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


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Gamelan Hypnotism

A "Bell Study" by Dave Seidel

This “Bell Study” by Dave Seidel, aka Mysterybear, uses light echoes of looped gamelan samples to create a quiet, peaceful sonic space that has a rhythmic component even as it suggests itself for reflection and contemplation. In theory, or at least based on the barest of descriptions, the combination of melodic percussive tones and a fairly rapid sequencing should gather the listener’s attention rather than what happens here, which is that it provides a kind of gentle lull. It’s music that you can focus on, but also music that encourages you to not focus. The result is hypnotic. The tones themselves have a similarly self-contradictory beauty, in part richly tonal and at the same time lightly sour, especially when the loops allow for beading and overlays that expose subtle harmonic dissonances.

Track originally posted at More from Seidel, who is based in Peterborough, New Hampshire, at

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Disquiet Junto Project 0280: 20170514

Celebrate the 70th birthday of a Junto member.

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.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 15, 2017. This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 11, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0280: 20170514
Celebrate the 70th birthday of a Junto member.

This week we celebrate the May 14, 2017, birthday of Junto member ferrie = differentieel, of the Netherlands.

Step 1: Junto member ferrie = differentieel, of the Netherlands, turns 70 years of age on May 14, 2017. In correspondence leading up to this project, ferrie shared an observation that the composer Frederic Rzewski had previously shared with him in a letter: “Using pre-existing material for building new things is a very old practice.”

Step 2: In ferrie’s honor, please do something that takes the opposite approach of Rzewski’s letter. In other words, please use new musical things to recreate some old musical thing.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If you hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0280” (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 please consider posting your track:

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 wherever you are on Monday, May 15, 2017. This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 11, 2017.

Length: The length is entirely up to the participant.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0280” 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 280th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “20170514: Celebrate the 70th birthday of a Junto member” — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

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

Image associated with this project is of the Netherlands-based musician ferrie = differentieel, in whose honor we’re making music this week. More from ferrie at

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April’s Drones

Two albums of drones from April Larson

The title track of April Larson’s It Was Misplaced is an echo chamber of strings, layer upon layer of strings, half representing stasis, the other half momentum, and between them finding an uneasy truce. “Sorry, You Know About the Pain” seems built, as well, from strings, but they’re muffled, as if heard from the floor above, with the exception of one tiny screech, as if a single string on a single bow is getting through the obstruction — the result shows a level of pixel-perfect detail that drone music rarely achieves let alone aspires to. The whole album explores drones, from the choral-like “The Shape of Wings in One of Many Worlds” and “A Quiet Life in a War Zone” to the hush of “Black Arctic,” its out-of-focus drama like a Richter painting.

It Was Misplaced was released back in 2013, but I only just heard it this week after falling for her brand new album, Up Below on the Polar Seas label. These are more drones, denser and less specific in their constituent parts. Listen as a beading rumble infuses “Floating,” or a thrilling wind surfaces in “The Excavation.” Gorgeous stuff.

It Was Misplaced originally posted at, Up Below at polarseasrecordings.bandcamp. More from Larson at

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A Modular Bloom

A piece by Lightbath

This elegant, gestural piece for modular synthesizer cycles a bit of low-key, atmospheric glitch several times in a row before a joyous little rupture occurs. When that happens, just prior to three minutes into this nearly four-minute piece, the whole sense of time shifts. What had felt slow and relaxed takes on a more sublime bearing. Once you know what’s hidden beneath the surface, it’s impossible to not sense its presence on repeat listens. What had been calm and collected now feels anticipatory, like a stop-motion image of a flower that quite suddenly, in strong daylight, blooms.

There’s also a lovely, misty video for it on YouTube:

Track originally posted at More from Lightbath, aka Bryan Noll, at

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The Organ as Installation

Olivia Block at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

The opening roar of this excerpt of a recording suggests a crowd going wild, not so much at a concert as at a vuvuzela-filled soccer stadium. In this case, the stadium is a stately gothic structure, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago, and the ecstatic noise is coming from its E.M. Skinner pipe organ, in an original piece of music by Olivia Block. Advance notice of the performance, which was recorded live on April 21, 2017, described it as something that “straddles the line between musical composition and sound installation.” The installation aspect is in part related to how Block’s use of the organ explores the contours of the space, and also how speakers distributed throughout the building suggest that attendees wander amid the sound to hear it from different vantages. The work, as reproduced in this stereo document, moves from recognizable organ tones to fantasms of eager, treble-piercing waves. Live performances are difficult to reproduce, spatially informed ones all the more so. This recording, by Alex Inglesian, gives us a sense of the work’s breadth and impact.

Track originally posted at More from Block, who is from Texas and lives in Chicago, at and, and on the piece at

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