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: Lucier, Wrapped, Porter Ricks

From the past week

I do this manually each Saturday, 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 in expanded form or otherwise on Disquiet.com sooner. It’s personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud.

▰ Definitely digging Neal Stephenson’s new book, Termination Shock. It’s interesting that the title phrase appears for the first time almost exactly halfway through the novel.

▰ Had a nice 9 days off Twitter (and F’book) for Thanksgiving. Probably will do the same at the end of the year. Read a heap, Wrote, too. Perhaps there’s a connection.

▰ Getting a new laptop means learning to turn off annoying alert sounds. Every time you mute one, another makes itself known. Months will pass at some point, and only then will you look back and realize, “Oh, it’s been a while since an alert went off. I must have gotten them all.”

▰ Neal Stephenson, student of martial arts, momentarily puts aside sticks, spears, and heron-inspired fisticuffs to focus in on sonic weaponry. This is from his new novel, Termination Shock:

Fascinating: just a few pages later, there’s an audio deepfake scenario, geopolitical dirty tricks.

▰ Pretty ingenious. Do many other music-making devices do this, where the jack labels are upside down, so you can read them easily by just tipping the thing toward you rather than having to read upside down? (This is the OXI One.)

▰ It’s VCV Rack 2.0.0 Day.

▰ Got a new CD player. (The 5-CD changer died after 30 years of service.) First thing I played was the Necks/Underworld team-up, one of my favorite CDs in recent years. What CD would you play first on a new player? (Possible answer: What’s a CD player?)

▰ If you’ve been online long enough (for context, this website turns 25 years old in a few days), then sometimes simply seeing a hi-def video on YouTube of someone walking around Seattle in the snow, the image’s four edges confined within the mundane page interface, can seem truly remarkable.

▰ Moved on to a better room than the one he was in now

▰ In the Lucier, the sound as a whole decayed with each generation of recording.

In the Reider, each recording is no less clear, in sonic terms, than its predecessor; only meaning decays.

▰ I am screaming in a franchise different from the one you are in now.

▰ My top 5 artists of the year were:

  1. Whales
  2. The wind
  3. Room tone
  4. Conference call reverb
  5. Public transportation (reunion tour)

The famed unintended Golden Gate Bridge noise definitely happened, but I can’t say it’s been as big a presence in my life as it has been in the news.

▰ Just left someone a voicemail. I think I need to take a brush-up course. Maybe there’s still a Cyber Monday sale for a video tutorial master class.

▰ The thing where you transfer a 60,000-word Scrivener document from a dying laptop to a brand new laptop with a different operating system and you can’t drag and drop so you open it from the menu and it works and you reflect on the dramatic power of dispensing with commas.

▰ Me: So many newsletters.

Also me: If DeLillo had one, I’d sign up in a second and pay for it.

And: I need to get my (unpaid) newsletter rolling again.

And then: Yeah, just imagine DeLillo sending sentences of dread to millions of readers.

And: Oh, the news has that covered.

▰ It’s a Porter Ricks afternoon.

When I typed that I had no idea that barely 15 minutes later someone would drive slowly down the block with a very very flat tire, which is essentially the full Sensurround experience when it comes to Porter Ricks.

Moved on from Biokinetics (1996) to Shadow Boat (2016), and now I recognize why I keep accidentally calling my Tensor guitar pedal Tresor.

▰ rooster + washing machine
river + printer
birds + car honks

This week in the Disquiet Junto, participants in the music community are combining field recordings from nature and civilization. Playlist in progress below. Join in at disquiet.com/0518.

▰ And on that note, have a good weekend. I’ve got 100 pages to go on the new Neal Stephenson novel, and then it’s either the new Fonda Lee or the final Expanse, plus one I’m reading about the history of risk (not Risk). And some personal writing. And guitar practice. And rest.

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Disquiet.com 25th Anniversary Countdown (4 of 13): Buddha Machine(s)

An archival ambient advent calendar from December 1st – 13th, 2021

It’s day 4 of my archival ambient advent calendar countdown to the 25th anniversary of Disquiet.com, which was founded December 13, 1996. As time passed during the quarter century of Disquiet.com’s existence, my focus didn’t necessarily shift so much as expand. In the process, the devices used to make sound became as much an interest of mine as is the music itself. At the Venn Diagram overlap are devices that make sound where there’s an internal coherence to them, where the sound object is as much object as sound, and a key example of that is the Buddha Machine.

Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian, who together comprise FM3, introduced the Buddha Machine in 2005. It borrowed its shape from cheap boxes that Virant, an American living in China, came upon a decade earlier in the gift shops of Buddhist temples. He and Jian made their own such box, but in the place of the original prayers were abstract ambient, textural, and rhythmic material intended to be played on loop. I’ve interviewed Virant twice, once when the Buddha Machines first came out, in 1995 “Buddha in the Machine,” and then three years later, when FM3 introduced a second generation: “Buddha Machine, Reloaded.” (And during pandemic lockdown, I also recorded a bunch of short videos, the Buddha Machine Variations, of Buddha Machines being used as musical instruments.)

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Headphone Yoga Transmitter

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

Stumbled upon an outdoor “immersive” yoga session at the beach, where I’d gone to check out the king tide (which is, indeed, quite high). Everyone wore “silent disco” headphones, and the instructor spoke into a headset. This contraption appears to be the transmitter (which at first I mistook for a fishing rod, many of which were planted in the sand closer to the water).

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Disquiet.com 25th Anniversary Countdown (3 of 13): Autechre 1997

An archival ambient advent calendar from December 1st – 13th, 2021

“Our live set’s become increasingly complex recently; we’ve been doing stuff that’s been vastly too much information for most people to deal with and I think it’s quite interesting watching how people behave in those situations, under those circumstances.”

—Autechre’s Sean Booth, 1997

It’s day 3 of my archival ambient advent calendar countdown to the 25th anniversary of Disquiet.com, which was founded December 13, 1996. This interview I did with half of Autechre in 1997 is probably the most-read thing on this website (er, blog).

And at a friend’s coaxing, here’s another highlight:

Me: I think that the mathematician Joseph Fourier is a godfather of electronic music.

Booth: Hmm. Yeah, of course. That’s fucking absolutely true; it’s fucking absolutely — especially in terms of digital technology. I’ve always thought of digital manipulation — because of the way that basically working in the digital domain you’re using things that are approximating things.

Read the full piece: “More Songs About Buildings.”

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Disquiet Junto Project 0518: Out and In (Co/Exist 3 of 3)

The Assignment: Combine sounds of nature and civilization.

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, December 6, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, December 2, 2021.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0518: Out and In (Co/Exist 3 of 3)
The Assignment: Combine sounds of nature and civilization.

This is the third and final stage of a three-part project sequence. You needn’t have participated in either of the two preceding stages to do this one. Thanks to Alan Bland and Mark Lentczner for having proposed the project.

There is one step for this project: Take the sounds of “nature” and “civilization” as recorded by other members of the Disquiet Junto and combine them into one single piece of music/sound.

You can locate the “nature” sounds in the playlist and discussion thread for the first project:

https://soundcloud.com/disquiet/sets/disquiet-junto-project-0516/
https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0516-outside-in-co-exist-1-of-3/

You can locate the “civilization” sounds in the playlist and discussion thread for the second project:

https://soundcloud.com/disquiet/sets/disquiet-junto-project-0517/
https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0517-inside-out-co-exist-2-of-3/

It is recommended that you use only one “nature” sound and one “civilization” sound, though the choice is certainly up to you.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0518” (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 “disquiet0518” (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:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0518-out-and-in-co-exist-3-of-3/

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.

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, December 6, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, December 2, 2021.

Length: The length of your finished track is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0518” 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 518th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Inside Out (Co/Exist 3 of 3) (The Assignment: Combine sounds of nature and civilization) — at: https://disquiet.com/0518/

This is the third and final stage of a three-part project sequence. You needn’t have participated in either of the two preceding stages to do this one. Thanks to Alan Bland and Mark Lentczner for having proposed the project.

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-0518-out-and-in-co-exist-3-of-3/

There’s also a Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to [email protected] for Slack inclusion.

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