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.

Monthly Archives: August 2020

Forging Rhythmic Similarities

A collaboration between João Ricardo, Henrique Fernandes, and Jorge Quintela

Sublumia: Liquid Aesthesia is the trio of João Ricardo, Henrique Fernandes, and Jorge Quintela working in collaboration. They combine myriad tiny sounds, from closely experienced field recordings to minuscule devices to composed tones making subtle variations, all in the service of forming a detailed sound world that derives the exotic from the familiar. Such things, apparently, as field recordings of insect noise, the burble of boiling water, and the mechanistic click of unidentified gadgetry gather to a forge singular listening undertaking, one in which the similarities between the source materials, notably in rhythmic terms, provide a conceptual through line. Liner notes explain that the recordings originated as the sound of a combination performance and sound installation: “The objects that integrate it use the sound capture and projection of light from and on water and several electromechanical elements, such as air pumps, dc motors and sound induction devices, without resorting to manipulation or any type of artificialization of the sound sources or lighting.”

Album originally posted at

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Disquiet Junto Project 0451: Ursula’s Silences

The Assignment: Make music inspired by a line from A Wizard of Earthsea.

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, August 24, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 20, 2020.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0451: Ursula’s Silences
The Assignment: Make music inspired by a line from A Wizard of Earthsea.

Step 1: In the classic fantasy novel A Wizard of Earthsea, its author, Ursula K. Le Guin, writes the following: “For a word to be spoken, there must be silence. Before, and after.” While the words are her own, of course, they are spoken not by the narrator, but by the book’s main character. The statement occurs toward the end of the book. For emphasis, Le Guin informs the reader that the character, whose name is Ged, speaks the words “slowly.”

Step 2: Consider how the statement can be applied to music, to sound, to the linear unfolding of a composition.

Step 3: Record a piece of music inspired by the Le Guin text: one sonic object at a time, with attention paid to the spaces, the silences, between those objects as they are introduced.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0451” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your tracks.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0451” (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 tracks. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your tracks.

Step 4: Post your tracks in the following discussion thread at

Step 5: Annotate your tracks 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, August 24, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 20, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Remember: it’s a sentence, not a novel.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0451” in the title of the tracks, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, 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: It is always best to set 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 451st weekly Disquiet Junto project, Ursula’s Silences (The Assignment: Make music inspired by a line from A Wizard of Earthsea), at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

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

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When Music and Video Are Truly Paired

A live performance by mafmadmaf

This is far from ambient, so it won’t be going on my live-ambient video playlist, but it’s an excellent live video. There’s no sound until just about the 30-seconds mark. That’s because mafmadmaf, the musician whose hands dart in and out of view, up until then is still getting the patch started. That is, he’s still adding cables, and until enough are connected, his small synthesizer setup has no sound to make. And then it begins. First with a drone, a low undercurrent of foundational noise. Then the rapid clicking of industrial action, like a fervent sewing machine doing its duties. Not every cable connection alters the sound. Some, as at the opening, are subsets of multi-stage efforts to accomplish a sonic goal. The beauty of this piece, including the intent rhythmic quality, is how precisely the sounds and image correlate, how the viewer takes in the music not merely as sound, but as connected to the device from which it emanates, much as the music itself is predicated on connections made with patch cables.

Video originally posted at More from mafmadmaf, who is based in Guangzhou, China, at

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ClockSkip In Effect

Simple evening beat experiment

Simple evening beat experiment: four pulses in sync, each triggering a different percussive envelope of a different spectral subset of a pair of waveforms heard in combination. One of the waveforms is having its pitch alerted occasionally, both in and out of sync with the overall rhythm. The element of chance results from the four triggers all being muted on occasion (slightly less than 50% of the time) by the ClockSkip function in the Hemisphere alternate firmware in the Ornament and Crime module. Envelopes courtesy of the Xaoc Zadar. Waves courtesy of a pair of Mutable Instruments Plaits (here in the form of clones: the Antumbra Knit).

Video originally posted at

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A Modular Study

By mafmadmaf

The ER-301 is a great and powerful synthesizer module, not in the Wizard of Oz sense, where there’s a man behind the curtain ready to spoil any sense of wonder, but in the sense that it requires significant effort due to, as the musician mafmadmaf puts it, the considerable amount of depth and complexity it represents. All of which said, in what is billed as a first study here, mafmadmaf induces a tremendous operation of chamber electronic music from it. Initial pulses glitch out, yielding trailing drones that combine with rhythmic trills, filigrees of error. In time, a seesaw melody gently brings the disparate pieces into a lulling whole.

Video originally posted at More from mafmadmaf at

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  • 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

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    • 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 (
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    • 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).

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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.

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  • 0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.
    0543 / Technique Check / The Assignment: Share a tip from your method toolbox.
    0542 / 2600 Club / The Assignment: Make some phreaking music.
    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.

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