Public Warning System here in San Francisco. First comes the siren itself, and then the announcement, like something out of a Godzilla movie: “This is a test, this is only a test,” and so forth. Well, not “comes.” Came. Came, past tense. The OPWS is on hiatus for two years. Last Tuesday, December 10, it rang out one final time, across nearly 120 speakers spread around the city, and then was turned off. The whole system is being updated, and until that work is complete, the siren will be mute.

A “mute siren” sounds like some tragic story out of mythology, and there is indeed something monumental to the siren’s presence, and something fable-like to its combination of ubiquity and transparency. The massive speakers that exist solely to emit its signal hide in plain sight. The sound itself often goes unnoticed. I regularly meet people who have lived in San Francisco for months, even years, and who never knew the siren rang out. Once they hear it, of course, they know it’s there, and in that instant they join a community of listeners. Subsequently, they listen for the OPWS each Tuesday, and they are conscious of missing it when they happen to be indoors, or underground, or out of town at the appointed time.

You can hear what it sounds like in this recording I made back in 2013. Note the suggestion of an echo, which is in fact the presence of multiple speakers heard at varying distances:

For the next two years we’ll all miss what can be termed a true “soundmark” of San Francisco. R. Murray Schafer, the acoustic ecologist and composer, defines the “soundmark” as “a community sound which is unique or possesses qualities which make it specially regarded.” Other regional soundmarks will abound, from the deep drones of foghorns on the bay to the rattle of the cable cars. We’ll have to see what we make of the OPWS when it returns. Will it sound the same? Will it continue to be offered, in some neighborhoods, in both Cantonese and Spanish? Will its eventual return feel like a rupture, given its extended absence? Or will it again settle into the city’s soundscape (a better-known term of Schafer’s), pervasive and hushed, insistent and invisible, threatening and comforting.

Read more about the projected two-year hiatus of the San Francisco Outdoor Public Warning System at sfdem.org/sirenshutdown.

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Drones & Strings

A study in contrats courtesy of RP Collier

The sleepy drone that slowly pulses and frays throughout this RP Collier track, “We Fly in Blimps Now,” hovers like its title subject. What it hovers above provides quite a study in contrasts. The drone is all muffled noise, a crunchy sound yielding softness through filters and the semblance of stasis. Below the drone unfolds the slow progression of a melody, presumably played guitar: a lonesome presence in the shadow of fierce clouds.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/rpcollier. More from RP Collier, who is based in Portland, Oregon, at youtube.com and rpcollier.bandcamp.com.

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