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.

twitter.com/disquiet: Fluxus, Gershwin, Murata

From the past week

I do this manually each Saturday, usually in the morning over coffee: collating most of the tweets I made the past week at twitter.com/disquiet, which I think of as my public notebook. Some tweets pop up sooner in expanded form or otherwise on Disquiet.com. I’ve found it personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud. This isn’t a full accounting. Often there are, for example, conversations on Twitter that don’t really make as much sense out of the context of Twitter itself. And sometimes I tweak them a bit, given the additional space. And sometimes I re-order them just a bit.

▰ I live close to Golden Gate Park. The best part of the Outside Lands Festival is Thursday, when the bands tune up, as they are doing now. It’s a popular-music rendition of one of Christopher DeLaurenti’s orchestra tuning recordings: bits of riffs as the sound system gels. The drum tests all echo like John Bonham at the far end of a dusty Valhalla hallway, and the vocal mic checks suggest Yoko Ono leading a Fluxus reunion at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Tomorrow begins three straight days of verse/chorus/verse monotony, but today is enjoyable.

▰ Remote office

▰ 1: Working on “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

2: Thing I said in guitar class: “I think I’m feeling like the second half of Flowers for Algernon today.”

3: Also: We’re at the point where guitar chords look a bit like chemistry symbols.

4: George Gershwin was a genius.

▰ Oh yes

▰ It’s satisfying to play a guitar chord where you use your thumb, wrapped around the neck from behind, on the low E string as part of the fingering.

▰ End of day

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Cage & Feldman in Conversation

An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt

I’ve listened to these conversations (1966-67) between John Cage and Morton Feldman numerous times. I feel like I had a PDF of the transcripts once upon a time, but no longer. Finally scored a paperback copy.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0553: Break That Cycle

The Assignment: Record in a steady tempo but break it on occasion.

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 the end of the day Monday, August 8, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 4, 2022.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0553: Break That Cycle
The Assignment: Record in a steady tempo but break it on occasion.

This is a one-step project: Record in a steady tempo but break it on occasion. For example, you might record a piece of music in 4/4 at a steady pace, but occasionally break it by including an extra bar or a stray three-bar sequence, or a segment that’s notably faster or slower.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0553” (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 “disquiet0553” (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 track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0553-break-that-cycle/

Step 5: Annotate your track 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.

Step 8: Also join in the discussion on the Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to [email protected] for Slack inclusion.

Note: Please post one track for this weekly Junto project. If you choose to post more than one, and do so on SoundCloud, please let me know which you’d like added to the playlist. Thanks.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, August 8, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 4, 2022.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0553” 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: It is always 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 553rd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Break That Cycle (The Assignment: Record in a steady tempo but break it on occasion) — at: https://disquiet.com/0553/

More on the Disquiet Junto at: https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here: https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0553-break-that-cycle/

The image shows a detail of a mural painted by the artist Pablo “Raíz” Ruiz Arroyo at the record store Noise in San Francisco.

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Lanois at the Piano

A glimpse at a forthcoming album

Apparently Daniel Lanois has a new album — its title, Player, Piano, featuring an attention-getting comma — due out on the fairly new label Modern Recordings (a BMG company whose roster includes Nils Petter Molvaer, Robot Koch, and Meredi). “I got to visit with the ghosts of Erik Satie and Oscar Peterson and Harold Budd,” Lanois said in a pre-release statement. This short video is a live snippet of him at his heavily used instrument, carefully selected chords worked through with soulful patience.

According to the pre-release announcement: “Lanois and [co-producer Wayne] Lorenz set about transforming each of the three pianos in the studio, dampening the strings with tea towels and dulling the percussive impact of the hammers by adding small felt pads to the heads. When it came time to record, they used vintage ribbon mics and arranged them behind the instruments rather than in front in an effort to further soften the sound.”

That glimpse at his approach explains the muted quality of the piano, the way it both echoes with a pronounced softness and yet feels constrained, controlled. The softness is itself a sort of constraint, in that it presents the piano at a remove from how one normally hears the instrument — thus the sound is both warm and alien. In other words, very much Daniel Lanois territory.

