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: April 2022 Mastodon, Doorbells, Rubik

From the past week

I do this manually each Saturday, collating most of the tweets I made the past week at, which I think of as my public notebook. Some tweets pop up sooner in expanded form or otherwise on I’ve found it 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. And sometimes I tweak them a bit, given the additional space.

▰ Afternoon trio for dishwasher, microwave, and neighbor’s construction

▰ Thanks to the patient assistance of my longtime social media spirit ally, the wise C. Reider, I’ve boarded the Mastodon. (Note: I no longer use the account I listed in the original tweet. It’s a long story. This thread provides some sense of the series of events, and my confusion, which has since been dealt with, had nothing to do with C. Reider’s help, which was great.)

▰ Doorbell rings. Peep head out door. Look left. See two seemingly pre-drinking-age individuals headed away. Look right. See neighbor’s head peeping out door.

▰ OK, music theory nerds, hit me with your mnemonics for modes, ’cause my head hurts trying to keep ’em straight.

▰ “Marc, you signed up for Mastodon, so why aren’t you posting?”

“I posted yesterday, and the stuff disappeared, as did all my profile information and images.”

“You should sign up for a less popular server.”

“I tried to. I had to apply and haven’t heard back.”

“You should just refill your profile material.”

“I did. Twice. And it’s all gone.”


“So, I’m gonna wait for the popularity to chill, and then see if the thing is working.”


▰ Mastodon, ’cause it’s old and slow but potentially powerful. In any case, now I’m at @[email protected] (Not loving the vibe around the word “lurk” but so be it. Friends say it’s an OK hang.)

▰ OK, I deleted my account. Who knew is different from (Fun fact, my first online instance — not counting BBS — was ~mrcwdnbm on some ancient 1993/1994 FTP site.) Anyhow, now I know. I’ve deleted the one with he vowels.

▰ Er, with “the vowels.” I managed to delete a consonant while trying to talk about deleting vowels. This is what Mastodon’s complexities have done to my brain.

▰ Mostly been using my own photos for the Disquiet Junto projects lately, but I used a public domain one for tomorrow’s. Looks pretty nifty, I think.

▰ OK, in the interest of simplicity, I’m just at @[email protected] for Mastodon activities. I’ve deleted both and my accounts (have no idea how I ended up with both, except that this whole process has been very confusing).

▰ A piece of the puzzle:

▰ Been (back) on Mastodon 48 hours and every time I see the word “federated” I think 🖖.

▰ “This Man Married a Fictional Character. He’d Like You to Hear Him Out” ( I’ll just assume some variant on this is the next Sayaka Murata novel until there is a next Sayaka Murata novel

▰ The summary statement of the Mastodon “community” (I’m still learning lingo) I’ve currently settled on: “Welcome to, an instance for discussions around cultural freedom, experimental, new media art, net and computational culture, and things like that.”

▰ 7:34am: I somehow have three different Mastodon accounts. Nothing works.

12:38pm: I’m down to one account. This interface is more opaque than it needs to be but I’m OK with it.

3:32pm: It’s still a bit confusing but I haven’t been confused online in a while so let’s go with it.

▰ Reflecting on how I found Mastodon very confusing for two days, and how now I don’t. You’ve truly passed through a window when you can’t quite recall the reasoning for why something had been, quite recently, not just confusing but downright irritating.

▰ Joining requires your “favorite book.” I don’t have one. I’m bad at lists, worse at favorites. I put John Stilgoe’s Shallow Water Dictionary, among the books I’ve most often given as gifts. Maybe Robert Coover’s The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop.? Maybe Paul Auster’s City of Glass? Hard.

▰ Twelfth novel I finished reading this year: a hunk of lightness in the form of John Scalzi’s The Kaiju Preservation Society. Read the author’s note first. It sets the right expectations for a book about bio-nuclear shenanigans, quick camaraderie, executive greed, and being the least educated person in the room.

▰ Me at the start of the week: Mastodon is excruciatingly complicated and whatever my head hurts.

Me at the end of the week: writes a 2,000-word email to friends helping them understand it by tracing my own walk through the conceptual window.

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Back to Gattaca

Andrew Niccol's masterpiece

Watched Gattaca for the first time in forever and it’s an even better movie than I’d recalled — a movie where its economical use of locations is matched by its tightly scripted approach. Bonus points for the Michael Nyman score.

