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

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Monthly Archives: May 2022

This Week in Sound: A Consensus of Jackdaws

A lightly annotated clipping service

These sound-studies highlights of the week are lightly adapted from the May 30, 2022, issue of the free weekly email newsletter This Week in Sound (

As always, if you find sonic news of interest, please share it with me, and (except with the most widespread of news items) I’ll credit you should I mention it here.

Tubular bells isn’t merely a classic Mike Oldfield song that I enjoy most when DJ Krush works it into his DJ sets. They’re a form of instrument patented in 1884 and in production until the 1920 — so we learn from a detailed study by Bill Hibbert, whose The Sound of Bells blog is now one of my favorite things on the internet. ➔ (Via Chris Lowis’ Web Audio newsletter)

“Culture, once thought to be uniquely human, is found in a wide range of animal species.” Thus begins a fascinating dive into the maintenance of complex songs as they are learned amid humpback whale communities. ➔

Google may be working on Android software “to track time spent snoring and coughing at night.”

Apparently when a flock — excuse me, murder — of jackdaws is heard making squawking in near unison, what is apparently happening is that they’re taking a vote. “By establishing consensus to leave the roost early and in large flocks, birds may reduce predation risk, facilitate access to useful foraging information,” write researchers. ➔

Google speech recognition is getting personal: “’Personalized speech recognition’ feature now looks to help Google Assistant get ‘better at recognizing your frequent words and names.'” ➔

You know all those Indian loudspeakers I’ve been writing about each week as having been confiscated during noise-pollution crackdowns? Wonder what happened to them all? “Schools have become the unlikely beneficiaries of the state government’s campaign in April to take down loudspeakers installed without permission at various public places and sites of worship. The owners of some of these loudspeakers have over the past few weeks donated the devices to educational campuses that operate on tight budgets, cajoled by the police.” ➔

The beautiful thing about the internet is not only does a rooster disturb its neighbor, but news of the crow circulates around the world, becoming, in a way, a larger form of disturbance. Apparently there are lots of laws on the books in Greenwich, Connecticut, about animals —but “noise from an animal is exempt.” At least as of now. ➔

Actor Giancarlo Esposito is the source of the Sonos Voice Control system’s default

“When you put your head underwater on a coral reef, it is just an absolutely dizzying array of shapes and colors and noises and sounds, it is completely overwhelming,” says marine biologist Tim Lamont, in the context of describing the ongoing threats to marine life. “One of the things we discovered when the reefs were degrading, where it was that they were going quieter, that sort of, you know, this biological symphony was being silenced.” ➔ (Thanks, Lotta Fjelkegård!)

Voice phishing — or vishing — is on the rise: “We are seeing an increase in threat actors moving away from standard voice phishing campaigns to initiating multi-stage malicious email attacks. In these campaigns, actors use a callback number within the body of the email as a lure, then rely on social engineering and impersonation to trick the victim into calling and interacting with a fake representative.” ➔

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Sound Ledger¹ (Vishing, Carson)

Audio culture by the numbers

550: The percent at which voice phishing attacks have increased in the past 12 months

60: The number of years since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, its title relating the decline of bird populations due to environmental issues

22: Number of weeks in a row I’ve now managed to publish This Week in Sound, definitely a personal record


Vishing: Carson:

Originally published in the May 30, 2022, edition of the This Week in Sound email newsletter. Get it in your inbox via

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The Health of the Ship

One last trip with the Rocinante crew

The final volume of the nine-book (not counting novellas, comics, and six-season TV show) Expanse series was high on my list for end-of-2021 reads. But as the release dates overlapped, I put the final book in the three-volume Jade series by Fonda Lee first, and after it was done, I just wanted to delay the end of another series I’ve spent so much time with. I started volume nine, Leviathan Falls, a few months ago, but still wasn’t ready to say goodbye, so I put it down. It would never be a short goodbye, anyhow, as the book weighs in at 528 pages. I finally started again at the end of May, which meant re-experiencing this moment early on, when Naomi Nagata explores the ship, the Rocinante, that has carried her and her crew mates through so many adventures. She does so by listening, and by doing so, sensorially brings the reader, as well, into the hull for one last trip.

Tag: / Leave a comment ] “Bloggen ist Seven of Nine”

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. And sometimes I re-order them just a bit.

▰ 14th novel I’ve finished reading in 2022: Hervé Le Tellier’s An Anomaly. Largely enjoyable high-concept scifi puzzle told in fragments of characters’ experiences. Varying degree of detail aligns with the story’s philosophical conundrum, but can feel cursory. Does, in the end, tie things together better than Lost did.

▰ My happy place is when Iannis Xenakis drawings look like Lebbeus Woods drawings.

▰ I usually keep autoplay turned off, but sometimes it turns back on. The Algorithm just decided to follow up the modern industrial music of Vladislav Delay’s forthcoming album (there’s an initial track up) with Chet Baker and Paul Bley playing “Every Time We Say Goodbye.”

▰ Seems appropriate that this actual-in-existence Miles Davis figurine from Funko Pop looks like a deer caught in the headlights. (Via Eugene Holley, Jr.)

▰ “Bloggen ist Seven of Nine, Social Media ist Borg.”

I didn’t need Google to translate that but I did need it to translate the rest of this great post in which someone dug into some of my 2019 thoughts on the 20th anniversary of the word “blog.”

▰ This one graffiti artist in the neighborhood is next level

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Carmen Villain x Arve Henriksen

On her excellent Only Love from Now On

I often don’t get past the first track on Only Love from Now On, the recent album by Carmen Villain, because the nearly eight minutes of tribal Fourth World trance is essentially designed to be played on loop. It draws you close with held granular background textures, settles your pulse into a groove with a roughly 30 BPM slomo headnodder (or double that, depending on where you find the rhythmic locus — and even then, still quite sedate), and proceeds to layer the electronically mediated trumpet of Arve Henriksen — Villain’s fellow Norwegian — on top.

Henriksen alternates between the breathy noir melodicism of a hologram Chet Baker and the digitally generated chords long associated with Jon Hassell, finding blissful peace between two very different eras of jazz trumpet. He hits these plateaus of sound and lets them linger, playing call and response with himself thanks to distant triggered trills. All along, the underlying setting suggests something is afoot. The music feels ceremonial, yet the cause of the ceremony is unstated — an ambiguity that is right in line with Villain’s expressly atmospheric approach.

Album originally posted at

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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

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