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.

field notes

News, essays, reviews, surveillance

Grace Notes: DeLillo’s Silence + RIP, Kondo

From the past week

Some tweet observations ( I made over the course of the past week, lightly edited. I’ll mention: I really enjoy Twitter. There’s a lot wrong with it, but if you mute assiduously, block when necessary, monitor your hours, and stick to a few topics, you can have some great back and forths with people. My refrain about social media: Twitter is where you learn how much you have in common with people you don’t know, and Facebook is where you learn how little you have in common with people you do know.

▰ RIP to the great Toshinori Kondo (December 15, 1948 – October 17, 2020). Sad sad day. The Japanese trumpeter was a master of space and sound, and an essential collaborator of DJ Krush and Bill Laswell, among others. His 1996 collaboration with Krush, Ki-Oku, is a great starting point, as is Nate Chinen’s obituary at

▰ It was nice with physical library books, when returning them, to wonder when and by whom they’d next be picked up. With digital ones, it’s nice to return something early, see the waiting list, and know you’ve made someone’s evening somewhere across the city. Or perhaps next door.

▰ It was a foregone conclusion that reading the new Don DeLillo novel digitally would yield meta moments, including his awareness of the inevitability. Still, I was struck to find a wistful phrase about the discontents of over-connectedness evidently highlighted by fellow readers. (And yes, the book is titled The Silence. Yes.)

▰ Exactly how long is this Ninja Tune video?

▰ Yeah, it’s sorta creepy to send a (seemingly) personalized email follow-up saying you’d noticed I’d opened a recent email about your record and wondered if I’d want to cover it, especially because I’d already taken the time to tell your publicist I wasn’t interested.

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Freak Flags

An ongoing series cross-posted from

The frequent employment of makeshift address labels on doorbells generally comes across as just that: a quick, easy, vaguely stable response to a specific need. The specific need is to align a given residence (or business) with a push button. The vaguely stable part is that those labels are sure to be rubbed down, ripped off, or otherwise damaged by the elements over time (humans count as elements, alongside rain, wind, and heat). The two such labels shown here are in different states of disrepair, and their non-alignment briefly brings to mind the manner in which opening credits for films starring dual leading actors use techniques to suggest neither is truly more prominent than the other: one may come first, for example, but the other is positioned higher. But what if these seemingly temporary labels are hiding their actual purpose in plain sight? What if they’re temporary precisely because the people who use them harbor some sort of fever-dream conspiracy groupthink that their street address can, in the future, be changed whenever they darn well please? Why, all that stands in their way is casting off the shackles of government overreach. In which case, what if such cheap labels aren’t just purposeful hedges in advance of that simultaneously imminent yet elusive utopia, but visual dog whistles: post-truth freak flags left for fellow travelers to acknowledge with a slight, knowing nod while out for a stroll?

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Grace Notes: Organs, House Style, Endless Now

From last week

Some tweet observations ( I made over the course of the past week, lightly edited:

▰ Watched an old British TV mystery in which the damning evidence turned out to be the church organ was heard without use of pedals, meaning some kid had been asked by the organist to unwittingly provide an alibi during the murder. For the record I discovered the plot while watching the episode. I didn’t watch because someone had told me the plot. That said, had someone told me the plot, I almost certainly would have watched.

▰ Pretty sure that’s the last time I’m gonna all-caps the title of the new Autechre album

▰ Chrisjen Avasarala from The Expanse books gets our current moment. (This is from Babylon’s Ashes, volume six in the series.)

▰ “The host has another meeting in progress” (Who can’t relate?)

▰ This tweet will have a small audience, but I’ll mention it was a letdown in the final episode of Fast and the Furious: Spy Racers that right after one of the characters names an op Operation Mindcrime the song we hear isn’t by Queensrÿche but instead by Age of Menace. There was a fun little Hamilton/@reneegoldsberry Easter egg (she plays Ms. Nowhere) toward the end of the episode. (Probably a lot more of those that I missed.)

▰ Me: Kinda wish we could push fast forward a bit.
Star Trek: Discovery: How’s 950 years sound?

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Marker Marker

An ongoing series cross-posted from

I went for a long walk this afternoon, two-plus hours, and spotted this on the side of a laundromat. I’m not sure if this is a remnant of previous signage or if it is an especially low-key graffiti tag, but either way I really dig it. Philip Shelburne expertly joked in reply on Twitter that it’s La Jetée fan art, and while the walk was easily four times the length of the Chris Marker film, the vibe was definitely spot on.

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Between the Lines: The Connectors

A playlist-inspired playlist

I found myself making a mental playlist of albums by the musicians who were the connectors between the albums in my Exquisite Personnel Corpse playlist I did for The Wire magazine this month. The result is the Between the Lines: The Connectors playlist. These artists appear below in the order in which they initially figured.

Robert Musso: Absolute Music (Mu)

Bill Laswell: Means of Deliverance (Innerhythmic)

King Britt: Adventures in Lo-Fi (Instrumental) (Barely Breaking Even)

Julianna Barwick: Will (Dead Oceans)

Ikue Mori: Obelisk (Tzadik)

Fred Frith: Step Across the Border (RecRec)

Theresa Wong: Venice Is a Fish (Sensitive Skin)

Ellen Fullman: Change of Direction (New Albion)

Pauline Oliveros: The Wanderer (Lovely)

Stephen Vitiello: Buffalo Bass Delay (Hallwalls/Room40)

The OO-Ray: Tiny Fugues (Audiobulb)

Marcus Fischer: Collected Dust (Tench)

Simon Scott: Migrations (Touch)

Mike Weis: 49 days (Music for a Transition) (Granny)

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