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

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Disquiet Junto Project 0299: 10bpm Waltz

Make super slow music in 3/4 time.

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.

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, September 25, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, Denver time, on Thursday, September 21, 2017.

Tracks will be added to the above 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 0299: 10bpm Waltz
Make super slow music in 3/4 time.

Step 1: This project is intended as a way to contribute to the 10 BPM Dance Club announced at tenbpm.tumblr.com and twitter.com/onetakerecords. Tracks submitted to One Take Records will be included at an inaugural event in Copenhagen at the end of this month, September 2017.

Step 2: Consider what 10 beats per minute means, what the pace of 10 beats per minute feels like. Think about the instance of the down beat. Think about how 10 bpm differs from, say, 20 bpm, or from 40 bpm.

Step 3: Think about how 3/4 time differs from 4/4 time, and for that matter from 6/8 time. Think about what 3/4 time means when slowed down extremely, all the way down to 10 bpm.

Step 4: Having reflected on the concepts described in Steps 2 and 3, proceed to compose and record a piece of music that is 10 bpm and in 3/4 time.

Step 5: Share your track with the Copenhagen event by sending it to [email protected], per the instructions at tenbpm.tumblr.com.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0299” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0299-10bpm-waltz/

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, September 25, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, Denver time, on Thursday, September 21, 2017.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0299” 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: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 299th weekly Disquiet Junto project — 10bpm Waltz: Make super slow music in 3/4 time — at:

https://disquiet.com/0299/

Thanks to all the folks in the Junto Slack for proposing and helping to shape this prompt.

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-0299-10bpm-waltz/

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

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Andrew Weathers’ Psychedelic Amalgams

And one particularly quiet track off the often ecstatic new Andrew Weathers Ensemble album, Build a Mountain Where Our Bodies Fall

With a guitar-driven album that at times echoes such minimalist composers as Terry Riley (in its tonal psychedelia) and Steve Reich (in its percussive patterning), the Texas-based musician Andrew Weathers continues to build a body of work that mixes rigor and wandering, exactitude and ease, ambition and intimacy, grandeur and isolation.

The album is Build a Mountain Where Our Bodies Fall, credited to the Andrew Weathers Ensemble and released on his Bandcamp page. Weathers has a composer’s desire for concerted expression and a seer’s hunger for wisdom. His homespun vocals reach full force amid evocative, densely orchestrated settings. Sometimes the music is rhythmically momentous, like “We Already Exist Forever (We Will Eat),” while at others it drones as an extrapolation of Indian raga, for example “The Light Pulse Earth Grid is a Channel.” The result is an amalgam, in the sense of a rich composite, the parts inseparably intertwined but still recognizable. It’s music that, and this is meant as a compliment, suggests signifiant effort, the effort of making something vital, something not just new but trenchant and meaningful.

The songs on Build a Mountain Where Our Bodies Fall, per Weathers’ description, took as their origin point material from The Industrial Workers of the World Little Red Songbook. That period mix of progressive fervor and community action finds an outlet here in the sheer ecstasy of a track like “Astral Swords (Seven – A Past That Folds Over),” in which his voice is just one rough-textured element among many.

And then for one brief ambient track, texture is given its momentary, quiet primacy. The piece is “The Dream Body Does Carve (Green Grave).” In it a dense sine wave of a guitar line undulates between threadbare piano playing and tiny little glitches of synthesizer whimsy. It brings to mind the gestural rural atmospherics of the great Scott Tuma. The association makes particular sense, in that at times Weathers’ voice suggest favorably the vocals of Scott Tuma’s former Souled American bandmates, Joe Adducci and Chris Grigoroff. If the idea of Souled American regrouping in order to record an album of Steve Reich covers sounds appealing, then Build a Mountain Where Our Bodies Fall is the album for you.

As for the Andrew Weathers Ensemble, it isn’t precisely a band, except perhaps in the Steely Dan sense of the word: nearly 20 musicians are listed in the credits, including Kyle Bruckmann on oboe, Brendan Landis on electric guitar, and Erik Schoster on Pippi computer (that’s Schoster’s music-making software coded in the language Python), just to name a few.

You know that joke in The Blues Brothers movie where Elwood asks the bartender, “What kind of music do you usually have hear?” and she replies, “Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western”? Well, Weathers only has western — it’s a useful descriptor for how he draws from aspects of rock and folk, bypassing country almost entirely, as he heads out toward vast hypothetical expanses.

Get the full album at andrewweathers.bandcamp.com. More on Weathers, who is from North Carolina and lived and was educated (at Mills College) in Oakland, California, before recently relocating to Littlefield, Texas, at andrewweathers.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0298: Dungeons & Drum Machines

Make a track with two rolls of a 20-sided die.

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.

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, September 18, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, September 14, 2017.

Tracks will be added to the above 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 0298: Dungeons & Drum Machines
Make a track with two rolls of a 20-sided die.

Major thanks to Jason Wehmhoener for initiating this project, and for plotting it with me.

Step 1: Download the chart at this URL: https://goo.gl/Gew88N

Step 2: Note that there are two columns: one for melodic segments, another for rhythmic segments.

Step 3: Roll a 20-sided die once to be assigned a series of pitches. Roll the die again once to be assigned a series of beats.

