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.


Daily recommended free MP3s + streams

Old Tape + New Tech

In the work of Takeyuki Hakozaki

The combination of archaic reel-to-reel tape and contemporary synthesizers is a not uncommon one, especially on synth YouTube, where “composition” sometimes means visual components as much as it does sonic ones. The bond between such elements as these two isn’t entirely a matter of chance, or even of individual predilections. The design of contemporary synthesizers such as the modules depicted here often embraces the tactile and the eccentric, both qualities shared by the old tape technology. Furthermore, the give and take of tape, especially when looped and loosely slung as in this short piece by Takeyuki Hakozaki, provides a contrast to the voltage-controlled systematization offered by synthesizers. In Hakozaki’s piece, a melody is pinched and pulled from a cycle of squelchy tones, while an bed of bubbly percussion keeps things roiling.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended fine live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at Takeyuki Hakozaki’s YouTube channel. More from Hakozaki at

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Current Listens: Fullman + Tenet + Funki Porcini

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

This is my weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)

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NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

Best known for her Long String Instrument, Ellen Fullman is heard in late-1980s musique-concrète mode on Music for the Man Who Grew Common in Wisdom, due out October 16 from the Besom Presse label, based in Los Angeles. One track is already available for streaming. Listen as a stereo recording of lapping water lapses into a rhythmic pulse.

The director of the new thriller Tenet, Christopher Nolan, may prefer we see it in theaters, but at least its score is online, courtesy of the record label WaterTower Music, for those of us maintaining significant social distance. Music by composer Ludwig Göransson.

Funki Porcini is a favorite from way back at the dawn of electronica, and his latest does not disappoint. Motorway opens with cinematic beats before proceeding through a mix of lush ambience imbued with a sense of intimacy, surveillance, and drama.

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Quantum Violin

From the pairing of Mia Zabelka and Glen Hall

If the sounds of Quantum Violin enacted by Mia Zabelka and Glen Hall are remarkable — dense miasma from which undulate denser waves and through which eventually pulses a vibrant heart — so too are the means by which they were accomplished:

Quantum Violin has a sub-structure formed by sounds generated by a Quantum Oscillator that are audible throughout the piece. It was programmed with 8 different sets of parameters, giving the ‘drone’ a slowly varying texture. This sub-structure was created to signify physical reality’s undergirding in the quantum realm, a constant vibrational ‘hum’. Two tracks of Mia Zabelka’s violin were given 3 ‘treatments’ within this sonic landscape. Two treatments were done by IRCAM’s artificial intelligence software, OMax, which segmented and recombined the violin’s performances to coincide with movements in the video, which forms the visual aspect of the quantum world: geometric and vibrating. The third treatment was to atomise the violin’s sound into the microsound sphere using IRCAM’s CataRT, that segmented it into sonic ‘quanta’, tiny grains 0.071 milliseconds, to produce minute clicks, representing the smallest sonic events possible, while still remaining audible. Mia Zabelka’s violin exists as the centre of a quantum sound galaxy.

Track originally posted at More from Zalbelka, who hails from Austria, at

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Disquiet Junto Project 0453: Dial Up

The Assignment: Imagine the technologically mediated First Contact through sound.

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, September 7, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, September 3, 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 0453: Dial Up The Assignment: Imagine the technologically mediated First Contact through sound.

Step 1: The SETI Institute posts an artistic challenge this month. This month’s was issued by the organization’s co-founder, Dr. Jill Tarter. (portrayed as Dr. Ellie Arroway in Contact). Watch the brief video introduction here:

Step 2: In brief, the idea is to consider that First Contact between humans and extraterrestrials will likely be technologically mediated. “We use technology as a proxy for intelligence, and then we go looking with various types of telescopes and detectors to see if we can find evidence that somewhere else someone or something else has used technology to modify their environment in ways that we can sense over vast distances.”

Step 3: Consider what First Contact might be like elsewhere in the universe in light of Dr. Tarter’s challenge.

Step 4: Produce a piece in music/sound that responds to the challenge.

Optional Step: There is a Facebook group for the SETI Art Imaginarium, and you might post your work for this week’s project there:

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0453” (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 “disquiet0453” (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

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 Monday, September 7, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, September 3, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Positive introductions tend to be concise.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0453” 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 453rd weekly Disquiet Junto project, Dial Up (The Assignment: Imagine the technologically mediated First Contact through sound), at:

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.

Images associated with this project drawn from and used thanks to a Creative Commons license allowing for non-commercial adaptation: Read more »

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Serrated Simplicity

The VAPE's Quadrophone Gramophone

This marvelous rusty old object is the most rudimentary — and glorious for it — sort of turntable. It’s like if Louise Bourgeois’ spider sculptures and Pierre Bastien’s sonic constructions had a baby. The gear, all serrated simplicity, goes round and round while the tips of four bent wires make tentative contact. They’re pulled along by the surface tension of the gear, until each gives way with a brittle squeak. The device is called the Quadrophone Gramophone, and it’s from the artist who goes by the VAPE.

Video originally posted at

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