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.

Disquiet Junto Project 0438: Deep Plan

The Assignment: Compose a piece of music in which something special is situated at the very center.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, May 25, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0438: Deep Plan
The Assignment: Compose a piece of music in which something special is situated at the very center.

Step 1: There is just one step this week: Compose a piece of music in which something special is situated at the very center.

Background: You might simply interpret that instruction as you choose to. For additional context, you might consider this centerpiece a surprise, or you might hint at it at the opening. It might be a gap, or a presence, or something in between.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0438” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your tracks.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0438” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation of a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your tracks. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your tracks.

Step 4: Post your tracks in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0438-deep-plan/

Step 5: Annotate your tracks with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #disquietjunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, May 25, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. This may be the rare circumstance when longer is better.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0438” in the title of the tracks, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: Given the nature of this particular project sequence, it is best to set your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 438th weekly Disquiet Junto project, Disquiet Junto Project 0438: Deep Plan — The Assignment: Compose a piece of music in which something special is situated at the very center — at:

https://disquiet.com/0438/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0438-deep-plan/

There’s also a Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this track is from NASA, used thanks to a Creative Commons license and Flickr. The image has been cropped, colors shifted, and text added.

https://flic.kr/p/pewfZo

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

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This Week (off) in Sound

Public service announcement

There was no This Week in Sound email newsletter (tinyletter.com/disquiet) this week. The last class session of the 15-week semester of Sounds of Brands (Quarantine Remix feat. Zoom), the course I teach once a year, occurred today. These two statements are related.

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Paper Music

When the machines fail us

The semi-bad news is I spent a considerable amount of time a year or so ago researching how people notate their synthesizer patches, never coming to a conclusion that I felt was (yet) substantial enough to write about. That is, how they draw, or photograph, or otherwise annotate for future reference the combination of cables and knobs, sliders and (increasingly) menu settings of their modules.

The not unrelated good news is, having done that work, I had developed some fledgling ideas as to how to accomplish such a task, ideas I drew upon this evening when my camera failed to record audio for what would have been the day’s Buddha Machine Variation.

The second of the images below is how I transcribed some menu settings (on the ER-301 module, using the Feedback Looper unit). I was, apparently, especially (presciently?) primed to take these notes, because the first of these two images is something I wrote in a notebook last night when an idea for today’s patch first suggested itself. So, these are the before and after. What’s missing is the middle, the actual recording.

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Buddha Machine Variations No. 35 (Tripled Suite)

A series of focused experiments

This was an experiment in exploring the device as a whole: not just as a set of loops contained in one object, but the sequence of those loops, and the way the loops progress as a result of the object’s design. All the previous Buddha Machine Variations to date have involved one loop per machine. Here the multiple loops of such a device, one from the second-generation of Buddha Machines, are heard not just in sequence, but in overlapping sequences. They’re considered as a suite.

There are three subsets of whatever loop is playing at a given time. Each is a subloop: one three seconds, one four seconds, one five (in the ER-301 module, using the Feedback Looper unit). Each of the subloops is extracted from a different narrow band of the audio spectrum (via the FDXf module). As the piece proceeds, the button on the side of the Buddha Machine is clicked. One or more of the subloops begins recording the new audio almost immediately, but there is some time before the preceding loop is entirely eradicated. At the very end, the audio cable is pulled out of the Buddha Machine, and eventually all the subloops give way to silence. (This was less sudden when rehearsed, but it works OK here. I’ll be trying this all again with a slightly different approach.)

For further patch-documentation purposes, here is a shot of the synthesizer:

Video originally posted at youtube.com/disquiet. There’s also a video playlist of the Buddha Machine Variations.

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Buddha Machine Variations No. 34 (Chamber Refraction)

A series of focused experiments

One loop from the fifth generation Buddha Machine, little snatches of it glitching out in a semblance of correlation. At first all that’s heard is the unaltered audio of the source loop. That’s the fifth channel of the mixer (lavender cable). And then one by one, the first through fourth channels of the mixer are introduced. Each is set on a mico-looping procedure of the source loop, varying individually between roughly 100 and 300 milliseconds. They are each set to record over whatever was there before, meaning sometimes there will be silences. And finally, once the main source audio is turned off in the mix (at 1:45), all that is heard is this combination of microloops.

If you’re familiar with the ER-301 module, here’s some additional detail: The unit being used is the Feedback Looper. There are four of these running individually. Each is taking a square wave from the Batumi as its on/off switch to record. In addition, each is taking the next channel’s on/off as its trigger to (un)engage (the fourth channel looks to the first channel, squaring the circle).

That runs for quite awhile, and then at 2:55 the relative pace of the four square waves are altered. This has an impact on when the individual loopers are triggered, and then at 3:09 the Batumi is switched from “free” mode to “quad,” and the levers adjusted further.

For further patch-documentation purposes, here is a shot of the synthesizer:

Video originally posted at youtube.com/disquiet. There’s also a video playlist of the Buddha Machine Variations.

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