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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I Was on Darwin Grosse’s Podcast

Talking about art and music and technology (and print magazines, and music communities, and pop music) on the Art + Music + Technology podcast

Just this past Monday, I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by Darwin Grosse for his excellent, longrunning podcast, Art + Music + Technology, and the episode went live today.

For a sense of the scale of Grosse’s podcast, my entry in the interview series is number 271. I’ve enjoyed Grosse’s interviews for a long time. Past participants in the Art + Music + Technology podcast include frequent Nine Inch Nails collaborator Alessandro Cortini, creative technologist Cassie Tarakajian, Monome developer Brian Crabtree, synthesis researcher Curtis Roads, and keyboard legend Herbie Hancock.

Grosse and I talked a lot about the Disquiet Junto music community I’ve been moderating since 2012, about my book on Aphex Twin’s album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, and about my time as an editor at Tower Records’ magazines. One subject I especially enjoyed when listening back to the audio this morning was about the future of music communities online, since the flaws of social media have become widely known in recent years. Here is a quick transcription of that part of the interview:

Grosse: Just to finish up, then, where do you think communities can go. Because it seems like you really enjoy being part of communities and being part of growth environments, right? And introducing people to things and stuff like that.

It seems like in a way we’ve almost hit a point where we’re not sure how to grow beyond that. We’ve seen things that are massive, like Facebook, end up being … not feeling satisfying because it becomes either a place where you can be taken advantage of or a place that’s just plain too overwhelmed with people. Or we have places that are so small that they end up feeling insular.

What do you think is the kind of community growth that can happen that provides an interesting next step?

Weidenbaum: It’s an interesting question. One thing that comes to mind as I’m formulating a response is that when I look at music technology these days, one of the ways I gauge how entrenched it is or how promising it is, is by the quality of the conversation on the forum related to that hardware or software. It’s not always a direct relation because there are sometimes people who are very yappy about things that actually maybe don’t prove that effective, but by and large, I think there is some really interesting information to be culled when you’re considering buying a synthesizer module or considering buying a piece of software or some other piece of hardware, a stomp box or something. You can look at the conversation online, usually on the forum that’s from the website of the manufacturer of that software or hardware, and get a sense of the culture of that content.

I think the issue there, for me, is that, as somebody who writes for a living, I think that writing can be highly overvalued. And I feel that one of the reasons the Junto exists as a model for this is that I feel that musicians communicate to each other through music primarily. And I feel that there’s an opportunity in communities for people to communicate in non-verbal ways.

Instagram is a nice step in that direction, though a lot of the pleasure of Instagram is actually the captions for the image like, “Oh now I’ve seen this beautiful picture; where is it from or what’s the context?” But I feel like one of the things that I’m trying to do with the Junto and one thing I’d like to see more is that it isn’t just a bunch of people chatting about presets and how they use tools, but their actual participation in the community is somehow nonverbal, that through images and sound and code, they’re participating, which is why GitHub is a community but it’s often not considered alongside [others]. … People talk about these massive communities and GitHub rarely comes up in the list alongside Facebook and Reddit and all these other. It’s interesting because GitHub, to me is just as much a community as these others. You know, a pull request is a form of participation.

Grosse: And communication.

Weidenbaum: Yeah, exactly.

You can hear (stream or, for free, download) the full, 45-minute podcast here: artmusictech.libsyn.com. Many thanks to Darwin for the invitation and the great conversation.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0379: Open Studios

The Assignment: Share a track, get feedback, and give feedback.

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, April 8, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, April 4, 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 0379: Open Studios
The Assignment: Share a track, get feedback, and give feedback.

Step 1: The purpose of this week’s project is to provide participants opportunities to get feedback on works-in-progress. Consider work you’re doing you’d appreciate responses to from fellow Junto participants.

Step 2: Either upload an existing recording (sketches and mid-process takes may prove optimal), or record something new and post it online for feedback. If there are some things in particular you’d like feedback on, mention what they are.

Step 3: After uploading, be sure to listen to the work of other participants, and to post responses.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0379” (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 “disquiet0379” (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-0379-open-studios/

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, April 8, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, April 4, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0379” 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 379th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Open Studios / The Assignment: Share a track, get feedback, and give feedback — at:

https://disquiet.com/0379/

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-0379-open-studios/

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 Matthew Ebel:

https://flic.kr/p/SJYUSf

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

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Davachi in Pale Bloom

A taste of the forthcoming album

When the held chord, all wavering sine waves, gives way to something else, when that foregrounded drone — somehow both a mainstay of experimental electronic music, and also the easiest of easy listenings — becomes background, and when that something else that comes to the fore is a piano, then something is most certainly up.

