This is my weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)
▰ Despite the title “Patch Notes,” this 15-minute video by Lucrecia Dalt is not a tutorial. It’s a full performance, a mesmerizing one, for expertly processed voice. Dalt is based in Berlin, Germany.
▰ “Origin High Brazil” is dense drones, somehow both orchestral yet solitary, from Parker Weston of Phoenix, Arizona. It’s the second track off the Enohpoxas Blews album, recored by Weston under the PKWST moniker:
▰ Gamelan-inspired, software-forged, effortlessly dreamy synthesizer figments from the talented, Indonesia-based musician Fahmi Mursyid:
There is a certain irony to the word “press” having been worn off. Especially in such close proximity to the bell that the noun references, and especially since the phrase “the bell” shows no particular sign of ware. Nor, for that matter, does the button itself, the button one hits to ring the bell. So, two questions:
First, what is that circular item directly above the words “the” and “bell”? It looks like some sort of small coin, a mark of a secret organization, an emblem of some rank or other. Is it a form of welcome to those who recognize it?
Second, about that word “long”: It’s an adjective, not an adverb, and the fray to its right suggests, in parallel to the fray on the far left, that perhaps there was another letter there, though the shadows of the doorbell casing do taper off quickly. Would it have said “longy,” which is not a word? Would some letter have completed this phrase? Did the writer belatedly deem the grammar an issue, seek to remove it, and only get this far? The visitor has much to ponder in advance of the gate being opened.
There haven’t been any Buddha Machine Variations in a few days, but there’s been a lot of activity, some of it futile (thus far), but progress is being made. This is a cable intended to connect the ER-301 module to a 16n faderbank via i2c, a nearly 40-year-old data transfer system (see wikipedia.org). I use the word “intended” because so far the connection is befuddling me.
Customary rear view of printed circuit board before the device returns to the generous pool of second-hand synthesizer modules. This is the Monome Walk (Monome being the manufacturer, Walk the module), so named because it lets you attach two foot pedals to send triggers and the like. It’s a great module, but I got two smaller modules that accomplish much of what it is useful for, and it’s time for a change.
Over 165 people have expressed interest by signing up via the Google Form posted a couple days ago. For reference, there are currently 1,573 subscribers to the Disquiet Junto email list, and likely there is substantial overlap between the two lists. I may create a standalone list for the Silent Film project, but for now the Disquiet Junto email list will do double duty. In the next week or so, the first film and the participants for that scoring project will be announced, as will plans for subsequent films as well, at least one of which will follow shortly thereafter.
Initially the plan was maybe 20 people or so would sign up, and we’d do a single film. When that number quickly became 40, and then 60, perhaps we’d do three films at once. As the number topped 100, even allowing that many people may not end up having the time or interest when the dust settles, a more deliberate approach came into focus. There are many ways to tackle the collaborative scoring of a public domain film, and so we’ll do multiple projects over a period of time exploring those different strategies. We’ll do one in which very little information is shared. We may do one exquisite-corpse style, where each participant builds on what came before. We may do one where a shared set of sonic resources are made available. And so forth. One thing all these projects will have in common is that the participants will have substantial time to complete their work, in purposeful contrast with the standard four-day turnaround of the weekly Junto projects.
And that covers it. It’s very exciting to have the Silent Film series to cogitate on and act on during this continued state of mutual self-isolation. It is, indeed, a cliche at this stage to belabor the benefits of long-distance connection, but it is not to simply note them, especially because they have been core to the concept of the Disquiet Junto ever since it was founded back in January 2012.
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
• February 5, 2020: The first session of the 15-week course I teach at the Academy of Art about the role of sound in the media landscape.
• April 15, 2020: A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the forthcoming 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.)
• December 13, 2020: This day marks the 24th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2021: This day marks the 9th 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.
• At least two live group concerts by Disquiet Junto members in the San Francisco Bay Area are in the works for 2020.
• I have liner notes for a musician's solo album and an essay in a book about an art event due out. I'll announce as the release dates come into focus.
• 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.
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.
• 0449 / Page Machine / The Assignment: Read a page of text from a book as if it were a musical score.
• 0448 / Seamless Bridge / The Assignment: Create a 20-second piece of music to connect two preexisting 20-second pieces of music.
• 0447 / Listen Ahead / The Assignment: Make some music for the near future.
• 0446 / WWWLDD / The Assignment: Celebrate World Listening Day for the whole weekend.
• 0445 / Aare Tribute / The Assignment: Read maps of a river as a graphic score.