My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

downstream

Daily recommended free MP3s + streams

“epiano, timeline, processed”

A glass held, welcomingly, to the thin wall of a home studio

SoundCloud is different things to different people. It may be where your favorite bands host their tracks. It may be where your favorite record label stores its catalog. It may be the home for podcasts you follow, or for media related to a favorite news service, or museum, or consumer product company, for that matter. SoundCloud has grown and changed as time has passed. But for many early adopters, it remains a window on their laboratory, a glass held, welcomingly, to the thin wall of a home studio.

For many musicians, SoundCloud remains a place for sketches, for works in progress. How can one tell? Well, for such musicians, the sketches are often distinguished by their titles, which tend to take the form of a list of ingredients and techniques, as much a reminder for the recording artist as a clue to the listener.

Case in point: “epiano, timeline, processed,” which is Dance Robot Dance, aka Brian Biggs, running bits of a virtual electric piano, an emulation of a stately Rhodes, through a variety of effects. This is all laid out in the brief liner note and handful of tags accompanying the track. What it is to the ear, however, is a splendidly glitchy, syrupy, artfully broken, nearly seven-minute procession of warped samples. It’s the beautiful sound of a music box melting under the summer sun.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/dance-robot-dance. More from Biggs, who is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at dance-robot-dance.bandcamp.com.

Tag: / Leave a comment ]

Disquiet Junto Project 0398: Rauschen Bern

The Assignment: Make music by making a collage of noises.

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 Monday, August 19, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 15, 2019.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0398: Rauschen Bern The Assignment: Make music by making a collage of noises.

This project is the first of three that are being done in collaboration with Musikfestival Bern, which will be held in Switzerland from September 11 through 15. For this reason, a German translation is provided below. We are working with Tobias Reber, an early Junto participant, who is in charge of the educational activities of the festival. Select recordings resulting from these three Disquiet Junto projects will be played publicly as part of the Rauschlabor Schützenmatte (musikfestivalbern.ch) or broadcast on the festival’s radio show, Radio Antenne (radioantenne.ch). If you don’t want your recording to be used in this way, please note so wherever you post it.

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the German word “rauschen.” Understand that “rauschen” is noise in the sense of white noise, waterfall noise, background noise, static, wind in trees, rain, etc. The blurred, diffuse, continuous kind of noise, not short individual non-tonal sounds.

Step 2: Consider that the word “rauschen” is half of the family name of the late artist Robert Rauschenberg, who was famed for his collages.

Step 3: Record several “rauschen” noises and make a sonic collage of them.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0398” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0398” (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 track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0398-rauschen-bern/

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 hashtags #disquietjunto and #musikfestivalbern 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.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, August 19, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 15, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0398” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and 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: Consider setting 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 398th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Rauschen Bern / The Assignment: Make music by making a collage of noises — at:

https://disquiet.com/0398/

This week’s project is the first of three being done in collaboration with Musikfestival Bern, which runs in Switzerland from September 11 – 15, 2019. More details at:

https://www.musikfestivalbern.ch/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0398-rauschen-bern/

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

. . .

Disquiet Junto Project 0398: Rauschen Bern Die Aufgabe: Mach Musik aus einer Collage von Geräuschen.

Jeden Donnerstag wird der Disquiet Junto eine neue Kompositions-Challenge gestellt. Mitglieder haben dann vier Tage Zeit, ein Stück hochzuladen, in welchem sie auf die Challenge reagieren. Die Mitgliedschaft in der Junto ist offen: du kannst einfach mitmachen. (Ein SoundCloud-Account ist nützlich, aber nicht zwingend.) Es besteht keine Verpflichtung, bei jedem Projekt mitzumachen. Die Junto ist wöchentlich von Donnerstag bis Montag, so dass du immer dann mitmachen kannst wenn du Zeit hast.

Read more »

Tags: , , , / Leave a comment ]

This Week in Sound: Nuromuscular Signals + AI Drummer +

A lightly annotated clipping service

This is lightly adapted from an edition first published in the August 11, 2019, issue of the free Disquiet.com 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.

Head Gear: A device called AlterEgo can hear when you talk to yourself. “The technology involves a system of sensors that detect the minuscule neuromuscular signals sent by the brain to the vocal cords and muscles of the throat and tongue. These signals are sent out whenever we speak to ourselves silently, even if we make no sounds. The device feeds the signals through an A.I., which ‘reads’ them and turns them into words. The user hears the A.I.’s responses through a microphone that conducts sound through the bones of the skull and ear, making them silent to others. Users can also respond out loud using artificial voice technology.” (via subtopes)

Intelligent Drum Music: “Sony is the latest company to dip its toes into AI-powered music. The company revealed this week that its researchers have created a machine learning model that can create kick-drum tracking.” Fun fact: “In order to train the AI system, Sony’s researchers compiled data from 665 different songs from a wide range of genres including pop, rock and electronica.” If they’d only gone for one more, they coulda given Black Sabbath’s Bill Ward a run for the heavy-metal money. More at google.com.

Virtual Hassle: “In scripted media like a pre-rendered 2D video, you always know where sound should come from — the audio levels for each channel never change from one viewing to the next. Even a 3D game has a workable level of complexity thanks to the predetermined parameters of the environment. With VR, there are simply too many variables to create perfect, realistic sound from every perspective.” And how a new algorithm from Stanford researchers may fix that. (via the Institute for the Future)

Earworm Autopsy: “I like the sound of instruments when they’re not perfectly in tune. It’s more interesting, this feeling of humanness that comes through when things aren’t perfect, or when a sound has a subtle sourness to it.” That’s composer Nicholas Britell in a great Vulture interview about his theme for HBO’s TV series Succession.

