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. • Disquiet.com 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.

twitter.com/disquiet: Heinlein, Hein, Miles, Cortini

I do this manually each week, collating the tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet (which I think of as my public notebook) that I want to keep track of. For the most part, this means ones I initiated, not ones in which I directly responded to someone. I sometimes tweak them a bit here. Some tweets pop up on Disquiet.com sooner than I get around to collating them, so I leave them out of the weekly round-up. It’s usually personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud, especially these days, when a week can feel both like a year and like nothing whatsoever has happened or changed.

▰ When you recognize yourself in a book you haven’t read since you were in junior high school:

“that look of painful, unseeing concentration found only under a pair of earphones”

–Robert A. Heinlein’s Rocket Ship Galileo

▰ By and large, I don’t know about the future of newsletters, as this detail of my inbox evidences, but I enjoy putting out This Week in Sound (tinyletter.com/disquiet). It’s a helpful way for me to (as it turns out) process my inbox, and leads to good conversations with readers.

▰ This image is by Ethan Hein. It’s from two years ago, and it exhibits the chain of interactions among asynchronous collaborators in series of connected Disquiet Junto projects. We’re doing the same sequence right now: We begin with solos, which become duets, and then trios.

▰ In today’s post. Looking forward to it. And, no, my eyewear is self-evidently not as cool as Miles Davis’.

▰ It’s been one thing to have musical collaborators all over the world. It’s a whole other thing, in our golden age of streaming, to be able to discuss each other’s local television series offerings.

▰ I did two episodes of the Disquietude ambient podcast in 2017, and then recognized the world had broken and I needed to moderate my activities. I think I’m getting it going again. I have material mostly sorted. One musician even made a special version of her track I requested.

▰ My tablet’s facial recognition seems to recognize my face better when I give it a quizzical “Don’t you recognize my face yet?” look, versus my normal vaguely blank everyday face look. I’m sure this is not a good feedback loop to enter into.

▰ When you get to “Black Satin” and you have this sense of relief, both the familiarity of what’s playing, and the realization of what you’ve just emerged from 20 minutes of. I’m spending the afternoon On the Corner.

▰ 2020: interest in complex oscillators

2021: having an oscillator complex

▰ I was using an app the other day, and when I swiped through to a subsequent page it paused and the screen briefly showed:

[suspenseful orchestral music plays]

And then the next screen popped up. I couldn’t reproduce this. It must just happen when the app unexpectedly pauses.

▰ Major thanks to Łukasz Langa (twitter.com/llanga) for summing this up, putting into helpful words a big part of what I think of as the Disquiet Junto music community’s combination of mutually supportive and self-directed. What Langa is referring to is that folks shouldn’t be hesitant to post something. The Junto isn’t about finished work. It’s about getting started.

▰ It has been so long since I wrote a letter by hand other than a thank you note that I’ve found myself typing it and then transcribing it. Even this is a thank you note, just a slightly longer one than normal.

▰ YouTube radicalization is real. I’ve been practicing 12-bar blues on guitar to live recordings of 80 bpm shuffle beats, and the algorithm just suggested a 70 bpm video. At this point I’ll be in an Earth cover band by spring.

▰ Arguably years of experience help, but sure, OK

▰ Tracks selected for the Disquietude podcast. And last night, with a usefully pre-bedtime sleepy voice, I recorded the intro and the post-music track explication. Now I just need to edit it. Looks like there will, four years on, be a third episode of the Disquietude podcast.

▰ Step 1: Modular synthesizer.

Step 2: Modular synthesizers are expensive. VCV Rack is free.

Step 3: I really need a new, powerful computer dedicated just to VCV Rack.

▰ The GameStop situation is further evidence that (1) we live in a simulacrum and (2) its CPU is failing.

▰ I used to first type “this seems cool” every time I tried out a new piece of technology that involved data input. Now I type “this doesn’t seem like a hassle.”

▰ Remembering my early experiences with Twitter when all I’d do was post stray sounds I happened to hear.

▰ I do my best to stick to a Kindle Paperwhite on the rare occasion I’m up in the middle of the night. A recent bad night was cured when I played audiobook I’d been listening to but slowed the speed considerably. It … was … so … slow … I … fell … asleep … fast. A friend had recommended listening to audiobooks of ancient history, and that led me to worry I’d find it too interesting, which led me to wonder how to make something seem boring, which led to me slowing it down. I was listening to a spy novel, and it still knocked me out.

▰ Getting retweeted by twitter.com/instrumentBot is the highlight of my day.

▰ Just to confirm, that’s a Bruce Springsteen box set, a Beatles album, and a Wham album on the shelf behind Alessandro Cortini in that new synth video? (The one for the Make Noise Strega.)

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • 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

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    December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    December 28, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

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    July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in 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 oup.com.)

  • Ongoing
    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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  • 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.

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  • 0511 / Freeze Tag / The Assignment: Consider freezing (and thawing) as a metaphor for music production.
    0510 / Cold Turkey / The Assignment: Record one last track with a piece of music equipment before passing it on.
    0509 / The Long Detail / The Assignment: Create a piece of music with moments from a preexisting track.
    0508 / Germane Shepard / The Assignment: Use the Shepard tone to create a piece of music.
    0507 / In DD's Key of C / The Assignment: Make music with 10 acoustic instrument samples all in a shared key.

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