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. • 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.

Palimpsests All the Way Down

My liner notes for Nathan Moody's forthcoming album de​/​Still

It’s always a pleasure to write liner notes, to have a chance, before an album is released and given shape by the impressions of its listeners, to converse with the artist and put forth an initial, fledgling view.

Nathan Moody invited me to write a short essay to accompany de​/​Still, a “musical score” that he created as an aural interpretation of TJ Norris’ photography. Which is to say, my liner notes, which appear below, are an interpretation of music that is an interpretation of images, those images themselves an interpretation of the world as Norris perceives it.

The album, due out August 1, 2020, is currently available for pre-order at More from Moody at More from Norris at

“Palimpsests All the Way Down”

Distant yapping, all rancor and bluster. Line interference, twitching in the ether. Burbling percussion, undulating to its own metronome. Wild-west guitar, casting shadows of sagebrush and end times. Piano chords, melting like tape in the noon sun. Orchestration buried amid static and hum. Drones mixed with fleeting bits of conversation.

The individual sounds that comprise Nathan Moody’s elegiac accompaniment to TJ Norris’ images can often be identified by the ear and characterized by the imagination. Not one of these sounds, however, stands alone. Each component sonic element is heard amid other sonic elements, mixed in close proximity even as they may sway across the stereo spectrum. Likewise, the place where one such sound object ends and the next sound object begins is entirely unclear, deliberately so. Cause and effect intermingle, as foreground and background blur into layers upon layers of detritus. It’s palimpsests all the way down.

If the trusty telephone poll that has born the weight of countless concert flyers could, itself, sing, this is how it would sound.

If the alleyway coated in dirt, graffiti, and memories could have its own voice, this is how it would sound.

If the works of TJ Norris were performed as intentional graphic scores, this is how it would sound. Because it does.

Like Norris’ elegantly layered pictures, Moody’s music is an act of collage, a tribute to chance delights amid the flotsam of human existence. And like Norris’ work, Moody’s never loses sight — despite the emphasis on wear and tear, on time and decay, on fragments and atmosphere — of the urge to appeal, to attract, to please. Even in its dingiest moments, the score finds its foundation in melodic through lines and soulfully resonant structures.

Marc Weidenbaum
San Francisco, CA
August 2019

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Comments: 2 ]

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 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
    • 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 ( at Gray Area (
    • 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

  • 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

  • 0541 / 10BPM Techno / The Assignment: Make some snail-paced beats.
    0540 / 5ive 4our / The Assignment: Take back 5/4 for Jedi time masters Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond.
    0539 / Control Breath / The Assignment: Let your slow breathing guide a piece of music.
    0538 / Guided Decompression / The Assignment: Get someone from tense to chill.
    0537 / Penitent Honk / The Assignment: Do sound design for "a missing gesture" of vehicular life.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 541 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts