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

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

field notes

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Family Room (Detail)

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt

Remnants of my late father’s stereo system

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twitter.com/disquiet: Pottery, Watson, Berberian

From the past week

I do this manually each Saturday, usually in the morning over coffee: collating most of the tweets I made the past week at twitter.com/disquiet, which I think of as my public notebook. Some tweets pop up sooner in expanded form or otherwise on Disquiet.com. I’ve found it personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud. This isn’t a full accounting. Often there are, for example, conversations on Twitter that don’t really make as much sense out of the context of Twitter itself. And sometimes I tweak them a bit, given the additional space. And sometimes I re-order them just a bit.

▰ Re-watching old Great Pottery Throw Down episodes. Season 1, episode 2: large ceramic sinks. They don’t need to look to see if one held up in the kiln: just give a ping to see if it rings. (By coincidence or design, in the same episode they have the potters do a project blindfolded.)

▰ An IBM advertisement on Twitter for Watson AI services reads “No one likes hold music. Quickly solve customer problems.” It’s funny how in the world of AI-mediated customer service, hold music’s been replaced by that rapid processing noise meant to suggest a computer is thinking.

▰ 16th novel I’ve finished reading this year: Leviathan Falls by James S.A. Corey. Final novel in the 9-volume series. Has elements of my least favorite (the 3rd) but improves on them; lacks some favorite characters while almost balancing out with new/expanded ones. Loved the epilogue. Going to miss this universe a lot.

▰ I’m used to houseplants in photos/videos of music equipment, but seeing a Buddha Machine in a photo for an article about a phone is new to me engadget.com

▰ Wednesday, June 22, 2:34pm EDT: afternoon quartet for rain, passing airplane, washing machine, and suburban construction

▰ “I found that this color provides confidence in all things mechanical.” That’s Jason Sandberg, writing about the results of zinc chromate for the Color Code series at hilobrow.com, for which I recently did a piece on teal.

▰ “The offbeat satire follows the creative differences within a collective of ‘sonic caterers’—performance artists who generate soundscapes from the preparation and manipulation of food” (hyperallergic.com). Film screenwriter-director Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio) is back with Flux Gourmet.

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Perfect Sound Forever

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt

Another side of my late father’s listening

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Infrastructure Readymades

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt

Infrastructure readymades are my favorite readymades. I love how the exterior architectural detail resembles part of a picture frame.

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Pre-Junto

Recalling the indirect influence of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle

I hadn’t really recognized until this morning that Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle led to the Disquiet Junto music community. When the first novel in the series came out at the start of autumn 2003, I took the day off to read. Not long in, I decided I didn’t know enough American history to appreciate it, so I put it down.

I’d read everything by Stephenson at that point, and have to this day (several of the books multiple times), with the single exception of the Baroque Cycle. In 2004 I started a job, and only picked up Quicksilver, that first book, again after the job was over, around 2009 or 2010. Again, I felt I didn’t know enough, and I put it down.

Not knowing enough about American history eventually led me to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin, which I read in advance of his 2011 book on Steve Jobs just to have a sense of how much of a hagiography the latter might prove to be.

It was while reading Isaacson’s Franklin biography that I became reacquainted with the Founding Father’s Junto club, dating from 1727, which I’d first learned of in college when his autobiography was part of an English literature course syllabus. And that led to me forming the Disquiet Junto.

Now I’m trying, again, to read the Baroque Cycle. I think I’ll make it through this time.

Originally published in the June 20, 2022, edition of the This Week in Sound email newsletter. Get it in your inbox via tinyletter.com/disquiet.

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • Current Activities

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    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)

  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

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  • 0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.
    0543 / Technique Check / The Assignment: Share a tip from your method toolbox.
    0542 / 2600 Club / The Assignment: Make some phreaking music.
    0541 / 10BPM Techno / The Assignment: Make some snail-paced beats.
    0540 / 5ive 4our / The Assignment: Take back 5/4 for Jedi time masters Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond.

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