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

Writing on Billy Childish and Punk at Hilobrow

As part of Carbona Your Enthusiasm

I announced this back in mid-August, but I appear to have neglected to note when it was published. I contributed a short essay about Billy Childish for As I write at the start of it, I was obsessed with the music of Billy Childish in the 1990s. My obsession had a partner in how prolific he was (and remains). Most households contain fewer records than he’s released. And then there’s the EPs, and the singles. Being obsessed with Childish meant my love was always unrequited, which meant it was always fresh. Billy Bragg? Nick Lowe? I could accumulate those Brits’ discographies pretty quickly. With Childish, there was always another release to stumble upon. By no means was I a completest. I was an opportunist. If I had some credit left over at Amoeba after trading stuff in and hoarding import ambient records, I’d snag some Childish. A single here, an LP there. It added up. Jeepers, did it add up.

Thanks to Hilobrow for the opportunity to reflect on an old favorite. The essay is part of a series the website ran about late early (or early late) punk, called Carbona Your Enthusiasm. There are 25 essays in the Carbona series, and among the contributors are Luc Sante, Mimi Lipson, and series editor Josh Glenn. The final entry is by Mike Watt (on the Dils’ “You’re Not Blank (So Baby We’re Through).” I wrote the introduction to a comics anthology tribute to his legendary band the Minutemen back in 2014.

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Grace Notes

From last week

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

▰ “I am debating in a room different from the one you are in now.” The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced Alvin Lucier as the next moderator. This helpfully charts a course to unintelligibility that will be a relief for all in attendance.

▰ Was dipping a toe into the fetid conspiracy swamp of earpiece b.s., but it appears the freak show has moved on to contact-lens b.s. Enjoy the ride, HUD scholars. (That’s heads-up display, not Housing and Urban Development, but given our strange times, who knows what lies ahead?)

▰ Got my Underworld Drift box, the three-CD Matmos set, Sarah Davachi’s two-CD latest, and Thomas Dimuzio’s three-CD live set. Multi-hour releases seem to, for me at least, challenge the non-corporeality of (“mere”) single-album releases, justifying their physical presence on my shelf and their claim for my attention.

▰ “You’re the first one here”

▰ Yes, I am up for a movie about a drummer who goes deaf. And all the more so when it’s Riz Ahmed behind the kit: Sound of Metal is due out later this year (first in theaters, then on Amazon Prime).

▰ One thing I’ve come to realize lately is there’s nothing I can think of that tastes good with cinnamon that doesn’t even better with cayenne in addition: cereal, hot chocolate, ice cream, etc.

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Reading Derek Bailey

On improvisation

Participants in the Disquiet Junto will begin discussing this book, Derek Bailey’s Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music, in a Slack-based book club starting this coming Monday, October 5. The plan is to spread the discussion over the course of about seven weeks. Last time we did an online read, years ago (the subject was a Kim Stanley Robinson novel), too few people finished, and too many were at different spots when discussion occurred. This staged approach should keep us on the same page, so to speak.

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Colorful Conversation

Out on the farm

Always keeping an eye out for how TV captions evolve. This one was, I think, new to me: different colors signifying different speakers. White is retained for the narrator. The still image is from the BBC TV series This Farming Life, which as (1) urban and (2) American I’d otherwise find utterly unintelligible.

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Physical Graffiti

An ongoing series cross-posted from

It was a pleasure to write liner notes (full text: “Palimpsests All the Way Down”) for Nathan Moody’s new album, de​/​Still, a “musical score” that he created as an aural interpretation of TJ Norris’ photography. All the more so, because the album was a proper physical release. My copy of the CD just arrived from the record label, Flag Day Recordings. Get the album at

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