Step 4: You will play each pitch for the duration represented by the corresponding beat. When you run out of beats or pitches, you wrap around to the beginning. In this way, while both pitches and beats are looping, the phrase itself takes longer to repeat.

Step 5: Use the result of Step 4 as the foundation for a track. This might mean one of several things. (A) This might mean employing it as an underlying foundation and improvising on top of it. (B) This might mean using it for part of a track, and alternating it with other material. (C) This might mean combining a programmed and live rendition atop each other. (D) This might mean inserting slight variations to introduce phasing and patterning. (E) This might even simply mean letting it play for awhile unto itself. (E) Or you might have some other take on it.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0298” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0298-dungeons-drum-machines/

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, September 18, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, September 14, 2017.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0298” 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: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 298th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Dungeons & Drum Machines: Make a track with two rolls of a 20-sided die — at:

https://disquiet.com/0298/

Major thanks to Jason Wehmhoener for initiating this project, and for co-plotting it.

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-0298-dungeons-drum-machines/

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

Image used thanks to a Creative Commons license by Flickr user Konstantin Lazorkin:

flic.kr/p/4TvmQb

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

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Disquiet Junto Project 0297: Domestic Chorus

Make music from all the alarms, buzzers, and other alerts in your home.

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.

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, September 11, 2017. This project was posted around noon, California time, on Thursday, September 7, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0297: Domestic Chorus
Make music from all the alarms, buzzer, and other alerts in your home.

Step 1: You’ll be making a sonic portrait of where you live, using only the sounds that are made by the domestic appliances in your home: your doorbell, your alarms, the alert on your dish washer or clothes dryer, should you have them, and so forth. Chart the sonic landscape of your home.

Step 2: Record samples of all the sounds that you listed in Step 1. Don’t be surprised if in the process of recording these sounds you think of additional sound sources in your home. Just add them to the list, and record them as well.

Step 3: Imagine a mood for your home: relaxed on a weekend morning, elated during a party, frenzied when its inhabitants’ calendars collide, mischievous when none of those inhabitants are present, etc.

Step 4: Record a short piece of music that (A) matches the mood in Step 3, (B) utilizes all the samples your recorded in Step 2, and (2) changes those sampes as little as possible in the process.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0297” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0297-domestic-chorus/

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, September 11, 2017. This project was posted around noon, California time, on Thursday, September 7, 2017.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0297” 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: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 297th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Domestic Chorus: Make music from all the alarms, buzzers, and other alerts in your home — at:

https://disquiet.com/0297/

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-0297-domestic-chorus/

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

Image used thanks to a Creative Commons license by Flickr user Ethan:

flic.kr/p/a81KGD

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A Future in Commons: A Tribute to Bassel Khartabil

A Junto compilation in honor of the slain open-source coder

This is a wonderful thing. Longtime Disquiet Junto participant Rupert Lally gathered tracks from 30-plus musicians to create a tribute album, A Future in Commons: A Tribute to Bassel Khartabil, for the late open-source coder. I think the strength of a community can be gauged to some extent by what occurs when the community’s lead moderator is not involved, and this is an example of such a thing. Aside from putting Rupert in touch, at his request, with the people I know who have been keeping Bassel’s flame lit (Niki Korth, Jon Phillips, Barry Threw), I only wrote this liner note essay. It was Rupert who proposed this compilation album, and it was Rupert who made it happen. I’m very proud of the many Disquiet Junto projects we have done over the years to spread Bassel’s story by finding music in his life and work. I’m hopeful this compilation on Bandcamp will spread that story even further, and help raise funds for the Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund (more at creativecommons.org).

He was held in a small cell, from which he could view a small patch of sky for a small part of the day. That was after nine months he spent in a cell with no light at all. Before he was imprisoned (detained, held — the words have varying shades of truth and meaning, emphasis and appropriateness, detail and futility), he made three-dimensional CGI renderings of an ancient city. In his old life he created these virtual spaces to help us remember what the world once looked like. Perhaps those powers of imagination helped him envision a world beyond his cell once a cell became his world.

His name was Bassel Khartabil. He was a coder and open-source advocate born in Syria, the same country that would later imprison him and execute him. During his incarceration, and during the extended period when his death was presumed but not yet confirmed, his story became a rallying point around the world. His plight inspired essays, and conference sessions, and political statements. And it inspired music. All the tracks in this collection are sourced from different projects undertaken by members of the Disquiet Junto music community to keep Bassel’s story alive.

The Disquiet Junto is an open community of musicians who respond weekly to shared compositional prompts. Facets of Bassel’s life provided several such prompts over the years. We created soundscapes to bring a new dimension to his CGI renderings. We sampled his voice and turned it into music. We created VR scores, and we tried to extrapolate sound from the poetic language of his correspondence. In the end, what we tried to do was spread word of his plight, to keep his story alive even after he was no longer.

The “commons” is an essential metaphor that inspires open source activity. It is in the Creative Commons that people can build on each other’s work, to freely create things that neither party would have imagined possible separately. We often speak of the commons through related words, such as “community” and “communal.” We speak of the open-source community, and of communal effort. Through the Disquiet Junto projects, we’ve tried to connect with Bassel in yet another way — to commune with his spirit.

More on Bassel Khartabil at freebassel.org.

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