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

News, essays, reviews, surveillance

twitter.com/disquiet: Theater Anxiety and Media Ambience

I do this manually each week, collating tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet, my public notebook. Some tweets pop up (in expanded form) on Disquiet.com sooner. It’s personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud.

▰ The sequel to A Quiet Place, a film about a society in which survivors of a worldwide catastrophe take extreme caution whenever leaving their homes, will apparently be available “only in theaters.”

Which is to say, the bar for the cinema sensorium has been lowered as a result of the pandemic. Simply entering the movie theater exceeds whatever Sensurround had ever been hoped to accomplish.

▰ I enjoy buying downloads. I also feel a threshold-breaking new utility (app/device/service/protocol) remains necessary for doing so to become mainstream, mainstream being necessary for downloads to pass a threshold at which they will become financially meaningful for musicians.

▰ Me at 6:45am: Yawn.

Me at 7:15am: Oh, yeah, it’s May the 4th. I’ll watch Bad Batch, but it’s not like I’m gonna be celebrating Star Wars all day. C’mon.

Me at 9:00am: Oh wow, this Star Wars Biomes audio-video feature is awesome and I’m going to play it on loop until dinner!

Pretty much the only shortcoming of these Star Wars Biomes videos is they don’t entirely ditch the music. Fortunately, the environmental sound of the various locations is prominent most if not all the time.

▰ Netflix needs a third button for “I really enjoyed this and I never want to watch it or anything like it anytime again in the near or foreseeable future.” Pondering what that hand gesture is.

▰ That thing where you’re looking at Goodreads and you go to click the “Want to Read” button and, just as you do so, the advertising banner finally slides into place, thus pushing down the rest of the page, leading you to instead trigger a full-page view of the book’s cover.

▰ Really enjoyed the dense environmental sounds of Cyberpunk 2077, so rather than just watch recordings on YouTube I got a copy. Somewhere a database is registering the machine language equivalent of “This player simply wanders around town and then stands still for a half an hour.” … Somewhere another machine on the network replies, “The player’s digital signature resembles that of someone who did the same thing in Pikmin 20 years ago.” … Further down the stack comes a whisper on the wind from an ancient BASIC subroutine: “I know that kid. Used to carry a binder of floppies around with him in high school.”

▰ I think I need to add “Loitering in video games” to the Disquiet.com profile.

▰ The phrase “panting sibilantly” was one of the first descriptions in the captions for Mayans M.C. this week.

▰ And on that note, have a great weekend. Listen to one of your favorite TV shows. Admire the emotional heft of the word balloons in a favorite graphic novel. Record the outside and bring it inside. See you Monday. Or maybe Tuesday.

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A Pox on the Inbox

PR at scale


If I haven’t replied to your request for coverage, this screenshot from Gmail is why. I do want to hear your music — but I also want to hear other people’s music, and the less time I spend in correspondence, the more time I can spend listening. Thanks.

I set up filters in Gmail by email account (labels and PR firms, and for some artists, too). They’re in declining order of likely interest. I have them automatically bypass my inbox.

And to further clarify: No way I’ll read them all. I take a peek in declining order, and occasionally clean them out. I search for “http://bandcamp.com/yum” and mostly pay attention to level 0 and 1. A search in others (“soundtrack,” “ambient,” etc.) might yield something.

Not shown, simply because it’s much further down in the list of my email folders/labels: the 11,811 that automatically bypassed my inbox because they’re from Bandcamp.

I feel bad about complaining, because there’s tons of great stuff in there. As burdens go, it’s an embarrassment of riches. What’s not great is (1) people who re-add me to their subscriptions lists after I unsubscribe and (2) people who check back repeatedly.

What’s also sometimes burdensome is the natural sympathy one acquires for musicians who put all their time into releasing albums and tracks, only for them to face so many hurdles for it to get much an audience.

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MP3

A mesostic

Yes, digital Music services don't hold
           a Penny to CDs, but there's something to buying
downloads at 3:00am
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twitter.com/disquiet: Voice Recognition, Robot Dreams

From the past week

I do this manually each week, collating tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet, my public notebook. Some tweets pop up (in expanded form) on Disquiet.com sooner. It’s personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud.

▰ I didn’t tweet that much this week, but I did ride my bike for the first time in a long time, so I may live longer and tweet less per week, yielding the same number of tweets in the end as if I’d lived shorter and tweeted more. Or something like that.

▰ Turning my phone’s alarm off isn’t easy, yet once in a while I manage to do it with no memory of having done it. Today I woke a half hour late when a robot called to renew some insurance policy I don’t actually have, which in the past would itself have been a dream narrative.

▰ These not uncommon words seem to be black diamond ski slopes for voice-recognition systems:

“midst”
“amidst”

After I mentioned this, a friend asked why didn’t I just say “amid.” It’s a valid question.

▰ I’ve never actually played Cyberpunk 2077, but I’ve spent an enormous amount of time with YouTube videos of its ambient street noise playing on loop.

▰ These are among the quotidian sounds being turned into music so far in the week’s Disquiet Junto project (disquiet.com/0487). The project was inspired by the carillon, which some 500 years back “instrumentalized” the common bell by letting you plan them, each bell with a different tune.

  • staircase creaking

  • elevator recording “ruined” by RF interference

  • coffee grinder

  • spring peepers (frogs)

  • door leading to a small room

▰ And on that note, have a great weekend.

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Creak

A mesostic

                   BeCause this old building  
               is neaRly a 
                    cEntury into its existence
it's developed quite A vocabulary
            with its Knotty wood floors

Update: And again, shortly after I posted this to Twitter, I was rewarded with a remix by Guy Birkin:

Because this old buildinG
       is nearly a centuRy into its existence
              it's develOped quite 
                   a vocAbulary with its 
                       kNotty wood floors
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