Current Favorites: Stillway, Knobs, Mursyid

On Instagram

It’s been quite an odd week for Instagram, which has reportedly been testing out a variety of shifts to its interface and focus. This post is a reminder of some of the good that can be found amid the … well, everything else. It’s also the latest in a series of occasional answers to a frequent question: “What have you been listening to lately?” These are annotated, albeit lightly, because I don’t like reposting material without providing some context. I hope to write more about these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them.

▰ It’s been four years since, in 2018, the highly talented guitarist Jamie Stillway released City Static, which included some beautiful ambient soundscapes. A new live studio performance (at shows her back at it, writing, as she jokes, “the kind of music that puts cats to sleep.”

Knobs, aka Scott Harper, best known for some of the most simultaneously whimsical and informative videos about guitar pedals, has an album due out. Get a listen to preview videos, such as this one, at .

Fahmi Mursyid (at ) records with a wide variety of tools, some of them software-based, such as this droning, pulsing music (that’s half downtempo techno and half space-station infrastructure A.S.M.R.) in the visual coding tool known as Pure Data. Ominous, Headroom, Stats

From the past week

I do this manually each Saturday, usually in the morning over coffee: 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.

▰ Most of the time a TV caption reads “ominous music,” I’m like, “That’s the backing track for when I’m reading a novel on the couch.”

▰ I knew the Outside Lands festival is coming when I saw a giant tractor trailer hauling giant stacks of giant gates.

▰ Recent readymade poetry from Wikipedia’s list of notable deaths:

Japanese mass murderer
Israeli mysticist
American bassist
Burmese politician and rapper

▰ This week’s Disquiet Junto project, the 552nd consecutive one, draws inspiration from a conversation about radio between John Cage and Morton Feldman that Tobias Reber (of Musikfestival Bern) and I were discussing (coincidentally one that Damon Krukowski recently wrote about).

▰ The word “blindsight” finally appears in Peter Watts’ novel of that name about 45% of the way through, sort of how the term “termination shock” appears roughly 50% of the way through Neal Stephenson’s novel of that name. I’ve seen other examples, but that’s the one on my mind. (The essential sentence “Time’s a goon, right?” is the first appearance of “goon” in Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. I think that’s roughly 45% of the way through, though my Kindle-math is failing me at the moment due to stuff at the end of the book. Been a long day.)

▰ In an industry-first innovation, the new Max Headroom TV series will be produced entirely as a discontinuous suite of blipverts.

▰ Pioneering statistical data analysis takeaways of BBS discussions by people talking about recording their own electronic music:

1% gear someone made
2% money someone was(n’t) paid
7% music someone made
15% gear someone used
25% gear someone wants
50% pictures of gear

▰ My Instagram feed is filled with flyers, mostly hand-drawn, for concerts that list the date but not the year and the address but not the city.

(I’m guessing this is not some next-generation UX testing and, instead, merely a personalized reflection of my past browsing.)

Not Remotely Confrontational

An ongoing series cross-posted from

I visit homes for sale in the neighborhood sometimes just to see how a familiar landmark looks from the inside, sometimes to get a sense of the regional architectural history, and sometimes I am rewarded with archaic details that make my heart sing. And with the realtor’s approval, I can hit the button and give it a listen. This one was a beauty. Large as this is, the sound it produced was not remotely confrontational. The attack was soft, and it trailed off for an admirable length of time.

Disquiet Junto Project 0552: The Radio in My Life

The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation.

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, August 1, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0552: The Radio in My Life
The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation.

This project is the second of three that are being done in collaboration with the 2022 Musikfestival Bern, which will be held in Switzerland from September 7 through 11. The topic this year is “unvermittelt,” which is a little tricky to translate. Literally it’s “unmediated,” but it can also mean “sudden,” “abrupt,” or “immediate.”

We are working at the invitation of Tobias Reber, an early Junto participant, who is in charge of the educational activities of the festival. This is the fourth year in a row that the Junto has collaborated with Musikfestival Bern.

Select recordings resulting from these three Disquiet Junto projects will be played and displayed throughout the festival.

Step 1: There’s a great moment in the recorded conversations of composers John Cage and Morton Feldman when they discuss a trip to the beach. Feldman isn’t pleased by the way transistor radios let music, and sound in general, appear in places it hadn’t previously. Cage jokes that having composed music that involves multiple radios, whenever he hears them he thinks, “[W]ell, they’re just playing my piece.” You can listen to it in the first 2.5 minutes of this excerpt:

Step 2: Think about Cage and Feldman’s conversation, in particular about the idea of what is and isn’t a sonic “intrusion” in our lives.

Step 3: Record a piece of music that reproduces or otherwise suggests the sympathetic (i.e., non-intrusive) commingling of radio and everyday sound.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0552” (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 “disquiet0552” (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, August 1, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0552” 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 552nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — The Radio in My Life (The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation) — at:

Thanks to Tobias Reber and Musikfestival Bern for collaboration on this project. More on the festival at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

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