The initial chord is, soon, layered with another, higher chord, and the combination yields slow moving gusts of moiré patterns. The pair sandwiches the sequence of gentle piano phrases. The eternal hold of those chords balances against, contrasts with, the natural quieting of each struck piano figure, which are spaced out to draw focused attention. This is “Perfumes III,” the initial track release from the forthcoming album Pale Bloom, due out at the end of May from Sarah Davachi.

Davachi has made a name for herself in recent years as a thoughtful and dedicated synthesizer musician, and Pale Bloom apparently is a reunion of sorts, connecting back to an instrument of her youth. On this track, Hammond organ is a source of the droning backdrop to her piano. (Update: Contrary to what I initially wrote here, the album’s 20-minute track, “If It Pleased Me to Appear to You Wrapped in This Drapery,” contains no synthesizers, Davachi let me know via Twitter: “that track is just strings and organ.”)

Track originally posted at sarahdavachi.bandcamp.com. More from Davachi at sarahdavachi.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0378: Blue(tooth) Haze

The Assignment: Experiment with the sonic qualities of a failing signal.

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, April 1, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, March 28, 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 0378: Blue(tooth) Haze
The Assignment: Experiment with the sonic qualities of a failing signal.

Step 1: Find some sort of Bluetooth-enabled audio connection that is available to you. It might be headphones or microphone or other devices. The important thing is that audio can be sent to one device from another device by Bluetooth.

Step 2: Experiment with a sound sent via Bluetooth using the connection decided upon in Step 1. Work to find situations in which Bluetooth begins to fail, where the sonic signature of that signal failure becomes apparent. This will likely be due to distance, but you may find other creative approaches to achieve the distortion.

Step 3: Use the situation(s) located in Step 2 as the basis for an original piece of music, stressing an audio signal and then recording the way that signal distorts due to the failure of Bluetooth.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0378” (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 “disquiet0378” (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-0378-blue-tooth-haze/

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, April 1, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, March 28, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you. Short is good.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0378” 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 378th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Disquiet Junto Project 0378: Blue(tooth) Haze / The Assignment: Experiment with the sonic qualities of a failing signal — at:

https://disquiet.com/0378/

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-0378-blue-tooth-haze/

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 Russell Davies:

https://flic.kr/p/2aKR98

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

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Disquiet Junto Project 0377: Algorithms Assemble

The Assignment: Have fun with rules applied to scales, in coordination with the Algorithmic Art Assembly.

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, March 25, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, March 21, 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 0377: Algorithms Assemble
The Assignment: Have fun with rules applied to scales, in coordination with the Algorithmic Art Assembly.

This week’s project is being done with the Algorithmic Art Assembly, “a brand new two day conference and music festival, showcasing a diverse range of artists who are using algorithmic tools and processes in their works.” It’s being held in San Francisco on March 22 and 23, 2019. More information at aaassembly.org. The project is lightly adapted from one proposed by Junto member Charlie Kramer (aka NorthWoods).

Step 1: Define a scale of 8 notes (or sounds).

Step 2: Create a melody with 4 notes from the scale resulting from Step 1.

Step 3: Replace note 2 in the melodic sequence from Step 2 with an unused note (selected deterministically or randomly). Then do this for note 4, then for note 3, and then for note 1.

Step 4: Reintroduce the first melody as counterpoint to the result of Step 3. This establishes a pair of notes at each point in time.

Step 5: Repeat the algorithm on these pairs. Repeat to create triplets.

Step 6: Sequence variations to create a piece of music.

Extra credit: Do the same with note durations and velocities (e.g., 8 possibilities, 4 choices).

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0377” (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 “disquiet0377” (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-0377-algorithms-assemble/

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, March 25, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, March 21, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0377” 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 377th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Algorithms Assemble / The Assignment: Have fun with rules applied to scales, in coordination with the Algorithmic Art Assembly — at:

https://disquiet.com/0377/

The project is lightly adapted from one proposed by Junto member Charlie Kramer (aka NorthWoods).

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-0377-algorithms-assemble/

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

Image associated with this project is from the graphics for the Algorithmic Art Assembly, “a brand new two day conference and music festival, showcasing a diverse range of artists who are using algorithmic tools and processes in their works.” It’s being held in San Francisco on March 22 and 23, 2019. More information at aaassembly.org.

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