Audio culture by the numbers
147,000,000,000: An estimate of the annual cost, in Euros, for France as a result of noise pollution
75,000,000: Number of songs in Apple Music’s “entire catalog”
45,000,000: Approximate number of ASMR videos on YouTube as of 2019
¹Footnotes: France: nytimes.com. Lossless: macrumors.com. ASMR: medscape.com.
Originally published in the February 28, 2022, edition of the This Week in Sound email newsletter tinyletter.com/disquiet.
Synths for peace
This week I learned that the synthesizer firms knob.farm, happynerding.com, and dnipro-modular.net are all Ukrainian, as is the music software firm sinevibes.com. Make some space for them in your rack and in your heart. (I have no idea if that is actually the Ukrainian word for “synthesizer” up there, but Google Translate tells me it is.)
An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt
Neighborhood graffiti has entered its Mœbius realist period
From the past week
I do this manually each Saturday, collating most of the tweets I made the past week at twitter.com/disquiet, which I think of as my public notebook. Some tweets pop up in expanded form or otherwise on Disquiet.com sooner. It’s personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud. This isn’t a full accounting. Often there are, for example, conversations on Twitter that don’t really make as much sense out of the context of Twitter itself.
▰ Briefly went down a Chapman Stick rabbit hole on YouTube and have probably destroyed my home page’s algorithmic recommendations for the next month.
▰ This week we’re making “minimally viable music,” such as this bit of audio-emitting code one participant committed. (Listen on llllllll.co.)
▰ In my Algorithm-served ads this week was one for “syringe tin solder paste,” so clearly I’m doing something correctly.
▰ Novels I finished reading, 2022, #6: Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: very fun multi-species, feelings-on-your-sleeve, family-you-choose sci-fi about a tight spaceship crew finding its way through the universe and through life. I’ll be reading the sequel for sure. (In fact, I’ve already started.)
▰ Weekend plans if you need ’em:
- Find unfamiliar records produced by whoever produced a favorite of yours.
- Sort your albums in the order you obtained them.
- Listen to an album straight through while you just, you know, sit there. 🤯
A state of alertness
It’s 7:50pm as I start typing. A siren went by just now. I wasn’t planning to write anything. It’s Friday evening. I had written enough. The siren alerted me, though — not just to some pressing drama in the neighborhood, but to listening in general. Once the siren was gone, I was all the more attentive to what it had briefly masked with the shock of its noise. The siren was a short burst, confusing any sense of trajectory, of direction. Almost immediately after, a car sped by, and following so quickly as it did on the brief presence of an emergency vehicle, the car might itself have been part of the action, even though cars speed past all the time. Elsewhere at home there is typing, each sequential pair of keystrokes framing brief snippets of silence. The short snippets go by quickly. The longer ones are filled with some measure of consideration. When will the next key come? What is delaying its arrival? Presumably the majority of the pauses are between words, or sentences. As for the newfound relative silence, the post-emergency silence, it is all the more quiet because there is no music playing. I was listening earlier to a track on repeat, something from the latest Disquiet Junto project, and then I spent time with an album I wanted to write a bit about. Now it is just minor domestic activity after another long work week in what will be another long year, one whose trajectory is unclear, though newspaper headlines certainly suggest a state of alertness, if not of outright emergency, is underway. And now it is 8:07pm.