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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Disquiet Junto Project 0373: Copernican Music

The Assignment: Record a piece of music intended for an alien species.

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 25, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the late morning, California time, on Thursday, February 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 0373: Copernican Music
The Assignment: Record a piece of music intended for an alien species.

This week’s project was made as a proposition by the artist Jonathon Keats:

Step 1: Compose a work of music for sentient beings elsewhere in the universe. Aside from sentience, assume nothing about your audience culturally or cognitively. Make a connection by modulating frequency and amplitude over time.

Step 2: Share your work with the cosmos.

Here’s some additional background from Keats on his general premise: “Science is Copernican, but society remains Ptolemaic. Our behavior is self-centered. Our culture is bigoted, our politics tribal. Society needs a Copernican revolution. If we are to survive, we need to recognize that we are not special. If we are to have a peaceful relationship with one another and our planet, we must become humble. A Copernican revolution is achievable, but will not be accomplished through scientific education alone. Only culture has the potential to put us in touch with our cosmic insignificance, and to bring about a cultural paradigm shift. The Copernican revolution in culture will be realized with Copernican music.”

And here’s some additional background from Keats on his Copernican music: “Copernican music affords the opportunity to encounter something that we cannot directly experience, but that could potentially be experienced by beings other than us. It provides a means of getting outside of ourselves. We recognize that we are not special, that our position is not privileged. We perceive ourselves as average. Simultaneously we find ourselves to be part of a continuum, and therefore part of something greater than ourselves. This adjustment to our ego can change our behavior by making us less self-centered, more aware of others, and more aware of our larger selves.”

The image associated with this project is from one of Keats’ own instruments related to his Copernican artwork, a gravitational radio. Photo credit: Dora Tsui.

More information on Keats at this space.com interview:

https://space.com/41258-communicating-with-aliens-music-art-project.html

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0373” (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 “disquiet0373” (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-0373-copernican-music/

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

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

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0373” 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: Please for this project be sure 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 373rd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Copernican Music / The Assignment: Record a piece of music intended for an alien species — at:

https://disquiet.com/0373/

This week’s project was made as a proposition by the artist Jonathon Keats.

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-0373-copernican-music/

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

The image associated with this project is from one of Keats’ own instruments related to his Copernican artwork, a gravitational radio. Photo credit: Dora Tsui.

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Grouper Subdivides

Thirteen segments across a new work credited to Nivhek

The music is credited to one Nivhek, which reverts on the Bandcamp website to the account of Grouper, which is the name employed by Liz Harris when pursuing all manner of murmured and strummed folkloric musics. The Nivhek album, After its own death / Walking in a spiral towards the house, released earlier this month, is two extended suites. On the vinyl version, which has sold out, these suites are divided in half, one on each side of two LPs. On Bandcamp, the suites’ elements are divvied up to the third decimal point of their time codes, the first piece into nine subsets, the second into four:

After its own death

0 – 7:48:544 Cloudmouth
7:48:544 – 8:19:489 blue room
8:17:503 – 11:27:011 Night-walking
11:27:011 -16:41:254 Funeral song
16:41:254 – 26:00:991 Thirteen (version)
26:00:991 – 28:39:125 Crying jar
28:39:125 – 29:29:394 Entry
29:29:394 – 37:33:056 Walking in a spiral towards the house
37:30:846 – end Weightless

Walking in a spiral towards the house

0 – 3:14:509 Night-walking
3:14:509 – 8:37:153 Funeral song
8:37:153 – 12:59:510 Thirteen
12:59:510 – end Walking in a spiral towards the house

It’s helpful to listen to the second work first, as it’s more approachable. “Walking in a spiral towards the house” is tonal, even melodic, built from bell- or gong-like sounds, each tuned to a musical purpose but retaining a functional, call-to-assembly quality. They are heard individually and in rudimentary chords, sometimes triggered in near unison, but more often gathering parallel ripples of tone as they slowly fade. Often those fades are left to occur until their natural end: digital silence. At other times, the fades are curtailed, truncated, the bells re-rung before they are rung out. Toward the end of the penultimate subset, labeled “Thirteen,” which is the minute that occurs shortly after the segment ends (and also the total number of subsections between the two suites, and also the name of one of the subsets of the first piece, “After its own death”), those bells pile up in a way that bears little resemblance to what has preceded the incident. It’s an ecstatic moment in an otherwise genteel setting. It challenges the order of things, but doesn’t break the order’s spell.

