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.

Monthly Archives: March 2021

twitter.com/disquiet: Alias, 8:01am, music lessons

From the past week

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. They’re here pretty much in chronological order. Looking back at the tweets makes the previous week seem both longer and shorter than it was. The cadence is a way to map how time progressed. The subjects are another map of the same territory.

▰ Began a dinner-time 20th-anniversary re-watch of the TV series Alias (2001-2006). Never finished the final season the first time around.

▰ This morning’s Gmail relief note: if I rename a folder/label, any rules I set up for filtering inbound email to it seems to continue to function.

▰ 8:01am sounds: dog barking several doors down; thud of car door being shut; another car’s tires responding to a driver’s sudden awareness of the stop sign at the corner; the house’s final creaks as it reaches furnace-enabled daytime temperature; no birds, no planes

▰ When you can’t seem to delete a hyphen and then you realize it’s a piece of dust on your laptop screen

▰ I don’t recall where I put my glasses before bed last night, but I do now recall that at the time it seemed like it was an unusual and creative option.

Update: under the couch

Current status: Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle”

Tired: My dog ate my homework
Wired: I lost my glasses

▰ Just said “My ear is salivating” out loud, and I’m alright with it.

▰ There’s a moment in the day when I start looking ahead to practicing guitar after dinner. It’s a good moment.

▰ Street music

▰ When many years ago I started to look into taking music lessons, first with piano false starts and, finally, four years ago, settling into guitar, I told myself if I could just play “All of Me” I’d be happy enough to do so for hours at a time. That has turned out to be true.

My favorite “finding a good music teacher” story: The piano teacher who during the trial lesson asked, in what was intended as a rhetorical question, “Which is more important, melody or harmony?” When I sat there quietly for some time, we both realized we were not a good match.

In contrast, on the first day, my guitar teacher asked, “Which guitar players do you like?” And I said, “I think you mean who do I wanna wish I could sound like in 40 years, and I’d say Jon Hassell, even though he plays trumpet.” And we were off to the (slow, steady) races.

▰ Fun fact: if you like drones and own a Stratocaster, all you have to do is turn the guitar on and the amp up.

Q: But what if you like drones that are a different pitch than 60 Hz? :-p (from Nathan Moody, @noisejockey)
A: I put a capo on the power line out front

▰ And, yes, we’re now 18 weeks from the 500th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project

▰ The haiku is, at Marcus Fischer’s suggestion, a structure we can apply to sound itself, and not just to words. This week the Disquiet Junto music community explores that potential, as these waveforms suggest:

▰ And on that note, have a good weekend, folks. Write something you hear. Listen to something you see. Tip those livestreamers, pay for some of that Bandcamp goodness, and why don’t you post something yourself, while you’re at it. (Oh, and wear a mask when out and about.)

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9 Ds

A typographic tour of the neighborhood

I went for a walk last night after work, for the hour before dinner. When I got to the main drag, I found myself next to a longtime sausage shop. I was drawn to (reminded of) the typography due to my unplanned adjacency. This is some of my favorite in our neighborhood.

A short time later, another D called out to me, and I decided I’d look for Ds on my route.

This one is from a large outdoor advertisement that’s been scrawled on and ripped over and over and over again.

Many years ago, when Instagram first began, I tagged along with a group after hours, walking downtown in San Francisco, wandering around and taking pictures. (This one is from a laundromat.)

I don’t know if the person leading it was an employee, a hired hand, or a proto-influencer. The point was to encourage us to take pictures of the everyday, which I was attuned to, having grown up in a Nikon household with a basement darkroom. (Donut shop.)

I don’t know if such outreach was necessary for the then fledgling social media company, or if the outing (were there others?) was deemed successful within the company. The incident does seem like a memory from a distant and, yes, more innocent time. (Water Department cover.)

This morning, the first thing Instagram showed me was a mashup of Charlie Brown and Heavy D, the D looming large, like the overnight algorithm both got me and didn’t. And yes, it was freakish. Note to self: don’t go numb; don’t deny the eeriness. (From sticker affixed to sign.)

As for me yesterday evening, I needed the walk, the stretch, the exercise, the change in scenery, the time outside (I’m very very much a city mouse), an audiobook in my ear lending another layer to the stroll’s inputs and overlaps. (Graffiti on cover to a fire alarm.)

And even more so, I apparently needed this engagement with the written world of our neighborhood, both the seemingly semi-permanent and the presumably (though not always particularly) temporary. (Construction sign warning of work ahead.)

I didn’t intend to document these nine Ds on my walk. I just went for a walk after a particularly interior day. I think now about how Instagram’s grid didn’t so much shape as guide my route, a grid layered on the city’s grid.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0482: Exactly That Gap

The Assignment: Make a musical haiku following instructions from Marcus Fischer.

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 the end of the day Monday, March 29, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, March 25, 2021.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0482: Exactly That Gap
The Assignment: Make a musical haiku following instructions from Marcus Fischer.

The following is lightly adapted from instructions by Marcus Fischer titled “Sound Haiku and Constraints in Composition.”

Background: Sound can be descriptive, emotional, and transportive or it can also be abstract when edited to be disconnected from a recognizable source and recontextualized in a composition. Michael Welch, an Adjunct Poetry Professor at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, states that the haiku “gains its energy by the intuitive or emotional leap that occurs in the space between the poem’s parts, in the gap of what’s deliberately left out. …The art of haiku lies in creating exactly that gap, in leaving something out, and in dwelling in the cut that divides the haiku into its parts.”

Instructions: Construct a Sound Haiku from a series of two-second “syllables” made from recordings you have captured. A traditional haiku is a poem written in three sections of five syllables, seven syllables, and then five syllables. Only seventeen syllables in all. Your audio recordings should be arranged into three sections of ten seconds, fourteen seconds, and then ten seconds, with each section separated by a pause of four seconds of silence.

Once you decide on a theme, try to focus each section of your haiku around aspects of that theme with noticeable contrasts in between each each two-second syllables. Keep in mind that gap between the parts and the power of that pause.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0482” (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 “disquiet0482” (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 llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0482-exactly-that-gap/

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 the end of the day Monday, March 29, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, March 25, 2021.

Length: The length of your finished track will be, per the instructions, roughly 42 seconds.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0482” 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 482nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Exactly That Gap (The Assignment: Make a musical haiku following instructions from Marcus Fischer) — at:

https://disquiet.com/0482/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0482-exactly-that-gap/

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

Image associated with this project is by Marcus Fischer, used by permission.

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Stop Sign

A mesostic

          I will misS this peace
  even when so much That I miss
returns in the wake Of
         the world oPening
                 up, when 
             I will See 
        more people In a day
  than I hear drivinG far too speedily
                 dowN our street
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Impure Celestial

Five CDs of organ music from Sarah Davachi


Sarah Davachi has collected five CDs as a box set of recent interrelated works that engage with various organs in the context of other instruments, notably synthesizers. A key track is “Accord of Voice I,” off the album Laurus, released last December. It is a procession of held notes, their rich tonalities layering deeply, the result being beautifully impure harmonies, dense slow motion cacophonies that achieve something almost celestial. The collection is titled Cantus Figures Laurus and it includes two previous double-CD sets, Cantus, Descant and Figures in Open Air, as well as Laurus and what Davachi describes as “an extended EP of early sketches for the music fully realised on Cantus, Descant.”

Record originally released at sarahdavachi.bandcamp.com. More from Davachi at sarahdavachi.com.

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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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  • Upcoming
    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.

  • Recent
    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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