Another beautiful album by Jeannine Schulz, Wanderer in the Colorful Fields is six tracks of music that feels a split second shy of being entirely on pause. Quite frequently the emphasis is on slight sounds played in reverse, time slipping backward, in which case it’s still a split second shy of pause, just from the other side of the divide. It’s hard to say if the sounds — which seem to include electric guitar and bells, but could be other things entirely — are treated here like objects under glass, carefully presented, or like natural occurences, chance moments happened upon. Either way, the results are delicate, elegant, and richly reflective.
There is so much going on in this track, a British field recording presumably recorded recently. Something about the suggestion of that time sync makes it feel physically proximate, too, even if it’s far away from wherever the listener might be. And even if nothing in it is, technically, “alive,” in the sense that an animal might be alive, it is nonetheless very much alive. This is “Underwater Stream” by Landsounds, the name under which London-based John Hooper captures audio of the everyday and, as happens here, reveals the complexity inherent in it. In these mere two and a half minutes, there is gurgling, certainly, and droning, yes, and a hum that makes the the droning seem like its trebly by comparison, and other sounds (rope against wood?) that creak like dolphins speak. None is isolated from the others. They are in sync in their own manner. And then there’s that slow heartbeat of a pulse at the start and just before the end. It’s enough to make you think it’s been a bit of ambient techno all along.
A 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. I hope to write more about some of these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them.
▰ On the double album If Not Now, released at the very end of 2020, Meredith Bates sends her violin and viola through a range of processing, yielding echoes and textures, layers and atmospheres, stutters and breakage. It somehow manages to be both intimate and orchestral at the same time. Bates is based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
▰ Three field recordings of what’s going on under the ice, captured by Ivo Vicic of Rijeka, Croatia, on Under the Ice – Secret Sounds of Nature. As Vicic describes it, what we’re hearing is a water stream, amomg other activity, recorded at a lake that has frozen over during the winter. Released earlier this month. (Thanks for the recommendation, Patricia Wolf!)
▰ In a 10-minute live video, Poland-baed Grzegorz Bojanek makes rough-hewn ambient music in realtime with a handful of Buddha Machines and effects pedals. Even if you’re entirely familiar with the source audio, you’ll be enchanted by the new territories Bojanek explores.
▰ The cacophonous fragility of Marcus Fischer’s mid-February “Thawing” is a field recording made during the Portland, Oregon, winter. Writes Fischer of the brief track: “Thawing ice releasing itself and falling from a large oak tree onto the snow-covered street below.”
to The CArs That
happEns on our street,
when kids Bored by pandemic
restrictiOns rejoice in the
open Air opportunities of
caR-devoid pavement, and rattle
arounD (fairly quietly) for hour
Now that the <pre> command works on this site, I may dip into mesostics on occasion. I created a mesostic tag, which unearthed a Rick Tarquinio recording from 2012 and a Felix Schramm exhibit from 2007.
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
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.
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.