Today’s question: What is the lesser sound of two loops melding in the murky depths? Like many folks who venture into the dense formation of inputs and outputs that comprise the Cold Mac module (from Whimsical Raps), I benefited from the aftermarket manual developed by Martin Doudoroff. In the very helpful document, Doudoroff explains the many pathways through this module, which appears opaque at first, and then, following a bit of study, clear as geometry. In this case, I’m following one specific path through the Cold Mac, that being the AND path (in contrast with OR). Per Doudoroff’s notes, “If you patch two signals into AND(1) and AND(2), you get the lowest (trough/minumum) of the two signals at any one time from AND(OUT).” And so, two Buddha Machines here are sending different loops into the synthesizer. Both loops are immediately sent to the Cold Mac (by way of a multiples, because earlier in this lunchtime experiment I was trying a different approach), and then into the Make Noise FXDf. The purpose of the FDXf is to isolate a few mid-range bands of the signal’s audio spectrum, because the highs were getting a little too high if I went straight to the mixer. Three of those bands then go to the mixer: one straight through, and two with their volumes being tweaked a bit by slow-moving hybrid LFOs from the Batumi/SPO combo. That about covers it. If you have a Cold Mac, or are simply interested, the manual mentioned above is at doudoroff.com/cold-mac.
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
• July 28, 2021: This day marks the start of the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
• December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
• January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
• There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the forthcoming 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.)
• The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• 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).
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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.
• 0494 / Insect Menagerie / The Assignment: Record a 20-second clip of the sounds of an insect that you yourself have invented.
• 0493 / AudioCorrect / The Assignment: Think about the utility and the useful failures inherent in autocorrect and apply this to your music.
• 0492 / Kintsugi Rework / The Assignment: Employ the Japanese technique of mending broken ceramics as a metaphor for remixing.
• 0491 / Footsteps Sequencer / The Assignment: Compose a piece of music structured upon a walk through your home.
• 0490 / In Conversation / The Assignment: Compose a piece of music structured like dialog.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 494 consecutive weeks to date.
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