Et Tu, Skype?: Reportedly: “Microsoft contractors are listening to conversations between users on Skype who use its translation feature, according to Motherboard. This is done only if users are performing a translation function in Skype and not during any other typical Skype voice or video call.” More at windowscentral.com.

Smarter Phone: How do you hide where you are? Funny you should ask: “sophisticated products have started to emerge that add noise near a device’s microphones to mask sound in vicinity of the device.” (via subtopes)

TV Talk: Kalev Leetaru, a Forbes contributor, visualizes the consistency of the number of words per minute spoken on TV news: “The timeline below shows the average number of words spoken per second on CNN by day from July 2, 2009 to June 30, 2019, looking only at its captioned airtime. Over the past decade this rate has remained remarkably steady, decreasing ever so slightly through early 2015 and slowly edging back up ever since.” (via Sean Zdenek)

Secret Hideout: “After selecting the way I’d like to feel in an app (I believe I chose ‘energize’), I lie down on a leather pad, don headphones, and close my eyes, listening to a soothing world beat with a strong Om undercurrent. Ross is a big believer in the healing power of color and sound. (Her team went so far as to develop an installation at Milan that demonstrated how just sitting in different rooms can affect your core physiology.) For 15 minutes I wonder what I’m doing, wasting time on this silly bed. Then I stand up, eyes suddenly alert with a skip in my step.” Mark Wilson of Fast Company describes a visit to Google’s “top-secret design lab.” (The Ross is Ivy Ross, “vice president and head of hardware design.”)

Going Quiet: “I knew I had a problem when I started wearing headphones around my apartment,” begins Joel Pavelski’s GQ story about taking a “month-long sound fast.” First he had to hit rock bottom, which happened when his shower speaker broke: “I stopped and listened while my breathing went slowly back to normal. The shaky, queasy feeling went away. And, after a moment or two, my own thoughts rushed into the void. For a few brief, blissful minutes I re-acquainted myself with my internal monologue. It felt like a phone conversation with a friend that I hadn’t talked to in years.” Of course, once you stop using headphones, you don’t stop listening. Some might say that’s when you actually start.

/ / A GOOGOL OF BLOGS
Reading the web

As always, if you have a blog related to sound or music, let me know. Both this week’s entries are from Australia, per chance.

Reel Life: Jason Richardson picks up the story (from last week’s This Week in Sound issue) of Sony’s purchase of the Milan Records movie-soundtrack label, with observations about fellow students in TV production, specifically their habit of “adding soundtrack-style music to their own lives for feeling of being part of a movie.”

Sound Flâneur: The sound artist Tristan Louth-Robins has renewed his blogging vows with a lengthy update on his creative pursuits, including his great Fleurieu Sound Map, shown above.

Tag: / Leave a comment ]

Did Someone Say Circuit Bent Smoke Alarms?

Better yet: "circuit bent smoke alarm ... ringtones"?

Dylan Sheridan recognizes that the ubiquitous line of defense against residential fires is, in fact, a low-grade computer chip that sounds like a (very) early arcade video game. In Sheridan’s capable and purposeful mishandling, the generic smoke detector is transformed into a device for stuttering, glitchy, gloriously broken noise. The shrill sound of the alarm, designed to be annoying so as to cut through all other noises and alert the human ear to the presence of danger, is here rendered raw material for playful, ebullient noodling. As John Zorn is to the duck call, Diamanda Galás to the human throat, and Adrian Belew to the guitar, so is Dylan Sheridan to the smoke alarm.

This all was accomplished through circuit bending, the trial and error process of getting the inner guts of devices to do things they weren’t intended to through experimental rewiring and other techniques. As for the results of Sheridan’s fiddling, they sound alternately like anxious geese (“call_6”), cartoon geese (“call_7”), Morse code (“call_13”), a balloon losing air post-singularity (“call_17”), the world’s most shrill grindcore singer (“msg_9”), and actual video games (“call_8,” “call_14,” and numerous others).

No doubt aware that these sounds might not be all that enjoyable at length, Sheridan has limited them to the dimensions of ringtones. The meatiest of the 26 tracks on the album Circuit Bent Smoke Alarms – Ringtone Collection is just 22 seconds long. The majority are under 10 seconds. And many are so brief that the Bandcamp website registers them at a length of 0.

The album is available for whatever price the user chooses at dylansheridan.bandcamp.com. The above image accompanied the release on Bandcamp. More from Sheridan at dylansheridan.com. (And many thanks to Danny Clay for recommending this album to me.)

Tags: , / Leave a comment ]

Disquiet Junto Project 0397: Numbers Racket

The Assignment: It's 808 Day. Do it up.

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 Monday, August 12, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted shortly in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 8, 2019.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0397: Numbers Racket
The Assignment: It’s 808 Day. Do it up.

Step 1: It’s 808 Day today, August 8, the start of the latest Junto project. Let’s make it last through Monday.

Step 2: Make music with or about or somehow in the spirit of the Roland TR-808.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0397” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0397” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0397-numbers-racket/

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.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, August 12, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted shortly in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 8, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0397” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and 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: Consider setting 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 397th weekly Disquiet Junto project — The Assignment: It’s 808 Day. Do it up — at:

https://disquiet.com/0397/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0397-numbers-racket/

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project adapted (cropped, colors changed, text added, cut’n’paste) thanks to a Creative Commons license from a photo credited to Brandon Daniel via Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Tags: , , , / Leave a comment ]