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.


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The Hyperreality of Loraine James

Hang tight and listen to her For You and I from last September

Some things happened in remote correlation with each other this past week or so. One friend noted I don’t write about rhythmic music as much as I used to, back when Photek, and Oval, and Squarepusher were common topics for me. Another, a musician, commented about the delay in releasing tracks required by getting press materials to reviewers who won’t pay attention to albums following a short window after their official release. And, right on schedule — or perhaps off, more to the point — another introduced me to the recordings of Loraine James, the British musician who has received deserved praise for delivering newfound vitality to glitch and IDM.

So even though James’ excellent album For You and I came out last September, it’s by no means too late to board the hyperreal, staccato, stop’n’start blissride her music offers up. Begin with the typewriter techno of “So Scared,” against whose antique percussive samples is pressed an off-kilter, slow-motion wash of muffled noise. Then proceed to the rapid scrubbing of the title track, which flies by like a transit PSA for space elevators. Then take in the syrupy synth chords and rat-a-tat-tat beats of “Scraping My Feet.”

And then start at the beginning and listen straight through. James does things with time that are earmeltingly superb, putting sharply defined beats through the filter ringer, and then pushing what survives up against a sedate vibe that further challenges their fortitude.

Album available at More from James, who is based in London, England, at

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Layers by the River

Video and audio by Jason Richardson

Every week in the Disquiet Junto, there’s a playlist of the contributing musicians’ tracks. That playlist consists of all the tracks submitted on SoundCloud, and thus it doesn’t relate all the tracks completed, because some folks post tracks elsewhere, including Bandcamp and, in the case of the prolific Jason Richardson, YouTube. Each week, not only does Richardson dependably respond to the current prompt, he does so in the form of a video. This week, he did two videos, one of which was his interpretation of the current project — using nature as your metronome — and the other of which took things a very creative and, for his audience, rewarding step further.

He reached back to a much earlier project. In the April 2016 Junto, the compositional prompt, proposed by Brian Crabtree, developer of the Monome suite of hardware and software music tools, recommended a unique artistic technique: you record the same piece of music several times, and then layer them. The deviations between the versions yields a subtle, cloudy flow. So, in Richardson’s video, not only do we hear him playing the part simultaneously in several takes, we also see the various Richardsons overlapping, as well. And since this includes outtakes culled in favor of the prefered single take, we experience, at the end, when Richardson has to move his gear out of the way to let a guy on his motorcycle get across the bridge.

Up above is the layered version. Here, below, is the single take. What Richardson is up to is, inspired by the current Junto project’s instructions, letting the “feeling of the breeze” on his face inform the pace at which he plays:

Videos originally posted to Jason Richardson’s YouTube channel. More from him at

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Disquiet Junto Project 0424: Fluctuating Rhythm

The Assignment: Employ nature as your conductor.

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, February 17, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 13, 2020.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0424: Fluctuating Rhythm
The Assignment: Employ nature as your conductor.

Step 1: Compose or choose a work of music. (The work can involve any number of instruments or can be purely electronic.)

Step 2: Perform the work outdoors, employing nature as your conductor. (Any natural phenomenon may be enlisted to keep time during your performance. Examples include the sway of a tree in the wind, the flow of a stream, or the circling of a flock of birds before a storm. Consider a phenomenon that fluctuates with environmental conditions, such that your rhythm varies in ways that situate your work in the landscape.)

Background: This is a collaboration with the artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats, who is working on a global initiative to enlist natural systems as official time standards. Read more here:

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0424” (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 “disquiet0424” (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

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, February 17, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 13, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better. Let nature take its course.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0424” 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 424th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Fluctuating Rhythm / The Assignment: Employ nature as your conductor — at:

This is a collaboration with the artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats.

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

There’s also a Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to for Slack inclusion.

The image associated with this project is by Chris Murphy.

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Hallmarks of Space Music

A track by Léo Pensette, who goes by

Like some sort of interstellar cowboy music, the track “;) collection of inadaptable flint” (the title also includes an emoji or emoji-like image of what appears* to be a cat with a red headband riding a dinosaur), merges flanged-out vapor trails that fill your speaker spectrum and closely mic’d instrumentation that plucks out a slow, reflective melody. The recording is at once sprawling and intimate, broad as the sky, and yet also close as your shoulders gathered tight in front of a campfire. Throughout there are rattly, earthy sounds, and (again, a stark and somehow welcoming contrast) the sort of whispy weirdnesses that are hallmarks of space music intended for headphones only. The recording is by Léo Pensette, who goes by

Track originally posted at

*And, yes, I did look it up and learned all about ninja cats and dino cats. Because, as the saying goes, internet.

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This Abiding Flow

A study in contrasts from Suss Müsik

“Dovum” by Suss Müsik is a study in contrasts: static against hum, broken melody against stately backdrop, gentle swells against fractured pulse, and overall a digital purity of sound that is employed to present materials whose cumulative chaos strives to approach that of the natural, analog, flesh-and-blood world. This balance of varied powers occurs over the course of 10-plus minutes, throughout which a sense of development, drama, and change are self-evident, but with none of the section markers that classical or pop music would employ. There is no brief chapter-break silence, no shift in key. There is, instead, simply this abiding flow. Only at the end does “Dovum” alter its pace, settling in for an extended denouement that presents its own, final contrast: it is at once quiet, peaceful to situate oneself amid — and yet in its attenuated quieting it makes the ear strain for every last, fading, fraying nuance.

Track originally posted to More from Suss Müsik at and

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