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

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twitter.com/disquiet: captions, envelopes, dentists

From the past week

I do this manually each week, collating the tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet (which I think of as my public notebook) that I want to keep track of. For the most part, this means ones I initiated, not ones in which I directly responded to someone. I sometimes tweak them a bit here. Some tweets pop up on Disquiet.com sooner than I get around to collating them, so I leave them out of the weekly round-up. It’s usually personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud, especially these days, when a week can feel both like a year and like nothing whatsoever has happened or changed.

▰ Protip: When garbage trucks noisily come by in the morning, just pretend you’ve taken shelter from violent robots patrolling the streets

▰ Spoken: “pièce de résistance”

Automatic caption: “P.S. dude assistance”

(Admittedly, Brian Cox’s accent can be a bit strong when he wants it to be)

▰ Got the new Mick Herron novel, Slough House, today, the day of its release. The first of the three novels I’m currently most looking forward to this year, the others being the end of The Expanse trilogy of trilogies (Leviathan Falls, from the duo who write under the name James S.A. Corey) and the final Jade trilogy book (Jade Legacy, from Fonda Lee).

▰ I stand with Soseki.

▰ Maybe it’s me, but this seems like a trick question

▰ Current sounds, 7:40am: chirruping of birds celebrating the sun that just rose over nearby buildings, laptop fan whirring under pressure of several dozen open tabs, rattle of skateboarder enjoying a street devoid of traffic, occasional creak from house as it warms

▰ Today’s guitar class homework

▰ I know I’m at home on the web when I go to a message board I participate on regularly and see a new thread titled “Envelope Problems.”

▰ Went to the dentist, one admirably steeped in pandemic precaution.

  1. Yes, there was an instrumental version of a Steely Dan song playing upon arrival.

  2. Yes, the increased presence of whirring HEPA filters made me drowsy.

  3. And yes, if my parents are reading: no cavities.

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Sound Ledger¹ (Text-to-Speech, Cyberpunk 2077, Machine Learning)

Audio culture by the numbers

5: The estimated value, in billions of dollars, of the text-to-speech (TTS) market by 2026

800: Roughly the number of audio files overhauled in the troubled game Cyberpunk 2077 by an 11GB user mod

13,000: Roughly the number of piece of (Western) classical music processed by an machine-learning AI at EPFL’s Digital and Cognitive Musicology Lab to discern patterns in the music’s development

a ▰ ▰ ▰

¹Footnotes: TTS: prnewswire.com. 2077: dsogaming.com. EPFL: epfl.ch.

Originally published in the February 8, 2021, edition of the This Week in Sound email newsletter (tinyletter.com/disquiet).

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Sound Ledger¹ (WHO, Mics, MIDI)

Audio culture by the numbers

9: The number of seconds one can safely be exposed to 120 dB of sound, according to WHO (World Health Organization)

6: The number of noise-reduction microphones in the Anker Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds, meaning just one more mic than there are words in the new product’s name

440 – 880: The range, in hertz, reportedly depicted in the new logo design for MIDI

▰ ▰ ▰

¹Footnotes: WHO: unb.com.bd. Microphones: cnet.com. MIDI: cdm.link.

Originally published in the January 25, 2021, edition of the This Week in Sound email newsletter (tinyletter.com/disquiet).

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Sound Ledger¹ (Mumbai, Speakers, Helicopters)

Audio culture by the numbers

100.7: The decibel level during festival season in 2020, Mumbai’s quietest in two decades

9.5: Estimated total sales (in billions of dollars) of speakers this year in China, the biggest market in the world

88,000: Roughly the number of helicopter flights between 2017 and 2019 in and around Washington, D.C.

▰ ▰ ▰

¹Footnotes: Mumbai: indiatimes.com. Speakers: statista.com. Helicopters: washingtonpost.com.

Originally published in the January 11, 2021, edition of the This Week in Sound email newsletter (tinyletter.com/disquiet).

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twitter.com/disquiet: Marple, McEnery, Herron

From the past week

I do this manually each week, collating the tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet (which I think of as my public notebook) that I want to keep track of. For the most part, this means ones I initiated, not ones in which I directly responded to someone. I sometimes tweak them a bit here. Some tweets pop up on Disquiet.com sooner than I get around to collating them, so I leave them out of the weekly round-up. It’s usually personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud, especially these days, when a week can feel both like a year and like nothing whatsoever has happened or changed.

▰ Waiting for Mick Herron’s new Slow Horses book, I’m reading his earlier Zoë Boehm series. His ear was already active: “That was a thing about headphones: they made you over-ready to respond; compensating for the fact that you’d voluntarily cut yourself off from communication.” (That’s from the second of Herron’s Zoë Boehm books, The Last Voice You Hear.)

▰ Ezra Pound: The artist is the the antennae of the race.

Gerhard Richter: I saw out-of-focus Zoom calls coming way back when.

▰ Oh, good, there is an animated GIF of how The Expanse depicts shipping containers in space. (Warning: vertigo-inducing.)

▰ 2020: buying each other’s Bandcamp releases

2021: compensating¹ each other for expertise and time

¹Again, trade/barter factors in, certainly

▰ Not sure if this is proof Twitter’s algorithm doesn’t particularly get me, or proof Twitter is trying to convince me Twitter’s algorithm doesn’t particularly get me.

▰ Watching Miss Marple episodes, now fully convinced she’s way more interesting than James Bond, and enjoying guest appearances by familiar actors. Last night’s was the mother lode. First, Dan Stevens ejects from a Luftwaffe plane. Then Richard E. Grant (!) appears in the credits. Then (!) Ruth (!) Wilson (!) appears in the credits. And as I’m settling into the episode, assuming this is already an embarrassment of riches beyond compare, the director’s name appears: Nicolas Winding Refn. I’ve been joking for a while that the next Marple remake needs to make good on the sheer amount of violence that surrounds her, and go with something like Miss Marple: Death Magnet as the title. Clearly, Nicolas Winding Refn is already primed to direct such a thing. Oh, and another doozy: Shortly after the opening of the episode (“Nemesis,” the version with Gwendolyn McEwan), Marple gets her instructions from a benefactor who sends a solicitor with a gramophone and a record, on which he has recorded himself telling her what to do. Cold War Mission: Impossible. (All of which said, I kinda prefer the eerie and impenetrable interiority of Joan Hickson’s Marple over the socially intelligent busybody McEwan’s pursues. Next up: Julia McKenzie.)

▰ RIP, Paul McEnery

▰ Realized the last show I saw live in person was, I believe, back on January 30, 2020, so it’s officially been a full year. I miss running into people more than I miss concerts, or more to the point, part of the point of concerts is running into people.

▰ Remains convinced the best way to read cyberpunk is via text-to-speech

▰ (I always think of it as Janacek Flow)

▰ I laughed harder at Peaches/Clarissa saying “hi” to Holden toward the end of the season finale of The Expanse than I have at anything else in a long time. (I’m all caught up on the books and the show, and the new book isn’t due out until October, apparently.)

▰ This bears repeating:

  1. Not every meeting needs to use its entire allotted time

  2. Stop five minutes or so early to recap and plan what’s next

  3. End a couple minutes early so everyone can get on to what’s next

▰ Honk if you’ve pasted your laptop’s clipboard just to see what’s in it because you don’t remember what or when it was you most recently cut/copied in the first place

▰ The living room faces south. This is San Francisco, so the sun comes through the fully drawn bay window shades from the east. The light, yellow with brighter if muted center, has the artificial uniformity of a movie set. All I hear: light traffic, house creaking as heat kicks in.

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