Speaking of Nyman, extra bonus points for a peek into the alternate ways that post-human life has been designed in the world of Gattaca. It’s not all cool-as-cucumber starship navigators.

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Friday Afternoon Sightseeing

An ongoing series cross-posted from

The geometry of the Altar of Concrete

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Disquiet Junto Project 0539: Control Breath

The Assignment: Let your slow breathing guide a piece of music.

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, May 2, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0539: Control Breath
The Assignment: Let your slow breathing guide a piece of music.

Step 1: You’re going to record a piece of music in which not just the pace but the shape of your breathing will provide the foundation. Plan to do so with slow breathing.

Step 2: Spend some time just breathing, and paying attention to the breath. Locate a pace that is comfortable to you

Step 3: Best you can, record yourself breathing. It might take time to get the sound right. Record at least a few minutes.

Step 4: Listen back to the breathing you recorded in Step 3.

Step 5: Make a piece of music using the recording from Step 3. Retain the recording in your new piece of music. The sound of you breathing doesn’t need to be prominent, but it should both provide the shape and pace of your work, and at least occasionally be audible.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0539” (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 “disquiet0539” (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 track in the following discussion thread at

Project discussion takes place on

Step 5: Annotate your track 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.

Step 8: Also join in the discussion on the Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to [email protected] for Slack inclusion.

Note: Please post one track for this weekly Junto project. If you choose to post more than one, and do so on SoundCloud, please let me know which you’d like added to the playlist. Thanks.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, May 2, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Length: The length is up to you. Slow often works best when it’s slow and long.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0539” 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 539th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Control Breath (The Assignment: Let your slow breathing guide a piece of music) — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

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Trying out a new social media hub — new to me, that is

7:34am: I somehow have three different Mastodon accounts. Nothing works.

12:38pm: I’m down to one account. This interface is more opaque than it needs to be but I’m OK with it.

3:32pm: It’s still a bit confusing but I haven’t been confused online in a while so let’s go with it.

4:30pm: You know, a Disquiet Junto Mastodon instance wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea.

Mastodon is an interesting choice of name for an online community platform. To begin with, the ancient animal is extinct. In addition, the beast looms in the imagination as potentially slow, perhaps even cumbersome — if, yes, fierce and proud. Also: powerful. So it’s got that.

In any case, I’m still at, posting regularly about the occasional bit of writing, as well as stray sounds that float by my desk, plus screenshots (pageshots?) from what I’m reading. I’ve tried many social networks over the years, and in fact when I logged onto Mastodon this week, I quickly realized I’d been there before. Perhaps twice, even. Soon enough, I accidentally (because Mastodon is many things, none of which are straightforward) had three simultaneous accounts in different communities of Mastodon, two of which had unhelpfully similar names.

I’ve finally settled on a community called The name is a bit concerning, but friends tell me it’s a good crew, and contrary to impressions reinforced by Mastodon’s overly complicated onboarding process, you can see and participate in other communities, whatever your community may be — I type that sentence with caution, as I imagine there are communities that function more as walled gardens. I truly don’t know.

There is a lot of documentation to take in, including flowcharts (which as a friend pointed out, can truly resemble something out of Primer; like, if you make a post it only appears in other timelines — I mean communities — if someone there reposts it or comments on it, but maybe replies still aren’t visible?), and there is advice, both solicited and the other sort. Suffice to say, if anyone asks in a seeming rhetorical manner, “Why aren’t you just on Mastodon?” — well, there are plenty of reasons. Getting aboard is not straightforward. But about a day in, I found it began to click.

All of which is to say, if you’ve added Mastodon to your social media stack, then I am at For how long, I don’t know.

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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

  • Field Notes

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  • Upcoming
    • 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 (
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of 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

  • 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).

  • disquiet 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.

    Recent Projects

  • 0561 / Samplelicker / The Assignment: Rework environmental sound recordings with Aphex Twin's new software.
    0560 / Sonic Disambiguation / The Assignment: Help the Wikimedia Foundation develop a sonic logo.
    0559 / Yes Exit / The Assignment: Compose your personal entrance and exit cues for conference calls.
    0558 / Chore Progressions / The Assignment: Use a routine activity as the map of a composition.
    0557 / Condensation Is a Form of Change / The Assignment: Interpret a graphic score that depicts four phases.

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