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

Sleepless in San Francisco

I Dream of Wires is the incorrect title for that great documentary on modular synthesizers.

It should be titled: Couldn’t Sleep Because I Read Manuals Too Late at Night and My Brain Wouldn’t Stop Patching.

. . .

In the meanwhile, here is where my system is currently at (or will be when two of those modules arrive from, respectively, Poland and down in Southern California). The blank space at the bottom is, indeed, bank. Likely other modules will go before it is filled. We’ll see.

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RSS and Its Contents

Playing catch-up

For the past month, for unclear reasons, the RSS feed of wasn’t functioning well — or at least, little to nothing showed up on for many weeks in a row. In any case, that issue seems to have been corrected or otherwise resolved, hence the test post (since deleted) you may have noticed yesterday if you use RSS. Here are some of the stories that popped up on during the blackout:

  • I had the privilege of appearing on Darwin Grosse’s excellent podcast, Art + Music + Technology.
  • The gorgeous new album from Rotterdam-based musician Michel Banabila, titled Uprooted, features a short essay from me as its liner notes.
  • Graffiti in Sacramento, California, suggests a P2P underground.
  • Marcus Fischer had a beautiful installation at a Portland gallery involving speaker cones and seed pods.
  • Louise Rossiter (based in Leicester, U.K.) is sharing the music she’s making as she learns the coding language Supercolider.
  • The Japanese translation of my Aphex Twin book was spotted in Tokyo again.
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    Modular Synthesizer Statistics

    In a nutshell

    Number of comments when the module is teased: 1,000

    Number of comments when the module is announced: 100

    Number of comments when the module is released: 10

    Number of comments when an album comes out using the module: 1

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    What Sounds Looks Like: Brands of Sounds

    Blackboard edition

    Remains of the day. This is the blackboard at the end of the class this past Wednesday, week 11 of 15 in the undergraduate course I teach on sound in the media landscape. Week 11 marks the start of the third and final arc of the course. Arc one is “Listening to Media,” three weeks on learning to pay attention with and to one’s ears. Arc two is “Sounds of Brands,” from which the course takes its name; in it we discuss how things (companies, products, services, etc.) express themselves in sound (jingles, product design, retail design, etc.). Arc three of the course is “Brands of Sounds,” which flips the second arc on its head. We look at how things related to sound (musical instruments, headphones, streaming services, record labels, bands) express themselves in non-sonic ways. This begins with a discussion of what sound looks like. The lengthy class discussion yielded this mid-period Basquiat.

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    Life on the Virtual Run

    Adventures in social media

    This is my ongoing battle with Twitter: I change my location in the settings so that the odious “Trends” appear in a language I don’t understand (preferably one I find geometrically appealing, like Korean or Thai). Time passes. Those items begin to appear translated. I move on. I’m a virtual international fugitive.

    I try to tweet the Twitter I want there to be in the world. The Twitter from back when I would just call out the sounds I heard around me, and people would respond in kind. The Twitter when people would share thoughtful observations or fragments of culture they come upon. The Twitter before Twitter was synonymous with bad actors.

    I’ve long thought of Facebook as a place where I realize how little I have in common with my friends, and Twitter as a place where I realize how much I have in common with people I don’t know. Twitter increasingly makes it difficult to maintain that usage, but for now it remains worth the effort.

    Currently my Twitter trends have me in Tokyo, and they appear to be about new sports cars and anime releases. I was “in” Tijuana for awhile, and then Seoul, until the Translator Sentinels (as I picture my tireless virtual opponents) caught up with me. Who knows where I’ll be this time next week.

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