“After its own death” is likewise built — at first — from a singular source, in this case choral vocals, all apparently Harris’ own, layered to dark-ecclesiastical effect. But the voice is not all that is there. Like the score to a film by Nicolas Winding Refn or Ridley Scott — or perhaps the two teamed up — the music gathers a deep, raspy bass line that is full of narrative portent. It’s the sound of a vengeful figure stalking the plains. As the first half of “After its own death” begins to close, it introduces some of the bells explored with more focus on “Walking in a spiral towards the house.” The second half opens with the familiar sound of Grouper’s trademark super slow guitar work, simple lines let to sketch something at once personal and symphonic — the intonation is singular, but the reverberations suggest a vast endeavor. And she’s just getting started. There is far more ahead: bells, coughing, what might be footsteps, and that thunderous bass, distorted as only a broken amplifier and intense feedback could accomplish. There is whispering and sudden silence. It’s a challenging piece, a collection of fragments, in brutal contrast to the linear “Walking in a spiral towards the house.”

These are two opposed parts, “Walking in a spiral towards the house” and “After its own death”: one offering welcome solace to those broken after a complex challenge, one offering a welcome challenge to those pulling themselves from solace’s anesthetized embrace.

Album available at grouper.bandcamp.com.

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The “Electricity” of Colorlist

The trio of Charles Gorczynski, Charles Rumback, and John Hughes

A new Colorlist album, Full Circle, was released late last year, and I somehow only just figured this out. I was trying today to recall the name of its phenomenal saxophonist, Charles Gorczynski, whose work I first came to appreciate when he was playing with the group Spinach Prince almost a decade back. (I’m horrible with names, but I’m very good with faces, and I’m even better with short video clips of people inventively playing saxophone and a large Monome grid in a live setting.)

As luck would have it (or not, in this case), I learned in the process that I’d missed a different Gorczynski group perform by just a few days — but until the next show, there is Full Circle to enjoy. Colorlist is the trio of Gorczynski working with Charles Rumback on drums and John Hughes (of Hefty Records) on “synthesizers / electronics.” This is their fourth album together. The threesome’s work draws from jazz and free improvisation, which they wield in the context of atmospheric electronic music. One highlight of the album is the sprawling-seeming yet fairly compact (under six minutes) “Electricity,” all tunnel ambience, swirling drones, emergent rhythms, and deep simpatico ensemble playing.

The album is available at serein.co.uk.

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46 Seconds in Heaven

Amid a recent Zimoun work

A new glimpse of an installation piece by the artist Zimoun is always a cause for attention. His work often achieves a mix — a contrast, more to the point — of sizable dimensions and aesthetic intimacy. This balance is thanks to his frequent combination of inexpensive materials and the lulling repetition of speedy mechanical activities. The effect, as witnessed here, is a robot lullaby at an industrial scale.

This work, a video document of which appeared in the past week, consists of “99 prepared dc-motors, felt balls, 297 m steel wire, 2018” (such is, in effect, the title of the work — a plainness that matches the materials). The result is a mix of fierce geometry and sympathetic droning, of rapid motion amid an otherwise static field.

The vertical lines are like grid-minded painter Agnes Martin paying tribute to Richard Lippold’s wire sculptures. The base is like the structure of one of Bruce Nauman’s fluorescent bulbs — which emit their own drone byproduct — repurposed as a support mechanism. The video lasts just 46 seconds, seen from various angles. It’s intriguing to consider whether the audio perfectly matches the image, or if it even matters, given the mechanical nature of the proceedings and the extremely narrow — imperceptible, likely — range of variation therein. And then you hit repeat.

Video originally posted at Zimoun’s Vimeo account. More from Zimoun at www.zimoun.net.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0372: Honeymoon Phase

The Assignment: Record a piece of music with (only) your most recently obtained instrument or music/sound tool.

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 the playlist for the duration of the project.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, February 18, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted shortly after noon, California time, on Thursday, February 14, 2019.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0372: Honeymoon Phase
The Assignment: Record a piece of music with (only) your most recently obtained instrument or music/sound tool.

Step 1: Locate the latest instrument, piece of music/sound software, or related technology that has come into your possession. (If there’s something inexpensive, like an app, you’ve been meaning to try out, this project might provide an impetus to do so.)

Step 2: Employ only the single thing identified in Step 1 to compose and record a short track.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0372” (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 “disquiet0372” (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-0372-honeymoon-phase/

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 18, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted shortly after noon, California time, on Thursday, February 14, 2019.

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

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0372” 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: Please for this project be sure 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 372nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Honeymoon Phase / The Assignment: Record a piece of music with (only) your most recently obtained instrument or music/sound tool — at:

https://disquiet.com/0372/

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-0372-honeymoon-phase/

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

Image associated with this project adapted thanks to a Creative Commons license from a photo by Thorsten Sideb0ard:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sideb0ard/10364491865/

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

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