Video originally posted at youtube.com. More at modernrecordings.de.

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This Week in Sound: A Protective Web of Sound

A lightly annotated clipping service

These sound-studies highlights of the week are lightly adapted from the August 1, 2022, issue of the free Disquiet.com weekly email newsletter This Week in Sound: tinyletter.com/disquiet.

As always, if you find sonic news of interest, please share it with me, and (except with the most widespread of news items) I’ll credit you should I mention it here.

“A zero-emissions vehicle has obvious benefits for the environment, but a quiet car is a mixed blessing for the public good. Automobile engines, however annoying non-driving citizens find them, are rich in information, providing a protective web of sound that cushions us from collisions as we navigate the streets. Not only does engine noise announce a vehicle’s presence; it can also convey its direction, its speed, and whether it is accelerating or decelerating. … [A]n automotive engineer made a suggestion. Since maximum-noise laws for gas-powered automobiles already existed, why not establish a minimum-noise standard that E.V.s had to meet?” John Seabrook asks “What Should a Nine-Thousand-Pound Electric Vehicle Sound Like?” ➔ newyorker.com

The Hulu streaming service created “‘ambient rooms’ on Youtube to promote the new series of hit drama Only Murders in the Building. … Popularity grew over the course of the pandemic, with some ambient rooms earning tens of millions of views.” ➔ thedrum.com

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have identified “two areas of the auditory cortex [that] are specialized to recognize human voice sounds that, unlike speech, do not carry linguistic meaning.”upmc.com

Interview with Julia Whelan, well-regarded audiobook reader/narrator, who reports that the biggest threat to her work is her stomach: “It’s just really fucking loud.” The title of the article calls Whelan “The Adele of Audiobooks.” This being The New Yorker, I initially wondered which character from which 19th-century French novel was being referred to. Then I realized they meant “Rolling in the Deep” Adele. In any case, she may have sold a lot of copies of Gone Girl, but she’s still just paid by the hour: “It’s an egregious miscarriage! This industry hasn’t caught up with how popular audiobooks are.” ➔ newyorker.com

Steven Gonzalez Monserrate writes about the people who monitor cloud computing infrastructure: “I listen to the ambient din of fans roaring and cannot discern the sound of overheating he is describing. My untrained ear cannot differentiate that noise from the rest of the mechanical thrumming around me. But Tom can. Conditioned by countless hours in these mechanical halls, he hears the individual parts in a symphony of beeps, tones and pulses coming from air conditioners, power distribution units, servers, smoke detectors, fire prevention systems, ungrounded cables, and heat. In this world of computational chill, heat is nuisance, an invisible enemy and index of harm, what the symbolic anthropologist Mary Douglas might have called ‘matter out of place’. Listening for heat is a skill Tom has honed, and one that he wields to ensure that the computational river of the digital continues to flow, unimpeded.” ➔ aeon.co (via the NextDraft newsletter)

A chilling detail from an Austin American-Statesman about how the newspaper edited the sound of Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School shooting: “We also have removed the sound of children screaming as the gunman enters the classroom.” ➔ statesman.com (via The Present Age newsletter)

“I had taken the sounds of home for granted. My grandmother’s bellows from across the apartment, my friends screaming my name from the street below my window. The garbage trucks, the car alarms, the fireworks set off nowhere near the Fourth of July. The music. I had thought these were the sounds of poverty, of being trapped. I realized, in their absence, that they were the sounds of my identity, turned up to 11.” Xochitl Gonzalez, author of Olga Dies Dreaming, asks “Why Do Rich People Love Quiet?” (Bonus: my old friend Jorge Colombo, whom I met in the early 1990s when he drew comics I edited for Tower Records’ Pulse! magazine, did the accompanying illustration.) ➔ theatlantic.com

“Noisy City lets you scroll over an illustration of Brussels that looks a bit like a heat map: The quietest areas are portrayed in green, the loudest show up in purple. It’s a colorful feast for the eyes, but it’s actually all about the ears. That’s because Noisy City is an audible data-visualization map. You can toggle the sound on and off, move the cursor around, and experience how individual streets sound.” It was developed by Karim Douïeb. ➔ fastcompany.com

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