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. • Disquiet.com F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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Grazing the Ointment

Glitchy choir work from Mark Hadley


Contrasts make for rich compositional territory. Here, in Mark Hadley’s “FELT9b,” the opposed elements are vocal choir on the one hand and a beading, percussive, occasionally glitchy effect on the other. The glitch originates in part from the treatment of the vocals, which sometimes backtrack briefly, quicker than briefly, a microsecond that is like a stray thought, like a fly not so much in as grazing the ointment. The refracted vocalizing finds its match in the percussion, which is put through a delay that replicates it, as if in a hall of sonic mirrors. In a less sensitive approach, this would quadruple the seeming speed of the piece, but quite the contrary occurs. The delay seems to slow it, to divide time into more segments, to draw attention to time, to the vocals, and to a connection with the artifice of the fractured singing.

Track originally posted atsoundcloud.com/soundbymark. More from Hadley, who is based in Sheffield, UK, at soundbymark.bandcamp.com.

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Hoth on Earth

Under the ice in a Michigan winter

Rob Byers placed a microphone beneath the ice, and found laser beams. Not actual ones, but what could easily be mistaken for such a thing. The battle beneath the ice, as recorded in northern Michigan earlier this year, sounds like an epic fight on Hoth. “A drop in temperature causes a frozen lake to sing through the winter night,” writes Byers of the audio. “The piece starts underneath the ice, recording laser-like sounds with a hydrophone. At 2:15 it transitions above the ice to hear the groans and moans of the shifting ice. Listen for a neighbour’s response.” The streaming file isn’t embeddable, so head over to fieldrecordings.xyz for a listen.

More from Byers at robbyers.com and twitter.com/RobByers1.

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Guitar x Cello x Pandemic

The Equation of Time by Anthéne and Simon McCorry


The Equation of Time presents the guitar of Anthéne (Brad Deschamps) and the cello of Simon McCorry combined through processing and done so across a great distance. (Of course, for what collaboration wasn’t this the case during the pandemic?) The album’s six tracks let moments of brief ferocity and sharp detail peek out amid vast cumulus gatherings of shoegaze-rich cloud cover. Amid that ambient intensity, riffs can still be located, despite being buffeted by sonic winds. A gray mass reveals, for example, tiny little repetitive, keyboard-like cues toward the end of “Time Past,” the opening cut. On “Time Future,” the penultimate track, the audio processing is dialed back, especially where the cello in concerned, the plucking and sawing heard clearly amid cavernous echoes and artfully tortured extrapolations. “Drift of Stars” has a muted, compressed quality, the sound as if experienced from the other side of thick glass at first, before yielding something in higher resolution, waves of sounds overlapping, converging. The whole set — each track’s title apparently borrowed from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets — is beautiful from start to finish.

Album originally posted May 22, 2021, at whitelabrecs.bandcamp.com. More from Deschamps at twitter.com/braddeschamps and McCorry at simonmccorry.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0493: AudioCorrect

The Assignment: Think about the utility and the useful failures inherent in autocorrect and apply this to your music.

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, June 14, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, June 10, 2021.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0493: AudioCorrect
The Assignment: Think about the utility and the useful failures inherent in autocorrect and apply this to your music.

Thanks to Alan Bland for proposing this project.

Step 1: Think about how autocorrect works on your phone, how it sometimes does indeed take your haphazard typing and recognize what you had intended, and yet how also (probably more often) it subtly or even drastically alters the meaning of your intended message.

Step 2: There are numerous existing musical equivalents and approximations to autocorrect that exist as algorithms, such as pitch and tempo quantizers, and autotune. Consider the ones you have used or want to explore.

Step 3: Create a piece of music by either (A) using/abusing one of the musical autocorrect concepts from Step 2 or (B) imagining your own autocorrect algorithm and creating what the result might sound like.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0493” (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 “disquiet0493” (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 tracks in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0493-audiocorrect/

Step 5: Annotate your tracks 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 the end of the day Monday, June 14, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, June 10, 2021.

Length: The length of your finished track is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0493” 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 493rd weekly Disquiet Junto project — AudioCorrect (The Assignment: Think about the utility and the useful failures inherent in autocorrect and apply this to your music) — at: https://disquiet.com/0493/

Thanks to Alan Bland for proposing this project.

More on the Disquiet Junto at: https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here: https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0493-audiocorrect/

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

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A Truly Ethereal Chorus

Robin (Scanner) Rimbaud on the radio as an instrument


Even as conventional broadcast radio is on the decline with the rise of streaming services, it is experiencing unprecedented utility as a tool for making music. That observation is central to the article I wrote for The Wire about musical instruments featuring radio reception as part of their design. The article covers a wide range, including dedicated synthesizer modules, like the ADDAC102 (from the Lisbon, Portugal, company ADDAC) and the 272e (from the storied San Francisco Bay Area firm Bucha), and other devices, such as the Polyend Tracker (out of Poland) and the KOMA Field Kit (from Berlin), that include radio amid a broader range of tools, with varying degrees of integration.

In the latter camp is the OP-1, from Stockholm-based Teenage Engineering, one of whose founders, Jens Rudberg, I interviewed for the article, along with representatives of all four other firms listed above. While the collective experience of these designers was important to the research, so too was the work of musicians who employ the tools. I spoke with numerous in the process of working on the story, and quoted three in the piece, including Thomas Dimuzio, King Britt, and Robin Rimbaud, who is best known as Scanner, for his early work with another sort of radio: police-band conversations snatched from the ether.

In the context of a wide-ranging back and forth via email on the topic of radio and synthesizers, Rimbaud shared the above video as an example of his work. He said the live set began with him “randomly skipping through the frequencies until I found something in real time that felt like it might work.” What he stumbled upon was the haunting group vocalizing heard at the start of the piece. “It was a choral work on a classical radio station,” explained Rimbaud. “I then looped it and began playing across it live too.”

He continued: “As with my earlier use of the radio scanner in my works I especially enjoy the unexpected and letting these sources take me in a direction I might never expect, using radio frequencies in the ether, these indiscriminate signals that I just pull down in real time and improvise around. It could simply be a voice or a harmony, but every opportunity can never be predicted and keeps an element at risk on the surface level which has always been important to me.”

There’s a lot more material in my conversation with Scanner, and with everyone else listed above, than made it into the article. I want to find time soon to get more of it posted here on Disquiet.com, to supplement the article in The Wire.

The video was recorded on March 23, 2019, at Iklectik London and originally posted at Scanner’s YouTube channel. More at scannerdot.com.

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